Perspectives on a long-term stakeholder dialogue : lessons learned from the Snøhvit project - Statoil and the Fishermen's Association
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The point of departure for my research is to conduct a case study of Statoil's stakeholder approach from the establishment of the Snøhvit project until the current situation in Nordland VI, VII and Troms II. This research is based on the communication process that evolved between Statoil and the Fishermen’s Association from the initial contact regarding the Snøhvit1 project up to a pending situation for coexistence on waters off Lofoten Islands. Anyone who has followed the media focus on the topic of coexistence in the waters off the Lofoten Islands will understand that this is a major challenge to an oil company’s stakeholder approach. The Fishermen’s Association represents a major stakeholder and claims its rights and respect from the oil industry based on its long-lasting history of operating in these waters without interference. A passionate debate has evolved ranging from the view of the fisheries’ rights to these marine resources to the fear of negative environmental impact due to oil activity in these waters. The pending political decision, based on the fisheries’ position, the authorities’ advice, NGOs and general public opinion, may finally lead to an opening for oil activity in these waters in the near future. My curiosity regarding the fisheries’ different attitudes for coexistence to different waters encouraged me to conduct a qualitative research to interpret meanings and different constructions of my respondents experiences, thus reveal aspects of Statoil's stakeholder approach. As demonstrated in my findings, Statoil’s interaction with different social networks managed to externalize knowledge and understanding that modified attitudes in this key stakeholder, which internalized this as trustworthy. Derived from my findings, it emerged that Statoil was collaborating with the Fishermen’s Association based on deliberate strategies, where its purpose was solely to develop conditions for good establishment and coexistence in the Barents Sea. My findings demonstrated that Statoil’s social interaction with the Fishermen’s Association corresponds with its stated obligations. The management team from Statoil managed to develop a long and continuous dialogue with this stakeholder during the establishment of the Snøhvit project, all the way to the end. Derived from my findings it appears that Statoil have considered their perspective on their stakeholder approach. My findings indicate that a long-term dialogue with local stakeholders should be considered beyond a one-by-one project, which could ease their access to more sensitive fields.
Masteroppgave i Energy management - Høgskolen i Bodø, 2010