The oil and gas industry is increasingly operating in more sensitive areas. Sensitivities include possible impacts on the natural environment, on biodiversity and on social systems. A license to operate is not only given by the responsible authorities within a particular country but also by influential stakeholders. These stakeholders can be identified as both those on whom a project can impact and those who can significantly impact the project. By taking a thoroughly open and transparent approach stakeholder relations can be built with a minimum of conflict and indeed with joint partnership.

The Camisea gas and condensate development in Peru's upper Amazon is one project that relies on its relations and credibility with many stakeholders for its success. Consultation was initiated over two years before the signing of a license agreement. This was steadily expanded during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process which precedes activities and into subsequent operations. Stakeholders include the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Region Inca (the area where in the project lies), the native communities and their representatives and numerous national and international non governmental organizations (NGOs).

After over one year of an appraisal drilling campaign there are signs of success with many of the involved groups. Words like "leadership", "model" and "breakthrough" have been used. However Shell Prospecting and Development Peru (SPDP) sees this as early days. The high sensitivity of the environment and many concerns by and for the local native communities means that consultation, discussion, agreements and promises must be turned into positive actions. Actions include meeting operational commitments for performance and delivering on the benefits promised. The Camisea approach is to enhance social capital - the ability of the local peoples to manage their own futures - under the umbrella of sustainable development.

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