Acorn Ideas

Issue No. 1, November 2005

This issue presents the top ten "unspoken" criteria for determining the success of EIAs performed for international oil & gas development programs. Here is the basis for the list:

  1. While waiting for delayed flights over the last month, I compiled a list of all the criteria that in my experience have determined the success or failure of EIAs.
  2. From that long list, I selected those that we typically would not see in published EIA guidelines - that is, what we learn from experience actually goes right or wrong vs. what we may see in sanitized guidelines.
  3. From that list, I selected what I consider to be ten of the most important criteria.

Enjoy. I’d value any feedback you would care to share regarding your thoughts/experience on the list.

Criteria Keys to Success/Applications Where Noted (example)
Project manager commitment to EIA process The proponent’s development team PM is actively engaged in the EIA process, vs simply pushing the EIA to be completed as fast as possible. Brazil offshore seismic survey
Adequate project Information up front The proponent’s engineers provide sufficient details re: the project & potential impact sources at the outset, vs. after impact analysis & EIA preparation have begun. Nigeria gas plant development
Specific execution plans Consulting teams commit to required tasks & deliverables in MS Project/similar format (linked with project team schedule AND regulatory review requirements.) Venezuela gas field AOR & pipeline development
Defining “who’s the man" in stakeholder engagement Those stakeholders who ultimately have the most influence on the project are identified & addressed as priorities up front. Libya seismic survey and development programs
Ensuring team members are team players The consulting team ensures that contracted local experts raise any concerns to the team first, not to regulators or the press. Kazakhstan gas field & pipeline development
Balancing capacity building & project plan requirements The proponent invests in opportunities for building local capacity when possible given project budget & schedule, to facilitate future projects. Angola seismic surveys & refinery development
Valuing local know how and relations… The team attracts & listens to guidance from local experts who know the nuances of both the physical & regulatory environment. Trinidad LNG & port development
…but not at the expense of meeting international standards The project manager knows when to insist that, despite other standards that may be acceptable, standards that will withstand international scrutiny must be applied. West Africa trans-border pipeline project
Consultant overload Consulting teams admit when they are overloaded, and proponents consider work loads over market position and price when selecting consulting teams. Consulting teams admit when they are overloaded, and proponents consider work loads over market position and price when selecting consulting teams.
Implementable & realistic mitigation plans Teams ensure that mitigation and monitoring plans don’t over-commit proponent in efforts to simplify/expedite regulatory approvals. Colombia gas field & processing facility operations

Acorn International Ideas

Acorn Ideas is a series of periodic papers to share ideas regarding EHSS and sustainability management for international industry.

Issue 21 - March 2014: Above-ground Facilities and Stakeholder Engagement: Deploying the 'CAC'
Issue 20 - March 2014: A Starting Point for Shared Equity
Issue 19 - March 2014: What It Takes to Run a Great Consulting Firm
Issue 18 - February 2014: Considering Human Rights - Trends and Lessons in Oil and Gas Impact Assessments
Issue 17 - June 2013: Managing Environmental Health in International Development Projects
Issue 16 - January 2013: Integrating Environmental and Social Performance throughout the Project Lifecycle
Issue 15 - January 2013: The State of Shale Play in 2013
Issue 14 - August 2012: Building Environmental and Social Governance in Host Countries
Issue 13 - May 2012: Human Rights and Business: A New Era
Issue 12 - February 2012: Extractive Industries Confront Pressure for Greater Transparency
Issue 11 - January 2012: Key Updates to the IFC Sustainability Policy and Performance Standards
Issue 10 - June 2011: Oil & Gas and NGOs: New Rules of Engagement?
Issue 9 - February 2010: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 8 - January 2009: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 7 - May 2008: Top Ten Lessons Learned About Health Impact Assessment
Issue 6 - January 2008: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 5 - September 2007: Results of web forum with our International Partners
Issue 4 - January 2007: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 3 - May 2006: Suggestions and tips for safe international travel
Issue 2 - January 2006: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 1 - November 2005: The Top 10 "unspoken" criteria for determining the success of EIAs

About Us

Contact us

Phone: 832-900-3997
Email: info@acornintl.net