Environmental and Social Baseline Survey and Impact Assessment

Our Experience includes:

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Stakeholder Engagement for Three Separate Offshore Exploration Drilling Programs, Liberia
Acorn International and its in-country partner in Liberia performed Environmental and Social Impact Assessments for exploration drilling offshore Liberia for three separate companies / drilling programs. The projects were the first offshore drilling programs to obtain environmental approval in the country. Our work included a series of meetings with officials and NGOs to present the proposed activities and expected impacts and to obtain information on their concerns to be addressed in the ESIA.

During the course of the projects, Acorn International conducted a training workshop for the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia on environmental and social aspects of oil and gas exploration. Acorn International remains committed to building the capacity of EPAL and is working to secure financing for additional projects.

Environmental Feasibility Study for Offshore Exploration and Production, The Bahamas
The Environmental Feasibility Study (EFS) covers the life cycle of E&P activities being considered, from seismic survey and exploration drilling, through field development and production, to decommissioning and abandonment. Acorn International examined and outlined the potential interactions between these activities and any affected environmental and social receptors.

The project setting presents a unique set of challenges for planning and implementing an offshore development program. The remote location and shallow water depths, among other factors, will drive the choices for technology. A successful well program will prompt the construction of new infrastructure, and be the first project of its kind offshore The Bahamas.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Stakeholder Engagement Program for Offshore Exploration Drilling, The Bahamas
Acorn International and its in-country partner in The Bahamas performed an Environmental Impact Assessment for exploration drilling offshore The Bahamas. The high profile Project was the first offshore drilling project requiring an EIA in the country and underwent external third party review. Critical issues faced were the evaluation of impacts and development of mitigation measures related to fishing, shipping, tourism, national marine protected areas and transboundary impacts to pristine areas.

ESIA, Stakeholder Engagement, and Environmental and Social Baseline for Shorebase Development, Liberia
Acorn International and its in-country partner in Liberia were contracted to perform Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for development of a shorebase for oil and gas exploration activities in Liberia. The facilities had the potential to include a laydown yard, incinerator, office facilities, mud plant and other equipment and materials storage. Conduct of the ESIA included a series of meetings with officials and NGOs to present the proposed activities and expected impacts and to obtain information on their concerns to be addressed in the ESIA.

As part of the ESIA, the team conducted baseline environmental sampling of the project site and exported the samples – using international standards – to a lab in the U.S. (no certified labs available in-country). The team also conducted a full social baseline survey of the region, including GIS mapping of sensitive receptors and community locations. A series of town meetings was also held with nearby communities.

Environmental and Social Analysis for Resort Development, Barbados
To satisfy the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)'s project financing requirements, Acorn International updated and further developed an Environmental and Social Analysis for the Four Seasons Resort development in Barbados. Our team updated the report’s existing structure and content, analyzed the impacts, and proposed mitigation measures. To facilitate our work, we used the IADB's “Guideline for Environmental and Social Analysis for Small Hotels and Resorts (Category B).”

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Stakeholder Engagement / Permitting Facilitation for an Onshore Oil and Gas Exploration Project in a Remote Tropical Forest/Savannah Region of Eastern Colombia
Acorn International completed a comprehensive ESIA for the above-referenced exploration program. The ESIA included defining guidelines and specifications for environmental and social management measures to be included in bidding documents and contracts with the selected seismic contractor and other exploration program contractors. The project area has multiple sensitivities, both environmental and social, namely: the Llanos Plain habitats, tropical rainforests, endemic species, UNESCO World Heritage Site and the numerous indigenous communities. Leveraging the local expertise of our in-country partner, we also facilitated the permitting process with the local government authorities and completed a regulatory review for our client.

ESIA and Stakeholder Engagement Program for Offshore Exploration Program, Kenya
Acorn International and its in-country partner in Kenya performed an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for an offshore seismic survey covering the entire length of the coast of Kenya. Critical issues faced were evaluating impacts and developing mitigation measures related to fishing, marine mammals, and national marine protected areas. Our work included a series of meetings with dozens of officials from districts along the entire coast as well as with national government officials, NGOs, and fishermen groups to present the proposed activities and expected impacts, obtain information on their concerns to be addressed in the ESIA and establish a relationship of trust with these stakeholders. As part of our work on this project, we shared and reviewed World Bank / International Finance Corporation (IFC) and related guidelines on stakeholder engagement with our in-country partner to ensure the critical contact with local officials and other interested parties took advantage of our approach of integrating local know-how and international best practices.

Five ESIAs for Offshore Seismic and Drilling Programs, Côte d’Ivoire
Acorn International has performed five well-developed ESIAs to help US-based and UK-based oil companies plan and obtain country approvals for offshore exploration activities (including two seismic programs and three drilling programs). Our local partner met with and obtained Terms of References from the environmental ministry, and together we coordinated investigations, program details and impact analysis, produced high-quality EIAs in French and English, and submitted the ESIAs for public review and approval. Our work has been performed both prior to and following the 2011 conflict and under different governments.

Facilitation of Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessments, Onshore and Offshore Louisiana
Acorn International is facilitating Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) activities for onshore and offshore exploration and production activities in Louisiana for a major international oil company. Our work has included facilitation of screening and scoping workshops, development of associated reports and oversight of ESHIA impact assessment activities. We developed ESHIA Management Plans for an onshore well and for the overall program, and coordinated the development of stakeholder engagement plans. We collaborated closely with subject matter experts and other contractors to complete this work.

Facilitation of Programmatic Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessments, Offshore Gulf of Mexico
Acorn International is facilitating Programmatic Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessments (ESHIAs) for drilling and major capital projects offshore the Gulf of Mexico for a major international oil company. The Programmatic ESHIA approach evaluates potential impacts at a high level across a broad zone of influence early in project development to help inform site selection and project decision making. Site-specific ESHIA activities will be performed as sites are selected for wells and projects. The work will include development of Screening and Scoping reports and Terms of Reference for Impact Assessments and coordination of the development of stakeholder engagement plans.

ESHIA and World Bank/Equator Bank Financing Process Guidance for a Large Oil and Gas Development Program on the Shore of the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan
Acorn International evaluated the environmental and social management requirements of project finance lenders (multilateral financial institutions, commercial banks, export credit agencies / trade development agencies and alternative financing vehicles) in comparison to a major oil company's internal procedures and standards. The products developed by Acorn International were used by upper management in determining the optimal project financing options for a large oil and gas development project and how the differences between their internal procedures vs. bank requirements might impact project planning.

ESHIA Gap Assessment and Environmental Management Plan for a Major Natural Gas Facility, Nigeria
Acorn International completed an ESHIA Gap Assessment to determine the extent to which the regulatory-driven EIA met the client’s internal ESHIA requirements. With the recommendations from the Gap Assessment, Acorn International then completed an ESHIA Environmental Management Plan that included actions required to fill the gaps.

Two Separate EIAs for an Offshore Oil Exploration Program Adjacent to a National Marine Protected Area, Colombia
Acorn International and its in-country partner performed two separate EIAs for an international oil and gas company in advance of a 3-D seismic survey and geotechnical investigations offshore the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. A user-friendly Environmental Management Plan and Regulatory Register were also developed to help the client and its contractors easily and consistently apply the findings and recommendations of the EIA.

Impact significance and rating criteria from the EIA Assurance module of EHSS AssuranceTM were used to ensure a world-class quality and defensible basis for characterization of impacts and recommendation of appropriate mitigation practices. This was especially important due to the presence of a marine protection zone, including islands, corals, and sea turtle nesting/feeding habitat, near the exploration area.

EIA, Baseline Assessment, Risk Assessment and Permitting for the Proposed La Brea LNG Plant, Trinidad and Tobago
Acorn International’s president led an international team in performing the environmental, social and risk assessment studies, as well as permitting support, for the LNG Export Facility initially proposed at La Brea on the island of Trinidad (ultimately constructed at another location on the island). The team performed extensive terrestrial and marine field surveys to establish environmental baseline conditions, conducted a stakeholder engagement program and socioeconomic needs survey, evaluated impacts of the proposed LNG facility construction and operation, integrated a quantitative risk assessment into the studies, proposed alternatives and mitigation measures to manage the likely impacts, and supported the client in obtaining approvals from local agencies. All work was carried out in cooperation with the World Bank/IFC to allow financing to the national oil company to participate in the project development. When completed, the national agencies reviewing the EIA stated that it was a model for quality and successful teamwork.

ESHIA Facilitation for an Offshore Development Program, Angola
Acorn International facilitated the ESHIA process for the development of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility offshore Angola for a major oil company. Our work included coordinating with the project team to screen potential ESH impacts, determining what additional studies may be needed, identifying ESH data gaps to be filled, defining the scope of further studies, and overseeing in-country contractors in performing these additional studies to meet corporate requirements as well as those of Angolan regulators.

ESHIA Facilitation for an Offshore Production Program, Angola and Republic of Congo
Acorn International facilitated the ESHIA process for the installation of subsea production facilities and pipelines in an area overlapping the disputed boundary waters of both Angola and the Republic of Congo. Our responsibility included working with the project team to screen potential impacts, recommending and scoping additional studies, and overseeing in-country contractors in performing these additional studies. Because the work was subject to regulatory requirements of both countries, a particular challenge of our work was to define and manage the differences in EIA requirements from Angola, Republic of Congo, and corporate policy.

ESHIA Screening and Scoping for a Major Coastal Oil and Gas Facility, Nigeria
Acorn International helped a major international oil and gas company to prepare a rapid screening-level ESHIA review for a proposed development on a coastal site in Nigeria. Our president worked side-by-side with the company’s ESHIA coordinator and consulted with the project team and other company experts to perform a screening-level assessment and report. The work resulted in a series of recommendations for the project to avoid or minimize possible environmental, social and health impacts and identified additional studies required to perform a complete ESHIA.

Working together with the ESHIA Coordinator and company representatives, we completed a draft report within one week of start-up. We then integrated comments from the team and Company experts into a final report. The report was used by the project team to ensure that business decisions about initial project planning and design took into consideration potentially significant ESH impacts.

Independent Review, Panama Canal Expansion Program, Panama
Acorn International worked with its U.S. partner, ENTRIX, to perform an independent review of socio-cultural impact considerations for the EIA being performed for the Panama Canal Expansion Project. The Panama Canal Authority required an independent expert review for the US $5 billion project, and the Authority and its ESIA contractor, URS, selected Acorn International’s president and a senior technical director from ENTRIX to carry out the review. Acorn International’s work included visiting the proposed work areas and surrounding areas, working closely with the EIA team to provide input and suggestions, and delivering comments/revisions to draft sections of the ESIA. The work focused specifically on ensuring the Assessment satisfies specific interests of the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Environmental and Social Performance Standards and the Equator Principals, as well as international best practices for ESIA.