1997 E&P Forum Position Paper on Sustainable Development in Oil and Gas Industry

This document is a position paper on sustainable development in the oil and gas industry, written by the Sustainable Development Task Force of the Oil Industry International Exploration and Production Forum (E&P Forum) which became the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) in 1999.

The E&P Forum was founded in 1974 as an “international association of oil companies and petroleum industry organizations” established to “represent its members’ interests at the international maritime organisation and other specialist agencies of the United Nations” about the regulation of oil and gas exploration and production. As of the writing of this paper, the E&P Forum was made up of 60 members, representing “49 oil companies, 8 national oil industry associations and 3 international institutes, operating in more than 60 different countries.” Since becoming the IOGP, the group has partnered with IPIECA and API on a variety projects and reports.

Part of a larger collection unearthed by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent in a trove of internal oil and gas industry documents, this particular paper takes issue with the “narrow” interpretation that views oil and gas as “incompatible with sustainable development because of concern about its environmental consequences.” The authors of the paper, all of whom represent oil and gas companies, promote “responsible oil and gas development” and support finding a “balance among the three interdependent pillars of economic prosperity, environmental protection, and social progress.” The paper outlines the group’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of their employees and local communities and reducing the environmental impact of their operations, while also promising to “consult with our stakeholders to understand and address their concerns.” They state the need for society to “build consensus about current needs and future options,” arguing that “the oil and gas industry is an essential participant” in the process of sustainable development.

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