What is the challenge?
Oil exploration and production in over 300 communities in Romania, in an age of more and more aware stakeholders, raised a series of challenges for the oil and gas industry – including the increasing need to protect their social license to operate, avoid local conflicts that could become threats to business, meet sustainability commitments and grow overall operational efficiency.
What solution was adopted?
astoneco management was commissioned in 2007 to help address the corporate culture towards social responsibility. The first step was assessing ‘hot spot’ communities (where stakeholder-based business risks to OMV Petrom were becoming higher). This was used to develop a CSR Strategy for the Exploration and Production arm of OMV Petrom, finding short, medium and long-term solutions based on the identification and analysis of local stakeholder problems. A multi-stakeholder community-based approach was identified as a central requirement for many communities. Pilot projects were initiated on the ground in two of the communities – Schela (SE Romania) and Suplacu de Barcau (NW Romania) – to test this stakeholder engagement & sustainability-based approach to local decision making. Generating open dialogue and partnerships, it enabled the sustainable development of both Company and communities.
- The implementation of the pilot projects on the ground (2007-2010) was facilitated by astoneco; as part of the process, an astoneco team spent time in the communities pro-actively listening to the people and the Company, identifying needs and opportunities and building local capacity for engagement. Once enough trust was built locally, community-based resource centres called CERC (CERC Suplacu and CERC Schela) were initiated as independent NGOs for sustainable decision-making. CERC organisations are directed by councils made of community members and representatives of the Company and local authorities, with the Company having the minority vote. Coordinators employed by CERC undertake day-to-day projects and programmes.
- Parallel to the implementation of the pilot projects on the ground, stakeholder engagement & corporate responsibility training and stakeholder issues awareness creation were undertaken in all of Petrom E&P Asset teams. This culminated in 2010 in the co-creation of an OMV Petrom E&P Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit with 220 local E&P managers, and, in 2011, in the co-creation of engagement plans for pilot projects for on-the-job training for stakeholder engagement in each asset.
Short- and medium-term business results included avoidance of local conflicts and social unrest, enhanced environmental management and community investments, transparent permitting processes for drilling, and resolution of grievances between the communities and the Company.
Current status of the project:
- The pilot projects are on-going and developing mutually beneficial activities. See https://www.facebook.com/cerc.schela?fref=ts for CERC Schela and https://www.facebook.com/pages/CERC-Suplacu-de-Barcau/1409781095928375 for CERC Suplacu de Barcau. Having proved successful, the decision-making model of CERC was spread to approximately eight Petrom communities in Romania to date. Their future success is largely dependent on the strength of the local partnerships they generate and the commitment of the industry to undertake their work with respect for sustainability.
- The E&P stakeholder engagement toolkit is being adapted company-wide for OMV Petrom and OMV.