Stakeholder engagement

Strong relationships and understanding between Tullow and the governments and communities of our host countries, as well as industry partners and opinion formers is essential to building a sustainable external operating environment.

“WE strive to continuously improve & maintain proactive, positive engagement with our stakeholders.”

Paul McDade, Chief Operating Officer

Our approach to stakeholder engagement

Tullow can only succeed by building respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships with our stakeholders. This involves understanding, and being responsive to, the interests and concerns of governments, investors, communities, the business community, employees, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and the media.

Mismanagement of relationships or mis-communication about our activities can lead to a loss of trust with stakeholders and ultimately compromise our ability to run our operations effectively. This can have significant consequences for the business, including project delays and unforeseen costs.

Stakeholder engagement is daily business practice at every level of the organisation. The Executive, through to our field engagement teams, regularly communicate with a wide range of stakeholder groups through formal meetings, open forums and on-the-ground engagement.

Throughout 2013, we have continued to engage with a full range of external stakeholders, not only to inform them about our operations, but to gain vital input on the way we run our business.

Engagement with government

The governments of our host countries grant us licences to explore, develop and produce oil. They also oversee each stage of our operations, ensuring we meet the licence commitments we have made, from the number of wells drilled to our environmental management and local job creation.

Strong relationships between Tullow, the government and our industry partners are essential to achieving the timely execution of our exploration campaigns and development plans. We work to achieve effective, constructive and open engagement with governments, to unlock the value of our licences and production sharing agreements.

We believe we have a responsibility to understand the expectations of governments and to be clear about what we as a company need to do to be successful. In turn, we believe governments have a responsibility to listen, engage and create an environment in which our industry can make a positive long-term difference.

Tullow does not support any political party and does not make any political donations, either through direct funding or assistance in kind.

Delegates at the Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative event

Throughout 2013 we continued to engage on transparency of payments. This included providing input to the UK Government’s G8 agenda on Transparency, Tax and Trade. We also participated in industry consultation on the introduction of the EU Directive, requiring extractive companies to report their payments to governments. Our Chairman, Simon Thompson, and Vice President, Safety, Sustainability & External Affairs, Sandy Stash, took part in panel discussions on Oil & Gas development in East Africa, as part of the Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative, an event co-hosted by Brookings and Oxfam America. This event brought together African scholars to provide policy makers with high quality research and expertise in five critical areas for promoting and sustaining growth in Africa, including managing natural resource exploitation. The initiative also collaborates with research partners in Africa – such as Uganda’s Economic Policy Research Centre, the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, and the University of Ghana.

Local Government official shaking hands in Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana

As part of our Environment and Social Impact Assessment for the TEN Development, following the approval of the Plan of Development, we consulted the community in Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana. Over 100 representatives from local government, fishing communities, traditional and community leaders, NGOs, the media and local suppliers, attended the forum. Key issues raised during the session were Tullow’s procedures to respond to emergency situations, such as oil spills; our social investment programme; the impact of our operation on traditional livelihoods; and employment and business opportunities.

Number of representatives who were consulted on the issues relating to the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Engineers attending the Introduction to Oil & Gas course

To build awareness and understanding of the different stages involved in the oil life cycle, we continue to run ‘Introduction to Oil & Gas’ courses for a range of external audiences, taught by Robert Gordon University (RGU). In early 2014, we provided this training to employees, political leaders and key representatives from the media in Kenya and Uganda. The course covers the basics of Oil & Gas exploration and production, some of the key decisions and risks taken by oil companies, and challenges faced by national governments in developing a sustainable oil industry.

Community Liaison Officer talking to tribesman

Following the suspension of our operations in Turkana in late 2013, we increased our engagement with our host communities. In early 2014, we recruited more Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) from the local area, bringing the total headcount of the Social Performance field stakeholder engagement team to 36. The main issues the communities raised were land access, security, the health of their communities and their livestock, access to water, job opportunities and education. Since early 2014, Tullow has begun to hold quarterly meetings with the Turkana Leadership Forum to ensure they get regular updates on our operational activities, Local Content initiatives and social investment programmes.

Field engagement personnel

Engineers drilling

We collaborate with Kenya’s National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to ensure they are kept abreast of our activities and sanction any changes to our programme that have potential environmental impacts. In 2013 we worked with them to identify the best drilling muds to use. To date we have been using water-based muds (WBMs), but instead we wanted to propose a switch to synthetic-based muds (SBM), which have several environmental and operational advantages over WBMs. SBMs have been proven to reduce cuttings volumes, waste, emissions, water and energy usage. Operational advantages include increased wellbore stability, better lubricity, high temperature stability and improved rate of drilling penetration. Following our best practical environmental option (BPEO) study for the disposal of SBM drill cuttings, our proposal to change drilling muds was approved by NEMA, and Tullow started implementing this approach in early 2014.

People cleaning a beach

Our $1.5 million investment in a marine environmental study in Gabon in partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) aims to deliver biodiversity data that will help quantify and qualify the vast offshore habitat.

In 2013, as part of the WCS programme, we worked with Manga, a local environmental organisation that works with local communities to raise awareness about environmental issues in the Cap region north of Libreville. Together with Manga, we established a beach cleaning programme, to address the coastal flotsam pollution which impacts nesting turtles.

Tullow supplied Manga with cleaning materials and support to encourage local communities to clean the beaches and the residential areas on a fortnightly basis. This programme has helped identify the main types of pollution for Gabon’s environmental agencies and the Libreville authorities. It has also mobilised local communities, who could be hired by Tullow in the event of an oil spill.

$1.5 million
invested in a marine environmental research programme

A school of whales

As the Operator of Block 47 offshore Suriname, we conducted an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) ahead of plans to drill an exploration well in 2015. Although the decision to drill the well has not yet been taken, Tullow initiated the impact assessment process in January 2013. In July 2013, we held a stakeholder consultation meeting where the proposed drilling project was presented, environmental and social sensitivities discussed and the work around oil spill modelling was highlighted. Tullow’s framework and guiding principles for managing the marine environment were explained to the audience, which was largely made up of environmental groups.

The meeting provided invaluable feedback, as we were able to hear from environmentalists about their areas of interest. The information gathered was included in the next phase of the ESIA study.

The ESIA continues to progress and Tullow expects to have another public consultation meeting later in 2014.