Our community liaison officers engage with communities on our plans in order to listen to and address their concerns. In China, for example, we have tight gas operations at Changbei in Shaanxi province, as well as exploration projects in Sichuan province. In Sichuan, concerns we are addressing include noise from our operations that can disturb local people and livestock.
Staff from Shell and our partner in these projects, PetroChina, regularly meet with village leaders and work closely with their communities. Shell works with the Environmental Protection Bureau in Sichuan to measure and reduce noise levels. To build relationships, we have helped organise community events and projects, including the equipping of a care home for the elderly in the Jinqiu area of Sichuan.
Water is a vital resource for farmers in the region. We have designed our operations to avoid competing for water with local communities. For example, in 2012, as we prepared for hydraulic fracturing operations, nearby paddy fields were lacking water because of low rainfall. Our project team discussed with local village leaders how we could help. As a result, we invested in pumps to take some water from a nearby reservoir and paid for the power needed to irrigate the rice crops. The farmers had a good autumn harvest and allowed us to use some of the water for our operations. Building trust by working closely with the local community resulted in fewer delays to our operations.
The collaboration with Shell has been positive since we set up the Santai County government-community co-ordination office in March 2012. Shell has been proactively communicating with the county government, and we respect the high international social and environmental standards Shell applies. We are impressed by Shell’s rigorous road-safety rules, as well as the early engagement with local communities before operations, including information about the way people raise grievances. One aspect I believe Shell could improve is the time it can take to address grievances. Most grievances are dealt with swiftly, but some that are more complex take longer and I’d like to see Shell speed these up, in order to resolve quickly any possible conflicts of interest between local people and the Jinqiu tight gas project, and to smooth the progress of the project.”
Assistant Director of Santai County People’s Government Office, Sichuan Province, China