Whilst it is widely acknowledged that oil and gas development projects can have impacts on the environment and communities, the significance of those impacts can be substantially reduced and positive benefits to the community enhanced, if appropriate actions are taken at the right time. Identifying and understanding these impacts is a fundamental role of ESIA, which is a requirement of international funding agencies and many local regulatory agencies.

Actions for both Operators and Consultants that become sustainability enhancing practices include:

  • Fully Understand the Limitations Imposed by Sensitivities in the Project Area at an Early Stage - by conducting a baseline prior to FEED;

  • Simple presentation of information - use of GIS as an interactive tool within the project decision process;

  • Key Project Staff Endorsement - during FEED phase work closely with the Engineers to define which mitigation measures are practical and feasible. A workshop to discuss this at the mitigation definition stage with the FEED Engineers is key;

  • Identify Initiatives - Through the entire process identify initiatives that could enhance environmental and social performance. During the baseline, identify key community's needs and potential synergies to achieve social benefits, economic feasibility, and the enhancement of company reputation;

  • Enforcement - Clear definition of responsibilities in the ESMP allows the operator to define at an early stage the requirements related to EPC activities, and include these as contractual obligations.

Implementing these key actions while developing the ESIA will enhance the integration of environmental, social, and economic aspects. A successful example in which CH2MHILL and a worldwide O&G leading company have followed the steps outlined above with outstanding results will be presented.

With a commitment to sustainable solutions from Operators and good guidance from advisers, an ESIA and associated action plan can be developed which materially enhances project sustainability.

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