On our projects, we work closely with communities to understand their concerns and how to best address them. Community engagement also helps us identify where we can bring benefits to communities. This includes employment, contracting and training opportunities, and supporting social investment programmes.
Local communities and deep water
Oil and gas production in deep water can boost economic growth and benefit communities on shore, for example through jobs and contracting opportunities. But communities can often have concerns about the potential impact of operations on their way of life.
Local communities in the Philippines raised concerns over our deep-water operations close to the island of Palawan. Before we laid a pipeline to transport oil and natural gas from our Malampaya platform to an onshore plant, we held public meetings and provided information to the residents on nearby Mindoro. As a result, we rerouted the pipeline to conserve Mindoro’s biodiversity and ensured it avoided sacred ancestral burial waters.
We have also worked to tackle unemployment in the region, for example by running training programmes. “I learned how to cultivate and export sea cucumbers,” said farmer Esteridio Gonzaga.
Training we support has helped local people to find work on the Malampaya project. The Bridging Employment through Skills Training (BEST) programme has helped poor and unemployed young adults acquire the skills they need to gain employment in local industries. “Now I can pursue my dream to have a better life,” said graduate Bayani Bayta, who worked as a welder on the project.
While working on Malampaya, over time we learned what residents most wanted – to eliminate malaria from their villages. The Pilipinas Shell Foundation launched the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (Movement Against Malaria) social investment programme in 1999. Since the programme started, it has helped reduce malaria deaths in Palawan by nearly 94%, from around 99 a year to five in 2014.
The Rasa community lies on the coast of the Campos Basin in Rio De Janeiro State. It is home to many families who have lived there for over 100 years.
Members of the community wondered what the impact would be of oil and gas development in the Campos Basin, home to deep-water projects including Shell’s Parque das Conchas. We held community meetings to discuss and answer questions. This included helping local fishermen understand our safety measures, such as the seclusion zones around our platforms.
Unemployment is common among some indigenous people in the region. To help increase their chances of finding a job, we launched training courses chosen by them. These include English, computer skills, cookery and tourism, as well as others directly related to our industry such as mechanics. Around 600 people will benefit from this training. “This has helped strengthen communities,” said Marta da Costa C. de Andrade, a local teacher.
In the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, we are helping a new generation of entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable and sustainable businesses with a programme providing 80 hours of training. Topics include business strategy, sales and marketing, accounting, business ethics and social responsibility, and the oil and gas value chain. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to develop ideas supporting the local energy industry.
“I feel like I'm living what I always dreamed,” said Lucas Jonis, an oceanographer who started his own environmental and industrial surveying business using remotely operated aerial vehicles – often called “drones”.
High unemployment is a problem in Nigeria. The Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) Bonga deep-water project, 120 kilometres (75 miles) off the coast in the Gulf of Guinea, is helping. Moored in over a kilometre of water, a giant floating production, storage and offloading facility receives crude oil from production wells on the seabed.
The project helped create the first generation of Nigerian oil and gas engineers with deep-water experience. Around 90% of the field’s workforce is Nigerian. Bonga has stimulated the growth of support industries vital to offshore deep-water projects requiring goods and services such as boats, materials and ships like floating hotels.
As part of our community investment for the Gumusut-Kakap project, we run a university scholarship programme. This provides funding to high-achieving students and so far has benefited over 2,000 young Malaysians. “This is a dream come true,” said student Elyana Naumi Ambu. “I am now able to pursue a course in mineral source engineering at a local university.”
We also support a training programme, together with local authorities in Miri and Bintulu, to qualify much-needed welders for the oil and gas industry.
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We work closely with communities to understand their concerns and identify how to address them.
In the heartland of Brazil’s oil and gas industry, we are helping a new generation of entrepreneurs turn their ideas into businesses and their dreams into reality.