tackling our challenges togetherFostering stakeholder relationships of trust and mutual understanding about our operations helps Marathon Oil earn and keep our license to operate.
We build relationships with landowners, contractors, suppliers, community organizations, lawmakers, elected officials, regulators, industry peers, business partners and others. This stakeholder engagement is an essential part of risk management that strengthens our ability to manage community impacts, access new resources, operate efficiently and avoid project delays. Marathon Oil is committed to communicating appropriately with key internal and external stakeholders to address potential health, environmental, safety, security (HES&S) and social issues.
As the representatives of Marathon Oil in communities where we operate, our land professionals communicate about our plans, answer questions and resolve issues for landowners. Whether adding to our acreage in the New Mexico Permian Basin or discussing water issues with ranch owners in the South Texas Eagle Ford, our land professionals share a commitment to build trust with stakeholders like royalty owners. To be responsive to royalty owners, Marathon Oil has streamlined and automated processes and procedures to reduce the time it takes owners to update their accounts, get answers and take other common actions. We also changed our call center operations to more effectively handle an average of 1,000 calls each month, which has freed staff to assist royalty owners in resolving complex questions and needs. Automation and technologies have also increased data accuracy and reduced errors, further improving the user experience for our royalty owners.
Collaborating with Industry Partners
Marathon Oil assets collaborate with industry partners through membership in organizations like the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA), The Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable (STEER), North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC), API (American Petroleum Institute), Independent Petroleum Association of American (IPAA) and AXPC (American Exploration & Production Council). To ensure we have a voice in industry solutions, Marathon Oil employees take leadership roles in these organizations and participate in their awareness events.
We recognize that industry brings both economic benefits and challenges to communities where we operate. Industry engagements in our U.S. resource play assets in 2018 continued to focus on traffic and infrastructure issues that arose when drilling and production activity increased in 2017. Technology and operational efficiencies that minimize the drilling footprint mitigated some impacts. In addition, Marathon Oil and other operators are building pipelines to transport oil and produced water away from our properties, which reduces truck traffic and the associated driving safety risks, wear and tear on roads, and emissions.
Roadway safety is an issue that affects everyone in the communities where we have operations. In Oklahoma, Marathon Oil was a founding member of the Energize for Safety Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to making busy roadways less dangerous. In partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, the coalition established a safety corridor on Highway 33 between Watonga and Kingfisher in the STACK. The coalition provides driver safety training for high school students in high-traffic areas, including large events near Kingfisher where Marathon Oil employees volunteered, and community and stakeholder events. The coalition also created a website in partnership with the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board to communicate about traffic and safety. As part of the company’s commitment to traffic safety, employees participated on a panel at the Governor’s Energy Forum on Road Safety in Kingfisher in 2018 and served as an industry safety representative along with government agency officials. In 2019, we made a similar commitment in the Permian Basin by funding the Southeastern New Mexico Roadway Safety Integrated Project that promotes and encourages roadway education, enforcement and infrastructure to keep people and communities safe.
Constructive engagements with local and state elected officials can help Marathon Oil be a more effective operator and community partner. Our asset teams meet with county commissioners and other local officials to update them on our plans, resolve issues and understand community concerns. In February 2019, we hosted a tour of a Marathon Oil rig and production site in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma. Our employees served as technical experts for the secretary, deputy secretary and a staff member of the Oklahoma Energy and Environment department; a staffer from the Oklahoma governor’s office; industry representatives; and 12 state lawmakers. The tour introduced the newly elected legislators to oil and gas operations, and provided Marathon Oil the opportunity to enhance relationships with state officials.
In our Bakken asset, key stakeholders include North Dakota legislators and regulators, and leaders of the Three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Our relationship with the tribes started in 2008, when Marathon Oil became the first company to drill on the reservation that’s home to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation. We respect the native lands and culture of indigenous peoples, and honor tribal traditions and beliefs. Marathon Oil engages the MHA tribes on infrastructure and economic development, employment opportunities, operational impacts, permitting, land access, regulations and other issues. We comply with tribal regulations such as those set by the Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO), which aims to strengthen business opportunities for companies owned 100% by a member of the tribes. In 2018, Bakken employees attended tribal business meetings and supported the MHA Nation Boys & Girls Club after-school and summer programming. We also sponsored the MHA Energy Expo, where the tribes honored Marathon Oil with their Best in Communications award.
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