Project guidelines and program approvals provide standard techniques to analyze and develop viable projects and communicate value and risks effectively. They are intended to work in concert with specific functional and management processes to deliver projects that consistently outperform industry average.
The Capital Project Management System applies to all Projects and Supply Chain aspects throughout the phases of any project and is a foundational element of how we execute projects that are safe, transparent, predictable and competitive. Within the system there is a guideline for using the Sustainable Development Scorecard and there are requirements for risk assessments for climate change, water, and biodiversity, as well as the social performance plans. for projects that require approval by our board of directors. Such projects are not funded until these have been completed.
Our teams use a simple but thorough method of assessing whether potential risks and uncertainties have been fully addressed and resolved via the Sustainable Development Scorecard. (PDF) All project teams are encouraged to use the scorecard., We are now considering an updated Sustainable Development Scorecard desktop risk assessment tool for broader use.
A new-venture project team must ensure that the identified risks and constraints are understood, documented and addressed in order for the project to obtain approval.
Before starting a venture in a new country, we take several steps to assess the potential sustainability and business risks. Once an opportunity is identified and a request for approval is drafted, a new-country-entry risk report is prepared. A preliminary due-diligence assessment is conducted to identify significant risks, including social and environmental concerns, and define how they will be managed.
The new country entry request is then reviewed by the business and function leadership and the CEO. In some cases, such as areas at high risk of political instability, consultation with the board of directors would take place. If we are entering into a joint venture, we use these assessments during negotiations with potential co-venturers to outline the risks identified, clearly state our expectations on environmental and social-issue performance, and discuss how the venture will manage these concerns.
The majority of ConocoPhillips’ oil and natural gas reserves and production are within Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations.
Some of the world’s most resource-rich areas, however, are in countries that pose risks associated with political instability, inadequate rule of law or corruption. Consequently, ConocoPhillips has adopted comprehensive enterprise risk management tools to evaluate and manage these types of risks. Before entering a new country – or for other new developments, when warranted by the geopolitical environment – the company assesses the political risk of a potential investment.
The company has developed internal guidelines to help employees comply with policies related to business activities in sensitive countries, and applicable government regulations in areas subject to U.S. or international sanctions.
We also perform due diligence on acquisitions or divestments of businesses or properties, new business ventures, incorporated and unincorporated joint-venture agreements, and initiations and terminations of property leases or subleases. This process is designed to ensure that past, present and potential HSE liabilities and any social issues are clearly identified, understood and documented, with our sustainable development positions addressed prior to major business transactions. This due-diligence standard applies to ConocoPhillips and its global subsidiaries, and we strive to influence all affiliated companies and joint ventures to conduct due diligence prior to undertaking binding business transactions.
Following completion of the due-diligence assessment, a corporate HSE non-objection request that also addresses social issues is required for all major business transactions. The non-objection letter provides documentation that past, present and potential HSE liabilities have been adequately identified and assessed for the particular transaction, and that the liability risks are or can be satisfactorily mitigated. See Integrating Sustainability for more information.