Acclaimed for aid project

September 23, 2005, 09:55 CEST

The 18th World Petroleum Congress (WPC) has given its prestigious excellence award for best social project to Statoil in recognition of its support for the Akassa people of Nigeria.

This prize is due to be presented to the group on 26 September during the WPC, which will take place from 26-29 September in the South African city of Johannesburg.

Statoil has cooperated since 1997 with the Pro Natura International organisation to build up the Akassa Community Development Project (ACDP).

This tribe of some 30,000 people is concentrated at the southernmost tip of the west African country.

The ACDP’s most important role has been to develop local institutions which can initiate and manage community-based activities.

These have focused in turn on combating poverty as well as promoting health, education, utilisation of natural resources and jobs.

The philosophy throughout has been to involve the residents of the region in taking decisions and pursuing development projects on their own terms.

A new phase of the work is now under way, in which the Akassa are organising their own projects. This model will also be adopted for other communities in the Niger delta.

“The WPC award means a lot to us, and acknowledges our strong commitment to accepting social responsibility,” says public affairs manager Sophia Mbakwe at Statoil’s Nigeria office.

“It’s also a confirmation that local participation is a criterion for success in a project of this kind.”

She is very pleased to see that the ACDP is being imitated as best practice by other multinationals in Nigeria, and says this shows how Statoil’s core values support sustainable development.

“This project reduces the risk of local conflicts, and gives residents in the area hope for a better future.”

The two WPC excellence awards also include one for best technology. Statoil won its accolade against sharp competition from other major oil companies.

The organiser expects about 4,000 delegates from more than 60 countries to participate in this leading industry event.