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 Corporate citizenship and engaging the community is a critical aspect of operating in Africa. Public consultation on ExxonMobil’s Chad-Cameroon Project involved more than 21,000 meetings with more than 300,000 people.

The Tiara Park Atlantic Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal, was the site of the first IADC Drilling Africa Conference and Exhibition, which took place on 8-9 October. About 160 industry professionals attended the event.

Christian Girard, regional vice president for Europe and Africa for Pride International, provided formal opening remarks, which noted that community development is the key to any project in Africa. He also introduced the event’s keynote speaker, André Madec, public affairs manager of ExxonMobil France, who discussed the topic of corporate citizenship.

“When we talk about corporate citizenship, the first thing we need to do is to engage in the interests of communities and NGOs, governments, employees, shareholders, customers and suppliers,” Mr Madec said.

IADC holds first conference focused on Africa

In ExxonMobil’s Chad-Cameroon Project, public consultation was initiated seven years before project approval, involving more than 21,000 meetings with more than 300,000 people. This process was necessary for pipeline route selection, compensation process, job and business opportunities, and oil spill response.

Areas of focus are environmental performance, workplace issues, corporate governance, transparency and human rights, and community development.  
ExxonMobil has been actively involved in forging transparency agreements in Chad, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and elsewhere.

The Drilling Africa Conference & Exhibition also featured technical presentations detailing key projects in Africa. These included case studies of the Shell Bobo-2X ultra-deepwater well offshore Nigeria, Pioneer Natural Resource’s ambitious program onshore in southern Tunisia, Chevron’s well intersection crossing of the Congo River Subsea Canyon, and Tullow Oil’s fast-track development of the deepwater Jubilee Field in Ghana.

One of the most attention-grabbing sessions of the conference was a panel discussion dealing with business practices.  Matthew Herrington and Tom Sprange of the lawfirm of Steptoe and Johnson discussed compliance with US and European anti-corruption legislation. This was supplemented by a presentation on complying with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by Mary Shaddock Jones of Global Industries Offshore. Brian T Petty, IADC senior vice president – government affairs, moderated this panel discussion.

Other sessions focused on education and training of the national work force, deepwater technology and equipment and new technology applications such as RFID tagging of riser strings.

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