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ABSTRACT: Success in Stakeholder Negotiations - Be Honest, Be Creative but be Resolute Too!

Laing, A.C. (Sandy) and Thomas W. Radford , BP Amoco, Calgary, AB

BP AMOCO (BPA) was faced with what appeared to be an impossible stalemate after several years of fruitless negotiations. The issue? BPA planned to drill a sour gas well near an area considered sacred by three First Nations (FN).

Co-operative processes encouraged parties to communicate effectively and address concerns creatively: 1. Government, FN, and BPA worked together to agree on a binding system of surface land use which created a "protected area" around the spiritual site with industrial activity permitted beyond the protected area; 2. BPA and the FN worked together on a project outside of the controversial area first, creating trust and co-operative working relationships; and, 3. BPA and the FN entered into agreements defining how each would consult and work with the other.

After these processes were complete, two of the three affected FNs agreed that all of their concerns had been addressed or mitigated. These FN supported the project. The third FN remained opposed, not on the basis of project-specific issues, but rather on broader issues such as government consultation obligations and cumulative environmental impacts.

The government approved the project, the dissenting FN set up a road block and BPA successfully sought relief through the courts.

BPA drilled the well and continues to work diligently and successfully with all three FNs and their contractors in a climate of honesty and openness.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90913©2000 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Bali, Indonesia