Does an oil and gas company care about communities?

Our company views sustainable development success as conducting business in a way that promotes economic growth, a healthy environment and vibrant communities, now and into the future. The first two goals, economic growth and a healthy environment, get widely discussed and seem fairly well understood. But what does it mean to promote vibrant communities? Does the company care about communities?

Yes, ConocoPhillips does care. We run our business under a set of guiding principles that we call our SPIRIT Values of Safety, People, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation and Teamwork. They are shared by everyone in our company. And they drive the way we care about the communities where we live and work.

We care deeply about developing relationships with people and communities where we operate. We think about communities during our daily work and decision-making, and view these relationships as an important part of our social license to operate.

We think about creating jobs, supporting community investments and, most importantly, understanding how a community feels about our activities near where they live. It's important for us to have a strong community connection, and to hear about local community issues and concerns. Communities contribute diverse ideas and valuable perspectives. Listening and understanding these views helps us be better at what we do.

To get a sense of how the company works to build strong community connections, let's take the example of what we're doing in Australia.

Community Engagement in Australia

In Eastern Australia, ConocoPhillips is Foundation Shareholder (37.5%) and Downstream Operator of the Australia Pacific Liquid Natural Gas (APLNG) project, along with co-venturers Origin Energy and Sinopec. The project is currently under construction, with operations scheduled to start in mid-2015. As the project's downstream operator, ConocoPhillips will operate the LNG facility on Curtis Island.

Our company's community engagement approach for the APLNG project involves an extensive set of plans to ensure that local communities, including aboriginal communities, are engaged and consulted, benefit from the project, and play an active role in ensuring impacts are addressed.

The project includes a Social Impact Management Plan containing several action plans. These action plans address the project's most significant impacts and benefits identified by a social impact assessment. The plans apply distinct strategies centered on the following six key themes:

  • Housing and Accommodation
  • Community Investment
  • Indigenous Engagement
  • Workforce and Training
  • Local Content
  • Community Health and Safety

Additionally, the project features a Cultural Heritage Management Plan with local Aboriginal people, a Community and Stakeholder Engagement Plan, and a Grievance and Dispute Resolution Policy. Regional community consultative committees, comprised of a cross section of stakeholders, promote dialogue, engage communities in delivering action plans and ensure stakeholders participate in social impact monitoring.

Both the Social Impact Management Plan and Cultural Heritage Management Plan are carried out during project construction, with some aspects continuing into the operations period. Consistent with key themes identified in the project impact assessment, the ConocoPhillips Australia East Business Unit has also developed an Indigenous Content and Engagement Strategy to promote project employment, training and business development for indigenous stakeholders in the area. The goal is to develop and maximize employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal people in the Gladstone region, and to enhance indigenous participation in the APLNG supply chain. While some elements have already begun, most of the Indigenous Content and Engagement Strategy will be conducted during the operations phase.

We intend to share our progress on these strategies and plans as the APLNG project advances.

This is an example of how ConocoPhillips approaches our community responsibilities in the areas where we live and work. We make an effort to investigate and understand the relevant issues, develop strategies and plans for the long-term management of these issues and engage with stakeholders throughout the life cycle of a project. We would be happy to share other examples, as needed.