Abstract.

This paper focuses on the human aspect of environmental assessment and protection. Social and economic needs in the usually backward and remote oil producing regions of developing countries are acute.

However, these regions normally do not participate in the formulation of oil exploration contracts.

These are framed considering macroeconomic variables such as national self-sufficiency and balance of payments. Oil companies therefore are placed in the center of these conflicting forces.

A remarkable feature of developing countries are interregional development disparities, generally described as center/periphery inequalities. The center, the metropolitan areas, is linked to international markets, absorbs and concentrates the most qualified human resources, the flow of information and business opportunities. The periphery, the physical and social scenario of oil operations, can generally be characterized as having low enducation and skill levels, a weak economic base, low productivity, weak government institutions and poor environmental management.

Of all challenges faced by an oil operator when arriving in an isolated oil province, the most difficult is the permanent pressure by the community to get the company involved in activities and take responsibilities that, strictly speaking, belong to the government. The options are plain: ignore the pressure, concentrate on the contractual obligation related with production and its efficiency parameters, or develop and carry out a framework of integration with the community.

The paper addresses these issues in the context of Occidental Petroleum's experience with the Cano Limón project in Colombia. The strategies and specific programs developed are presented, which include several major environmental initiatives.

1. INTRODUCTION

Social and economic needs in the usually backward and remote oil producing regions of developing countries are acute. However, these regions normally do not participate in the formulation of oil exploration contracts.

These are framed considering macroeconomic variables such as national self-suficiency and balance of payments. Oil companies therefore are placed in the center of these conflicting forces.

This paper focuses on the choices available to an oil company that has to meet efficiency and profitability standards while integrating with isolated and possibly hostile communities which have been excluded from the formulation of National Oil Policy.

Several examples of strategies are covered to illustrate specific responses to the various challenges created by the need to balance social integration and oil development. 2. THE OIL REGIONS-THE COLOMBIAN CASE (a) The center and the periphery One of the main structural proble

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.