Stakeholder engagement is an essential risk management process 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, and foster relationships of trust and mutual understanding about our operations.
Stakeholder Engagement Supports Growth in Resource Basins
While oil and gas activity can bring employment opportunities and other economic benefits to communities, industry activities can also challenge local resources and infrastructure. Connecting with community stakeholders was critical in 2017 as we increased drilling and production activity in our U.S. unconventional resource plays. To address community concerns around traffic and infrastructure stress, we worked with industry groups such as the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA), Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association (OKOGA), New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable (STEER) and the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC). The industry has been able to alleviate some impacts through technology, such as minimizing our footprint by drilling more wells with far fewer rigs than in the past and using multiwell pads.
Marathon Oil land professionals kept in close touch with surface landowners to inform them of our plans and respond timely to their concerns. They also coordinated with our field workforce, contractors and Marathon Oil internal departments to anticipate and mitigate issues related to landowners’ properties.
Our South Texas Eagle Ford asset established a CAP (Citizen Advisory Panel) that met quarterly in 2017 to maintain open communications with community leaders. Marathon Oil shared our plans and answered questions from the 11 CAP members who include local landowners, elected officials, and business and health care leaders. To give Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) inspectors first-hand experience in our industry, in 2017 Marathon Oil hosted two site tours. For many of the inspectors, it was their first time to visit drilling and workover rigs, a central facility and well sites. Based on feedback that the information was applicable to inspectors’ roles, Eagle Ford hopes to hold additional RRC tours in the future. The asset also continued to participate in STEER, with a focus on the organization’s stakeholder relations committee and on providing basic safety awareness training developed by STEER for RRC inspectors.
The Three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota are important stakeholders for our Bakken team. Since becoming the first company to drill on the reservation in 2008, Marathon Oil has engaged the 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 percent by a member of the tribes. Bakken employees attend tribal business council meetings, as well as county commissioner meetings, to listen to stakeholders and share our plans.
Our Oklahoma team continued to implement an asset stakeholder relations plan in 2017. We invited stakeholders to open house meetings in Kingfisher and at our newly remodeled office in Watonga, with informational booths for our drilling and completions, health, environmental and safety (HES), production and land teams. In El Reno, a Marathon Oil drilling superintendent met proactively with the school superintendent to discuss rig activity near a local school. He explained our plans for abating noise and redirecting heavy traffic, and provided a direct means to share safety concerns. After ensuring the rig was safely installed, our employees invited students and teachers from several grades to visit the site, and delivered lessons on the science and engineering that goes into drilling and producing wells.
Since entering the Permian Basin in New Mexico in mid-2017, our employees have been establishing relationships with elected officials, regulators, landowners and community leaders. We will implement a stakeholder engagement plan in 2018 to earn and maintain our license to operate, ensure emergency preparedness and response capabilities, and identify and use industry best practices in the asset.
To drive operational excellence and create enduring value across our U.S. resource plays, in 2017 Marathon Oil helped fund the first year of multi-year research projects with the University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M University. The projects are focused on reservoir characterization research to advance new innovative approaches to unconventional reservoirs, particularly in emerging basins that are early in the development cycle. Research champions from our assets and technology teams will direct the projects and provide practical input, while the university participants will bring creative, theoretical insight. Teams of graduate students, post-doctoral students and faculty members from the universities will work on the projects, which offer recruiting potential for Marathon Oil. We will also gain proprietary use of any research findings for an initial time period.
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Marathon Oil uses well-established business processes to evaluate climate change risk in our investment decisions, and engages with external stakeholders to understand their perspectives.
Marathon Oil and our workforce were deeply affected by the record-shattering storm. But we cared for each other, our neighbors and communities, while continuing critical business functions and safeguarding our South Texas Eagle Ford asset.
Digital Oilfield Capabilities
We’re expanding digital oilfield capabilities throughout our U.S. unconventional resource plays. They’re allowing us to automate field operations, transmit and manage large amounts of data, perform site and equipment surveillance remotely, and analyze and optimize operations.
Since 2002, Marathon Oil has been the operator of a world-class integrated gas business in Equatorial Guinea. We’re striving to bring progress, opportunities and national capacity to the community and host nation, while building long-term shareholder value.