The energy market is undergoing extreme change. Oil and gas companies are being increasingly defined by their operating strategies and how they are affecting the environment and communities of where they operate. In today’s world, with its focus of sustainability and corporate responsibility, there needs to be significant change in how such companies operate.
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LekOil, an oil and gas exploration and production company focusing on Africa, was founded in 2010 with a strategy that involves working with and improving the lives of communities in the areas they operate in. LekOil’s CEO, Olalekan Akinyanmi, explains the importance of this approach. “When you get an asset – you’re getting the community with it, so your whole strategy has to include the community. If you don’t do that, your success will be short-lived.”
This perspective is reflected in LekOil’s operating method. Before the company begins work on an asset, they engage with the local community as a non-profit organisation with medical outreach to understand the community’s needs. After this a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed, whereby a trust fund – transparently managed by LekOil and the community in collaboration – is established, with money being used for different projects to improve the community. Similarly, when gas production is going ahead, LekOil ensure that the local community benefits from the energy involved by setting up local power plants to produce power for the community.
Sustainability is a very prominent issue when it comes to oil and gas production. LekOil posits that it is possible for such an industry to be sustainable, but this requires a change of mindset and foundation. An important concession from LekOil is that the existence of a problem cannot be denied. However, LekOil also points out that the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy will be a multi-century process and so fossil fuels will continue to be relevant for a very long time. As a result, oil and gas companies must be responsible with their production processes – LekOil puts forward that the current technique of mainly producing oil, with gas as a by-product, must be reversed – and efficiency, with a clear understanding of what is driving demand.
With the current and growing trend and use of renewable energy and technology, an examination needs to be made of the role that fossil fuels will play in the face of such trends. LekOil’s perspective is that an energy company will benefit from a portfolio that includes both fossil fuels and renewable assets. This, along with the company’s focus on the communities in their operating areas, shows LekOil as a company adapting well to the changing needs of the modern energy market.