Public engagement: New approaches to enhance field planning and environmental compliance for O&G development
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Copyright 2018, Society of Petroleum Engineers. Studies have shown the need to engage the public early in planning new energy development ventures. Many times, this may be critical to the ultimate success of that program. Based on our previous studies of community acceptance of shale development projects, we have undertaken new studies to understand better the communities' views of development in environmentally sensitive areas. Early interviews with key stakeholders and specially conducted focus group meetings helped previously to identify the public's perceptions of such technology and showed that favorable or unfavorable views were based mostly on preconceived notions of potential effects rather that factual data. Those findings have shown that a developer should actively work to increase the public's awareness about a potential project. There is a strong need for those who plan new energy development to be completely transparent and to give the public knowledgeable (and credible) information about events and developments that will impact them, not just financial gains, but environmental impacts and overall effects on community. Recognizing that sustainable development of energy resources is a sound business strategy, some O&G companies are now incorporating public engagement as part of their business strategy. However, some companies do not. Recent activity in West Texas provides an example of how companies should and should not go about energy development projects.