As the demand for energy grows, so does the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants. But before these facilities break ground, it’s imperative that operators engage local stakeholders.

Developing community support through outreach and education early in the planning process is essential to a more successful LNG project. By encouraging direct communication with stakeholders and community leaders about upcoming local LNG projects, operators can build trust and have a more seamless construction experience with fewer unexcepted delays.

Navigating Virtual Stakeholder Engagement

In the past, it was typical for information around new LNG projects to be communicated to stakeholders at in-person engagements like town hall meetings and door-to-door visits in neighborhoods. But today, a lot has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While LNG projects still must be built in person, the way LNG operators engage with the community is changing. It’s more important than ever to keep stakeholders in the know.

Unique, community-centric solutions can be created to continue these important dialogs, and numerous communication pathways are available that use immersive, online educational environments. Zoom, FaceTime and other video platforms have become communication staples. Meetings are streamed online with opportunities for stakeholders and community members to ask questions; analytics show that project website visits are heavily increasing; and use of visualization content like videos and 3D renderings is skyrocketing.

Finding Alternative Solutions

While online communication seems like the obvious choice during this time, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable turning to the web for information. Whether those challenges are due to a stakeholder’s discomfort with technology, poor internet speeds or lack of access, LNG operators should consider a diverse suite of communication pathways to involve all stakeholders. This could be phone calls, printed mailers, or even a safe, socially distanced meeting.

As LNG teams navigate stakeholder engagement during the pandemic, various communication methods and benchmarked protocols have emerged. These new engagement pathways create even more opportunities for LNG project operators to have better communication and trust with stakeholders and a more seamless construction experience, now and in the future.

 

Taking a proactive approach to stakeholder engagement helps LNG project managers identify and address stakeholder concerns. Learn more about the importance of early communication with community members and stakeholders.

Read the White Paper

by
Chris Deffenbaugh is a senior public involvement specialist at Burns & McDonnell, where he specializes stakeholder management solutions in public involvement, crisis communication, utility project development, integrated rate and resource planning, and communicating public and private policy options.