Stakeholders Management In The Nigerian Oil And Gas Projects: Challenges And Prospects
Nigeria is blessed with natural resources, and oil and gas are some of them. The country earns most of its external revenue from exporting these two commodities. Oil and gas play key role in the country’s economy, as a matter of fact; oil constitutes the major source of income. The study aimed at identifying challenges faced in managing stakeholders’ expectation by the industry practitioners in Nigeria during project delivery. It is also sought to understand the approaches usually adopted to resolve them and identify the gaps that could be improved upon to bring about better relationships among the stakeholders.The methodology adopted is based on survey research, an approach credited with effective means of putting research data together. The survey is carried out using online questionnaire for data gathering to acquire the necessary information from sample population drawn from project organization of Shell Nigeria. The result of the exercise shows that project organizations are more focused on managing challenges that could emanate from contracting and procurement activities above any other issues because apart from funding, the next critical success factor to a project is the ability to manage services, materials, equipment supplies, and contractual obligations.
1.1 Background to the Study:
Nigeria produces oil and gas in commercial quantities and substantial part of these are for export. The country is one of the top two producers of the commodities in Africa. Commercial production of oil in the country is dated back to 1958 at Oloibiri, one of the rural settlements in the Niger delta region of the country (NNPC,n.d; Edo,2013; KPMG, 2013), with early production figure put at about 5,000 barrels a day. Current production is estimated to be about 2.2million barrels per day and as at reserve audit figures of 2012, proven reserves for crude oil, natural gas, and non-associated gas are estimated to be 37.2 billion barrels, 165 trillion standard cubic feet, and 75.4 trillion standard cubic feet (NNPC, n.d) respectively.
The local market has the presence of both international oil companies (IOC) and indigenous producers who are active players in the exploration and production to serve both the local and international markets. These commodities play major role in the country’s economy, they are the major sources of income, and the country earns most of its foreign exchange through their export (Giwa-Osagieand Ehigiato, 2015).
Delivering Oil and Gas project in an emerging economy and a multicultural environment like Nigeria could be thought-provoking. There are so many factors that often confront players in the industry (Okpanachi, 2011). Some of these do have significant impact on project timeline and invariably cost overrun thus making it exceptionally challenging to deliver projects in this sector (Aaron, 2012). One of such factors identified as a major one, is the challenge of managing different stakeholders in the industry. This group comprises of the industry regulators, services providers, environmental watchdogs, indigenous land owners, and financial sponsors. Their influences are of great importance and the outcome of collaborative efforts and engagements with them often decide the success or failure of project in the industry.
Freeman and Evan (1990)defined stakeholders as parties or interest groups that extend services or resources to an organization or have stake in contemplated actions planned to be taken by an organization. Stakeholders play major roles in the industry and their buy-in and cooperation on any project in the sector are part of the critical success factors. The key stakeholders who have major influence on project delivery in Nigeria oil and gas environment are Joint Venture Partners, Government regulatory agencies, suppliers and contractors, Host Communities, Business Sponsor / Steering Committee, and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). Projects in the sector often run into hiccups when issues with these stakeholders are not resolved as soon as they come up during projects lifecycle.
Some of the issues associated with these stakeholders are:
· Shortage of competent local manpower, poor state of infrastructure to support project works, environmental issues, long contracting cycle, influence of global economic climate, and corruption (Idemudia, Cragg and Best, 2010) at every facet of the value chain within the industry. These are some of the issues operators would contend with in the industry to deliver projects.
Social issues rooted in agitations within the host communities (Nwagbara and Brown, 2014) clamoring for better living conditions vis-à-vis provision of infrastructural and social amenities to compensate for exploitation of their God giving resources. These communities are predominately settled in the Niger Delta area of the country where most of the country’s oil and gas deposits are found. However, exploitation of these resources has not really impacted positively on the living standard of the people in the area. Over the years, they have been saddled with major infrastructure deficiencies, alarming unemployment rate, and quite a large number of unskilled youth. All these developmental shortcomings often bring about the issue of marginalization thus leading to resentment and sometimes violent agitations. Poverty level as a result of underdevelopment in the region is on the high side even though its vast amount of oil and gas reserves serves as major source of revenue for the whole country. World Bank puts the GNP per capital of the region at less than national average especially for women (Okpanachi, 2011). The clamor for better living condition and the push for inclusiveness in the industry by these communities do lead to civil unrest and in most cases, create unsafe environment that often degenerate to disruption of project works, vandalism of equipment and facilities of companies undertaking project work in their domain. Destruction of oil and gas infrastructure, drilling rigs confiscation, attack on personnel, blowing of pipelines, and worrisomely kidnapping and abduction of foreign workers in the industry for ransom (Kupolokun, 2004) are some of the social ills that over the years emanated from this economic imbalance.
· Attitudinal issues and lack of enterprise first behavior on the part of regulatory bodies are some of the issues amongst others that often mitigate against project delivery in the industry.
All these factors often result into high cost of project delivery with the additional cost emanating from schedule overrun and mitigation cost to cover the envisaged risks. However, most of these issues are traceable to lack of willpower on the part of government to come up with policies and enabling environment that will nurture the industry (Anifowose, Lawler, Horst and Chapman, 2012).
he research work is being undertaken to take a holistic look at the challenges the industry is facing in delivering projects in Nigeria with focus on the last16 years. Even though the projects are generally seen to be beneficial to the economic growth of the country and yet they are exposed to risks that often frustrate and sometimes, cripple such projects. A couple of these issues are linked to long period of neglect, frustration, marginalization, and particularly, exploitation (Moruku,2012) of the host communities; and opportunistic parties do take advantage of the political environment and agitation for social infrastructure (Nwagbara and Brown, 2014) within the host environments to perpetrate theft and kidnapping of oil workers (Anifowose, Lawler, Horst and Chapman, 2012; Moruku, 2012). Project delivery in Oil and Gas industry is capital intensive and the risk sets which are somehow more pronounced in this environment do result in additional project cost to cover risk outsourcing and security documentation (Giwa-Osagie and Ehigiato, 2015). Reluctance on the part of foreign banks to commit to project funding in the country due to the risk perception level (Giwa-Osagie and Ehigiato, 2015) is also born out of the issues identified to be militating against growth in the industry.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is blessed with abundance natural resources, and Oil and Gas have been among the key ones and have occupied the center stage of the nation revenue drive (KPMG Nigeria, 2014; PWC, 2014) since the mid twentieth century when they were first discovered in commercial quantity. Unfortunately, growth in the sector has not been commensurate with the level of revenue derived from it over this period due to some of the issues identified above. The role the industry plays in the nation’s economy exposes it to greater stakeholders’ participation in its development and operations. Project delivery in the sector which plays a critical role in production growth has always been at the receiving end of these issues.
In view of the above, this research work is being carried out by the author to look at the challenges and problems faced in managing stakeholders in the course of project delivery in Nigeria using the experience of Shell companies in Nigeria (Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Company, and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria) in the last 16years (since 2000) as a case study
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this research work is to take a critical look at some of the stakeholders’ issues that often constitute hindrances to project delivery in the industry in recent times.
- To investigate the external factors that are identified and often constitute major impediments to project delivery in the organization in the last 16 years.
- To examine how often Shell Nigeria encounters externally generated problems and what are the impacts on project in terms of cost overrun and schedule slippage.
- To find out the steps often taken to resolve them and how successful have they been over the years using these approaches.
- To determine if the organization had cause to abandon projects as a result of some of these issues.
- To establish if there is there hope of improvement in the industry with regard to external challenges and what does the future hold in terms of minimizing these challenges.
1.4 Research Questions
A couple of questions that the research seeks to answer are:
- What are the external factors that are identified and often constitute major impediments to project delivery in the organization in the last 16 years?
- How often does Shell Nigeria encounter externally generated problems and what are the impacts on project in terms of cost overrun and schedule slippage?
- What are the steps often taken to resolve them and how successful have they been over the years using these approaches?
- Has the organization had cause to abandon projects as a result of some of these issues?
- Is there hope of improvement in the industry with regard to external challenges and what does the future hold in terms of minimizing these challenges?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the completion of the study;
- H0: there are no external factors that constitute major impediments to project delivery in the organization in the last 16 years
H1: there are external factors that constitute major impediments to project delivery in the organization in the last 16 years
- H0: there is no hope of improvement in the industry with regard to external challenges
H0: there is hope of improvement in the industry with regard to external challenges
1.6 Significance of the Study
The researcher has an insider in the industry and working with one of the major multinational oil companies operating in the country. This provides an opportunity to leverage on this to have access to firsthand information through the available official channel within the organization providing the sample data population. Data gathering is done through the available internal and external network within the chosen organization.
This research work is carried out using constructionist epistemological approach to enrich the quality of input into it. The essence of this is to ensure that perceptive knowledge given by the insider is balanced with the understanding, view and experience of other players in the industry (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe and Jackson, 2012).
This not only enhances the quality of the outcome but also presents opportunity to incorporate broader view and facts within the industry into it.
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The scope of the study covers stake holders management in the Nigerian oil and gas project; challenges and prospect. But in the cause of the study, there are some factors that limited the scope of the study;
a) Availability of Research Material:
The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
In a corporation, as defined in its first usage in a 1963 internal memorandum at the Stanford Research Institute, a stakeholder is a member of the “groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist”.
Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body.
Oil and Gas
The petroleum industry, also known as the oil industry or the oil patch, includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting, and marketing of petroleum products
1.9 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.
- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc.
- Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter.
- Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
It is pertinent to note that this research was aimed at examining stake holders management in the Nigeria oil and gas projects; challenges and prospect.
In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of stake holders management in the oil and gas sector.
The study revealed that the case study companies have deployed different stakeholder management frameworks in their attempt to manage their relationships with community stakeholders. These different strategies highlight the variability observed in stakeholder management (Shropshire and Hillman, 2006). The study identified three distinct strategies the companies have employed to manage their relationships with community stakeholders: philanthropic (altruistic), paternalistic (top-down), and collaborative (relational). The companies began with philanthropic approaches, which have now been largely replaced by paternalistic and collaborative approaches. The changes in the strategies have mostly been tailored responses to threats from community stakeholders.
This study sought to document a holistic account of how specific oil companies operating in the Nigerian oil and gas industry have attempted to manage their relationships with stakeholder communities who are affected by their operations. Although the study identified three main issues arising from the activities of the companies, namely environmental, economic and social issues, it was found that the companies mainly focused on ameliorating the socio-economic impacts on community stakeholders, with little attention given to the environmental problems that triggered the social and economic issues. Interestingly, the findings revealed that the focus on socio-economic issues was actually driven by the local communities. The implication of this is that even though the companies attempt to ameliorate the socio-economic problems as demanded by the local communities, they will continue to encounter problems in their relationships with communities as environmental problems from exploration and production persist (Freeman, 1984).
After a summary of the findings, implications of findings and contributions of this study to the body of knowledge, it becomes expedient that recommendations should be made for areas deemed necessary for future research as well as improvement in the industry. This is important because the limitations hinted above imply that this study could have touched on several aspects that came up, but could not be addressed for various reasons. These areas that could be explored are briefly highlighted below, to be pursued by the author in subsequent studies or by other researchers. A similar study can be undertaken in another industry in Nigeria that covers the whole country to see if there will be a repetition of some of the findings of this study, with such a research involving all the companies involved in that industry. This same study can be replicated in another oil producing and developing country, to see if some of the findings are a function of other factors peculiar to the specific environment such as culture, politics and history. Also, the role of agreements between stakeholders in either improving or souring their relationships could be investigated in detail to see how these can impact on such relationships, depending on the attitude of the stakeholders involved. In addition to the above, any study being undertaken would need to consider an expansion of the methods used for data collection and analysis to see if such a study returns similar or different results.
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