Egypt Oil & Gas CSR Committee Brief
With many members of Egypt’s oil and gas sector committed to having a positive impact on society, Shell Egypt’s Social Performance Manager, Ahmed Gabry gave a presentation in front of an engaged audience about the Egypt Oil & Gas (EOG) Committee and corporate social responsibility (CSR) that can be a model in this regard.
In his presentation, which was one of the events of the convention, Gabry approached CSR from two angles, sustainable development and community development. It was noted that though the CSR initiatives involve many of the industry’s top players, cooperation is always the key to success. “When we work, we don’t compete against each other, rather we are unified,” Gabry said indicating that “though competition is great, but in CSR, unity is always better.”
Moreover, he highlighted the importance of the EOG CSR Sub-Committee in unifying and coordinating development efforts in a number of important CSR initiatives. He pointed out that CSR projects should be within the framework of Vision 2030.
Some of the most important projects that the EOG Committee had worked on were highlighted in the presentation including the Blood Donation Campaign, the HSE Awareness Campaign, the Anti-COVID-19 Aid Supply “One Hand”, and the CSR Strategy Taskforce which is in close cooperation with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
Drawing the Map for a Viable Sustainable Development & CSR Strategy
The third day of the convention witnessed several panel discussions. The first panel, titled “SDG Roadmap for the Oil and Gas Sector”, discussed the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and international oil companies (IOCs) to achieve sustainable development within the sector. The discussion was moderated by Nihad Shelbaya, Business Ventures Manager at ExxonMobil Egypt.
Heba El Karrar, Marketing, Communication & Stewardship Lead at Schlumberger Egypt, Sudan and East Mediterranean, started the panel by discussing the role of Schlumberger in the fields of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR). El Karrar explained the best practices of her company in this regard, emphasizing the importance of having a reality check for every CSR project idea before implementation.
“A lot of projects are well planned and well-funded from the start, but fail to continue after one or two years because their sustainability and continuation were not properly planned at the beginning,” El Karrar said. Also, El Karrar mentioned that Schlumberger is actively involved in educational initiatives for schools.
Enas Shabana, Communications Section Head at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, discussed her role in CSR projects directed by the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla, as well as the efforts exerted by the ministry in this regard. Shabana explained the strategy that the ministry follows with IOCs and the Egypt Oil & Gas (EOG) CSR Committee in adopting and implementing CSR projects.
She highlighted that the importance of promoting such projects across the sector and the country. “There will be a CSR marketing plan so that the whole community will be aware of our [the ministry] efforts,” Shabana affirmed. In the end, Shabana elaborated that the CSR strategy has mainly four pillars including youth empowerment and development, improving the community’s health (especially women’s wellness), defining adverse impacts of the oil and gas industry, and ensuring CSR projects align with presidential initiatives.
Additionally, Nehal Khalil, Media General Manager at Petrojet, talked about the practices and projects adopted by her company in CSR and sustainable development. She underlined the importance of SDGs projects saying “the major advantage of the ministry’s CSR strategy is that it touches SDGs.” Khalil added that Petrojet has obtained ISO 26000 certificate in social responsibility.
Khalil emphasized the 3Ps approach when executing CSR projects, which seeks to benefit people, the planet, and profits. She noted also that the company is always encouraging its employees to get involved in volunteer activities. Khalil stressed on the importance of closer cooperation between international and national companies in the field of sustainable development.
For his part, Ahmed Gabry, Social Performance Manager at Shell Egypt, stressed on the importance of community impact during implementation when selecting a CSR project, as it may cause disturbance for people. “We always need to focus on things in the long-term,” Gabry said. He mentioned Shell’s health, safety and environment (HSE) awareness project that they held at Ain Shams University. Furthermore, Gabry concluded his speech, discussing the future plans for cooperation between the ministry and IOCs with regards to CSR projects.
Strategic Partnership: Shell Egypt and World Food Programme
Dina Ghoniem, Partnerships and Donor Relations Officer at the World Food Programme (WFP), and Nihal Abdel Wahab Programme Policy Officer at WPF, delivered a presentation on the successful partnership between WFP and Shell Egypt.
Ghoniem explained that WFP joined forces with Shell Egypt to support the marginalized communities in Marsa Matruh Governorate. She further added that “this partnership is a strategic one that aligns with Egypt’s vision 2030 as well as the sustainable development goals, especially Goal 2 ‘Zero Hunger’.”
Abdel Wahab stressed that the projects launched as part of the partnership contribute to the well-being of the whole community. As a manifestation, she referred to the funds provided to the vulnerable families if any of their children attend community school. Not only does the project increase school attendance and combat drop-out rates, but it also helps families withstand the financial hardships of COVID-19. In addition, the community schools were used as training centers for women. Therefore, WPF and Shell Egypt adopt the philosophy of “leaving no one behind”.
Zohr Sustainable Development Case Study
Shahinda Shirazi, General Manager Community Development at Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) delivered a presentation, titled ‘Zohr Sustainable Development Case Study’, during which she reviewed the sustainability efforts undertaken by EGAS and its partners.
The presentation talked about several corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities done in cooperation with Eni, including the establishment of a primary healthcare center located within Port Said’s Emirates district. It offers dentistry, emergency services, vaccinations, pediatrics, and pharmacy services to around 20,000 people. Additionally, the company has a youth center that aims to provide recreational opportunities and training to the healthcare center’s staff.
Moreover, Shirazi talked about Zohr Applied Technology School, which follows all the sustainable development goals. The school aims to prepare its students with the technical skills needed to find job opportunities in the future. Shirazi stated that through the school, EGAS and Eni are trying to change the way technical schools are perceived, noting that there are many applicants. The school provides various types of training, including logistics classes, electronics classes, and energy classes.
With many CSR initiatives, the Zohr field development and its operators have surely benefitted Port Said and its people in their effort to support the areas where oil and gas companies are working.
CSR-SDGs Interactive Session
The CSR-SDGs Interactive Session offered an engaging platform for those working in the oil and gas sector to discuss the various ideas and initiatives in the areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development.
These ideas and project proposals tackled a variety of different issues having to do with nutrition, health, recycling, water conservation, poverty, gender equality, education, and much more. For the “zero hunger” goal, Fatma El Zahra from the General Petroleum Company discussed project ideas which included initiatives to fight malnutrition and hunger through an awareness campaign targeting school children that will teach them about better nutrition. As far as the “partnership” goal is concerned, Ahmed Raafat from Rashid Petroleum Company talked about strategic cooperation initiatives that involve working with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to support the Haya Karima Project as well as partnerships with international entities, such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), to promote energy efficiency. To help achieve the “gender equality” goal, Raghda Safwat from EGAS suggested a campaign, which would involve a nationwide survey that will seek to gain a deeper understanding of women’s needs throughout different parts of Egypt. This will help address women’s needs in a more effective way.
The session also offered the opportunity for many other professionals from various companies in the oil and gas industry to present their CSR ideas.