How Can the Oil and Gas Industry Contribute to Sustainable Development?

How Can the Oil and Gas Industry Contribute to Sustainable Development?

The Convention hosted a roundtable discussion titled “How the Oil and Gas Industry Can Contribute to Sustainable Development”, bringing together Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla and other industry leaders to discuss corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development (SD). It was moderated by Iman Hill, Executive Director at the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP).

El Molla opened the discussion by stressing on the importance of cooperation and effective coordination between international oil companies (IOCs) and national oil companies (NOCs) when working on CSR and SD initiatives. He highlighted Egypt Oil and Gas CSR Committee’s role in helping the sector generate a priority list that could be limited to a select-few unified and focused projects that will have a significant impact. “My dream is to reach the priority project that would go in alignment with Egypt’s 2030 vision as well as the presidential initiatives, {…..} such as ‘Hayah Karima’,” he said.

Osama Mobarez, Undersecretary for Technical Office at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, shed light on the driving mechanisms behind the CSR strategy. “In the past two months, we worked extensively on the CSR strategy, as directed from H.E [ Minister Tarek El Molla],” Mobarez said. Echoing the ministry’s desire for a unified CSR strategy, he pointed out that CSR efforts could be hampered by poor coordination and lack of societal alignment.

For her part, Denisse Abudinén, CEO, ENAP Sipetrol, General Manager for Egypt said “At ENAP Sipetrol we are totally committed to support the Corporate Social Responsibility and we are eager to support all initiatives lead by His Excellency Eng. Tarek El Molla.” She emphasized on making CSR a core value and business pillar for organizations, not just spending money.

Since CSR has been a subject of much debate, Sameh Sabry, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Egypt at Wintershall Dea aimed to dispel the misconceptions about the term. “I think it is our responsibility to increase awareness on what is CSR in the first place, because I personally believe that it is sometimes mistakenly thought of as a cheque for charity or just creating new jobs”, said Sabry. Based on this broader view of CSR, he said that programs should contribute to the overall well-being of the entire community.

Furthermore, Waleed Hamed, Chairman and Managing Director of Petrojet emphasized that “Our strategy support active participation in sustainable development projects in Egypt which are mostly under presidential initiatives and government.” He added that Petrojet’s strategy focused on environmental protection and educational initiatives.

David Chi, Vice President and Country Manager at Apache Corporation, said “We need to look at sustainable development from a more holistic point of view: social, environmental and economical.” Chi insisted on the need for the sector to operate in an environmentally responsible manner, pointing out that it is also important to enhance business performance to generate the funds not only needed by the companies themselves, but for social and environmental activities.

From his side, Tameer Nasser, Director and General Manager Egypt, Sudan Baker Hughes, expressed his pleasure in discussing the CSR topic adding “Collectively investing the social and community sustainable projects will be positive for the industry and we are happy to join the efforts.”

Moreover, Salah El Din Riad, Q&HSE Chairman Assistant at ECHEM, said “we are committed to always making a change in the neighboring communities where we work and these changes must [have] a positive impact from day one.” He elaborated that ECHEM focuses on social investments, especially health, education empowerment, and training.

Moving forward, Khaled Abu Bakr, TAQA’S Executive Chairman, talked about the company’s best CSR initiatives taken while developing Benban Solar Park in Aswan. “We decided that this is a wonderful opportunity to empower women. So, we started to train and resource young lady engineers from Aswan Area,” said Abu Bakr.

For his part, Colby Fuser, Vice President Egypt and Libya at Halliburton, explained the key criteria for CSR project selection saying: “When companies like Halliburton look at who or where to put our focus for sustainable development, we focus on two things. First is how we can collaborate with our partners to make the biggest impact together in areas we work and second is what can we do that improves the communities our employees work in as well as supports internal teamwork.”

Demonstrating Shell’s commitment to sustainability,  the company’s Country Chairman and Managing Director Khaled Kacem said that they aim to provide energy in a responsible manner, integrating both environmental and social considerations. “Sustainability is at the heart of everything that Shell does,” concluded Kacem.

With regards to CSR projects, Craig Robertson, Country Manager and Director at TransGlobe Energy Corporation, stressed on the importance of being aware of a community’s needs within a certain area. “I am excited and very optimistic that between us all, we can come up with a blueprint of what sustainability looks like for CSR in our industry,” Robertson added.

Badria Khalfan, Chief HR officer at Dragon Oil, discussed the company’s philosophy on sustainability in operations. Enjoying several years of success in making a social and economic development impact in Turkmenistan, Khalfan spoke about aspirations to do work in Egypt’s healthcare and educational sectors. “In Egypt, we have our own CSR strategy, and soon we are going to submit a plan mainly in the health and education sector,” Khalfan said.

Kamel Al-Sawi, Kuwait Energy Egypt President, has referred to an idea that would help incorporate CSR into the organizational culture. He explained that the concession agreements should include an obligation for the companies to implement CSR codes. Reflecting on the importance of CSR, he said that “this is the most tangible thing that our society can see.”

According to Sherif Bayoumy, Managing Director of Egypt and East Mediterranean at Schlumberger, the new role of CSR revolves around re-empowering local communities. “Historically, or [by] legacy, the focus has been on the environmental, but now we are moving a little bit more towards the local community and we are fully aligned with the strategy that is coming out now from the Ministry.” Schlumberger has been actively organizing training programs for technicians and university students.

For his part, Nicolas Katcharov, Energean’s Egypt Country Manager, struck the right balance between CSR and energy efficiency. To illustrate, energy efficiency can be used as a CSR tool to achieve sustainable development goals. “Energy efficiency, and, more generally, how the energy we produce is used by the final consumer, is an attention and developments in which the oil and gas industry must involve and become a leader. It’s not anymore just an option,” Katcharov stated.

The roundtable also witnessed the participation of Tawfik Diab, Chairman of Chevron Petroleum Corporation and Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Chairman and CEO of Enppi.


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