Through experience we have learned that working with communities where we operate helps us to share greater benefits from our projects. It also makes good business sense. By incorporating the views of our neighbours early into project planning, we can design and deliver projects more effectively and avoid delays. Early engagement with communities helps us to prevent disruptions to livelihoods and commerce, and to reduce impact on local wildlife and biodiversity.
As well as communities, we work with governments, environmental experts and non-governmental organisations to design and deliver better projects. Adjusting pipeline routes or the timing of seismic surveys to minimise disturbance to communities or wildlife are examples of how early engagement with our neighbours has improved our approach.
When we develop a new project, or an expansion to an existing facility, we follow a defined process that helps us to identify and address potential impacts on people and the environment. There are key decision points at which we determine whether to move forward, or not. At each of these points we assess the regulatory, environmental and social impacts, alongside commercial and technical considerations. The process includes conducting environment, social and health impact assessments to understand and manage risks and opportunities. As we make investment decisions, we also consider the potential cost of a project’s CO2 emissions.
We thoroughly consider and adopt the recommendations from these impact assessments throughout the lifetime of the project. We often make these assessments public.
In particularly complex projects or operations, we have social and environmental specialists who integrate these aspects into development plans and decisions. Following the successful use of this approach in North America, we are increasingly employing these specialists worldwide.