Effective consultation is founded on respect; respect for the legal rights of Aboriginal people, as well as their traditional practices, activities, language and decision-making processes.
Here are a couple of examples of how we engage with Aboriginal leaders and communities at our growth projects to develop positive and long-term relationships.
Our Kearl oil sands project, located in the Fort McMurray area of northern Alberta, has an estimated total recoverable resource of 4.6 billion barrels of bitumen.
We have established advisory committees with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Mikisew Cree First Nation as well as an Elder’s council with the Fort McKay First Nation. The groups, which include Imperial staff and community residents, allow our Aboriginal neighbours to have ongoing communication with Imperial on the project and its impacts.
Elders from Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan have participated in tours of the project site, where they learned more about the project and had an opportunity to discuss concerns, including access to the lease area for trapping. In response, we revised access management plans to ensure trappers can safely access traplines in lease areas not actively being mined.
Together with ExxonMobil Canada, we have jointly acquired 310,000 net acres in British Columbia’s Horn River Basin, a frontier exploration area where natural gas is trapped in shale rock. In late 2008 and early 2009, we began exploration in the area with the drilling of four wells.
We are working with First Nations, government and communities to share information and answer questions about our drilling program.
We regularly meet with Fort Nelson First Nation representatives to update them on our project activities and discuss ways to minimize impacts on their livelihood. We also meet with local government representatives and business groups to increase understanding of business opportunities. In addition, members of our project team participate in cultural gatherings with the Fort Nelson First Nation and other Aboriginal community groups to learn more about traditional values in the region.