Industrial benefits planning (IBP) can greatly assist oil companies inseeking to access or operate in frontier regions, including the Arctic. Anumber of ‘good practice’ approaches in the design and implementation ofsuccessful benefits plans have emerged. There is a general need for initiativesin such areas as supplier development, procurement/contracting, education, training and hiring. However, these initiatives, and an IBP program as a whole, will be most effective if the following approaches are adopted: cooperation, collaboration and education; building on existing strengths and capabilities;and seeking a diversified and more sustainable economy.
The Hebron Benefits Plan provides a recent and often innovative example ofpetroleum industry benefits planning. Of particular interest is the emphasis itplaces on: the role of contractors and suppliers, leaving a lasting legacy, andcooperation and collaboration with other stakeholders. In a further benefitsplanning innovation, ExxonMobil Canada Properties states that it will establishand maintain a ‘benefits culture,’ based on the well-established model ofsafety culture, within its organization and all Hebron contracting companies. The Plan presents policies, guidelines and procedures with respect to supplierdevelopment, contracting and procurement, employment and training, research anddevelopment (R&D), diversity, and monitoring and reporting.
Recent initiatives in Greenland illustrate the challenges faced inimplementing more limited benefits initiatives in an Arctic and near-Arcticenvironment. Cairn exploration programs have had Government of Greenlandmandated benefits plans and agreements that have delivered both employment andbusiness to Greenland residents and companies. They have also put in place newinfrastructure, for example related to weather forecasting and oil spillcontingency equipment. However, not all of the employment, business andinfrastructure initiatives have delivered the desired effects.
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, is an example of a jurisdiction where, facilitated by well-established IBP processes, the offshore petroleum industryhas delivered substantial and sustainable economic development. This is partlya result of the creation of a new offshore petroleum sector of the economy thatprovides employment and business and makes a major contribution to theProvince's GDP and tax base. Newfoundland and Labrador also now has anexpanding university sector, large numbers of university graduates, a small butthriving R&D community, an increasingly diverse and cosmopolitan urbanculture, and improved external transportation links, all of which can be atleast partly attributed to the oil industry.