In the process of exploring for and bringing new hydrocarbon resources to market, oil and natural gas companies frequently rely on social performance elements as a means to help secure social license to operate. Such elements—including social impact assessment and management, stakeholder engagement, community and ‘flagship’ social investments, et al—are used by operators as a means of establishing themselves as a preferred ‘good neighbor’. The non-technical risks associated with oil and natural gas projects suggest that responding to project timing challenges and down-turn budget reduction pressure is far from a simple calculation. In this paper, the authors consider recent projects and present lessons learned regarding the difficult choices facing project managers.

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