International oil and gas companies have poured significant resources into building social licence since the 1990s. Despite this extensive effort at a local community level adjacent to operations, social licence has not been consistently gained and broad based community trust in the industry is lacking.
Social licence has not been achieved globally, because oil and gas companies are failing to respond directly and appropriately to the concerns of all stakeholders.
While international oil and gas companies have largely been successful in achieving and communicating the benefits they bring at a local level, in terms of royalties, local community investment, jobs and even in environmental credentials, they have not achieved social licence because it is no longer granted by only local communities. It extends to a potentially more powerful group of largely urban dwelling broader society, enabled by technology, especially social media.
A new way of communicating and operating is required if oil and gas companies want to avoid the loss of social licence in future. We identify three distinct opportunities to strengthen social licence in today’s context: