Mending the Fractures: Creating a Multi-Stakeholder Framework for Building Shared Purpose in Unconventional Oil and Gas
In the summer of 2014, a large energy company was poised to begin expanding its unconventional natural gas operations in northeastern British Columbia in the hopes of capitalizing on the Canadian province's determination to build a liquid natural gas industry. The company had secured mineral rights from the province but had not simultaneously pursued surface rights from a First Nation community that historically had used the land. When a seismic exploration team appeared on the tribe's traditional territory without consulting it, as was customary (and in some cases legally required), the company unwittingly ignited a firestorm of protest from both First Nation and non First Nation local citizens. Recognizing the importance of social acceptance both to operations and profitability, the company sent senior vice president Maria Paquet to participate in fireside discussions with tribal, regional government, and environmental leaders in the hopes of finding some common ground. Could these leaders arrive at sufficient trust and agreement to allow the company to move forward with its plans? Or would the company face gridlock, community blocking, or even financial peril? In a small-group role-playing exercise, students will step into the shoes of each of these stakeholders as they try to forge a path forward that is acceptable to all.