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Attwater, Hugh 2001 , M.Sc., Imperial College, London.
    © Hugh Attwater, 2001. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.

Executive Summary

This study analyses BP’s system for engaging with stakeholders of the Tangguh LNG gas field development in West Papua, Indonesia. Through this analysis, a number challenges that the company faces when implementing its global policies, “What We Stand For” –and specifically its “commitment to relationships” – are examined. Tangguh provides an ideal case study for these purposes. The social, political and environmental conditions surrounding the development are typical of developing countries, yet at the same time they provide a unique set of circumstances in which BP has chosen to operate. Tangguh is also in a very early stage of development, allowing BP the opportunity to apply its global policies in an optimal way from the outset.

To carry out the analysis, it was first necessary to define a set of stakeholders on which to focus. International, national and regional NGOs, as well as the directly affected local communities, were chosen on the basis that it is the support of these elements of civil society which will be most instrumental in providing BP with a ‘social license to operate’. Apart from the local communities, to which access was not possible due to travel restrictions, interviews were held with these groups to ascertain their views and concerns pertaining to the engagement process itself and the issues surrounding the LNG plant development. In addition, relevant members of BP’s staff were interviewed. The information obtained was collated before being assimilated to an analytical framework. This framework is designed to highlight areas in which BP’s current system could be improved, by drawing on a number of stakeholder engagement guidelines to develop indicators that can be applied to BP’s approach.

From the analysis, it is shown how certain areas of BP’s current system for stakeholder engagement should be enhanced for the benefit of the company and stakeholders alike. Bearing in mind that the engagement process is still in its infancy, more attention is required to stakeholder identification and mapping, defining the terms of engagement, building and maintaining trust, developing feedback mechanisms, enhancing access to information and participation in the environmental impact assessment process. The research also provides insight into to why these areas exist. Interviews with BP staff members highlighted procedural weaknesses stemming from the lack of a clearly defined engagement system, while interviews with NGOs revealed inexperience of engaging with companies, resource constraints and limited levels of co-ordination and trust between groups.

As an example of one aspect of BP’s global policies, the analysis was then used to examine some of the challenges the company faces in implementing these policies. However, because BP’s “commitment to relationships” focuses on the aims of the company rather than the process by which those aims are to be met, challenges can only be identified based on the assumption that the shortcomings highlighted through the analysis must be addressed if BP is to meet the its self-imposed aims.

Most of the challenges are based around the need to understand the capabilities, intentions and informational requirements of Tangguh’s stakeholders. The extent to which local communities can engage is limited by their low capacity and a lack of representation from other groups. Regional and national NGOs are extremely wary of the intentions of any corporation from past experience, they have limited experience of engagement and they do not command adequate resources. The international NGO community, meanwhile, also lacks sufficient resources to fully participate in developments such as Tangguh from the outset, and their interest can be expected to grow only as things progress. The overall challenge, therefore, is to design and implement engagement techniques that take these factors into account while ensuring that these groups are participating to the fullest and fairest extent possible.

It is suggested here that if these challenges are met, by taking into account the shortcomings identified in the analysis of BP’s stakeholder engagement system, the aims set out in “What We Stand For” will be all the more realisable. However, it is not possible to conclude from an analysis of process that the global policies, based as they are on ‘outcome’, have a great influence on ensuring that the correct process is employed. More research is needed as the outcomes of Tangguh emerge if a causal link between such policies and best practice is to be established. Dependent on these outcomes, Tangguh could become a model development for BP, its peers and other stakeholders.


Ringkasan

* Terjemahan dalam Bahasa Indonesia belum tersedia.


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