Development of oil and gas projects is frequently affected by non-technical factors such as environmental issues and community opposition. To avoid unintended costs and project delays, these factors must be considered early in project development. This paper presents an approach for integrating environmental, social, economic and technical considerations in facility site selection and routing analyses. The approach is based on multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and can be applied on a geographic information system (GIS) platform. MCDA supports a collaborative decision-making process that accounts for stakeholder preferences and a broad range of risks and opportunities.

The approach relies on the project proponent and subject matter experts to identify decision objectives and criteria that reflect project risks and opportunities. The approach has been applied to compare alternatives as well as to perform geospatial suitability and linear routing analysis. Both spatial (e.g., locations of potential community and environmental receptors) and non-spatial (e.g., community acceptance and regulatory challenges) criteria are considered within the MCDA framework.

Two case studies are presented: marine terminal site selection and pipeline routing analysis. The process resulted in the identification of risks and opportunities that are most material to the decision, preferred site and pipeline route, as well as opportunities for improvement. The process can be applied to various types of development project, including water management and logistics planning.

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