Thought Leadership Provided by ConocoPhillips
ConocoPhillips has a long history in Alaska, from the discovery of oil on the Kenai Peninsula in the 1950’s that provided the resources needed to become a state, to the discovery of Prudhoe Bay in 1968 which fueled the economic engine that is the financial foundation for the entire state. Today, we are the largest oil producer and explorer in Alaska. This would not be possible without the support of Alaskans – support which has been built through a strong history of investing in our communities and collaborating closely with those that are most directly impacted by our activities; they are truly part of our business.
At ConocoPhillips, we strive to build inclusive, honest and respectful relationships with all stakeholders, especially our nearest indigenous neighbors on the North Slope. We respect the rich culture of Alaska’s Native peoples and actively seek to learn from their traditional and local knowledge. Maintaining transparent dialog with stakeholders allows us to understand the environmental and social issues that are not only important to them, but essential to our business success. In these conversations we hear everything from requests to support local school and community programs to input on how we can better design our operations to reduce potential conflicts with subsistence hunters. These engagements reinforce our long-standing commitment to produce oil and natural gas resources in a way that protects people, the environment and the communities in and near where we work and live.
Our Alpine CD5 satellite field project reflects our commitment to engagement. The Inupiat village of Nuiqsut is located approximately eight miles from the Alpine facility. We have devoted over eight years of planning to minimize impacts on wildlife, waterflow and the local subsistence lifestyle. However, initial permit applications for a bridge over a channel of the Colville River generated concern related to subsistence hunting.
ConocoPhillips withdrew its initial applications and worked with residents and the local Alaska native corporation to find a mutually agreeable location. Ultimately, through collaboration, a new bridge site was identified. New permit applications were filed with support from Kuukpik (the village corporation), the State of Alaska, Alaska’s congressional delegation, the North Slope Borough and CD5 subsurface owner Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (the Regional ANCSA corporation).
This same spirit of collaboration was recently incorporated into our Willow project, in the National Petroleum Reserve- Alaska, also not far from Nuiqsut. When concerns were raised related to the potential impacts to marine mammals due to an off-shore module staging area, the project team developed an alternative that eliminated this offshore component.
ConocoPhillips fosters its culture of collaboration through a robust community investment program on the North Slope and across Alaska. For example, in 2019 we worked with the City of Nuiqsut, the Native Village of Nuiqsut and the Kuukpik Corporation to form the Nuiqsut Community Development Foundation. This foundation’s purpose is to provide grant management and project execution services to build capacity for the local entities to manage community programs. We also helped protect a historical subsistence use cabin by moving it away from an eroding riverbank, thus preserving an important cultural use area.
Improving the quality of life in the communities where we live and work is a fundamental value for ConocoPhillips and our employees. In 2019, we awarded 495 grants to over 250 Alaska non-profits in our core focus areas: Education, Health and Safety, Natural Resource Preservation, and Social Services.
These investments are shared across the state. In 2019, we contributed over $5.4 million to non-profits in Anchorage, Fairbanks, the North Slope, Kenai, Valdez, Juneau and other regions across the state.
In addition to financial support, our Alaska employees volunteered over 2,500 hours in 2019, including 15 United Way Day of Caring Projects. Employee-driven programs contributed more than $1.5 million to Alaska non-profits and their donation of time and other in-kind contributions exceeded $500,000.
While not everyone in Alaska works in the oil industry, we often say that if you live here, you must be in the oil business. Through direct and indirect employment, state projects funded through taxes, and its community investment programs, ConocoPhillips’s contributions to Alaska, its communities, and its people provide a strong foundation for its business now and into the future.