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Our goal is to create and maintain inclusive, honest and mutually beneficial relationships with people wherever we operate or plan to operate. Working to better understand and respect the values, needs and interests of the community is crucial as we construct, develop and operate our projects. It’s not only the right thing to do, but also critical to our business success.

In North Dakota’s Bakken region
It’s been referred to as a “boom,” a “revolution,” even a “renaissance.” Whatever the preferred term, there’s no denying that the massive increase in U.S. oil and natural gas production in recent years has significantly benefited North Dakota.

Since 2005, the number of North Dakota jobs directly supported by the oil and natural gas industry has grown by 992 percent and the number of jobs indirectly supported by the industry has grown by more than 300 percent, according to a study by North Dakota State University.

Not surprisingly, many people have relocated to the area, lured by low unemployment rates and high wages.

Carin Kelly and her family moved to Williston, North Dakota, from Arizona after her husband Travis accepted a job working in the oil and natural gas industry.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” she admitted. But the entire family now feels at home in the “growing community with small-town feel,” Kelly said. They often spend time at the new Williston Area Recreation Center. The facility – known as the “ARC” – is the largest city-owned recreation center in the United States. In addition to traditional exercise equipment, sport courts and playing fields, the 234,000-square-foot center boasts a golf simulator, surfing simulator, indoor waterpark with a lazy river, and indoor batting cages.

It’s no stretch to assume that the substantial tax revenue generated by the boom funded construction of the $70 million facility; oil and gas extraction and production taxes paid totaled $3.25 billion in 2014, accounting for 54 percent of all taxes collected.

In New Mexico's San Juan Basin
New Mexico is known for its scenic desert mesas and green chile peppers.

But if you ask someone who works in New Mexico what powers The Land of Enchantment, you’ll likely hear these words: oil and gas.

Energy is big business here.

The numerous oil and gas companies operating in New Mexico are major contributors to the state’s economic and social growth. They provide jobs, boost government revenues, benefit the educational system and strengthen communities with charitable investments. Nearly one-third of the state’s revenue comes from oil and gas production.

An economic engine

For fiscal year 2014, the oil and gas industry provided $2.1 billion in general fund revenues to the state of New Mexico. This money pays teachers and professors at public schools, colleges and universities. In addition, the oil and gas industry is one of the largest sources of capital funds used to build schools.

The benefits of the oil and gas industry ? directly and indirectly ? are apparent to those who see them firsthand, such as Shad James, president and COO of Jaynes Companies, whose construction firm is working on a new addition to the San Juan College School of Energy in Farmington.

“In New Mexico, our public school funding and our state budget in general are highly dependent on the success of the oil and gas industry,” James said. “Being in construction and tracking the public projects that come out, we are hyper-aware of the impact that a good oil and gas market can have on our business.”

Many ancillary jobs and businesses in New Mexico, James said, thrive on the success of the oil and gas industry.

“The biggest impact I have seen is on the funds that come into the state general fund,” he said, “specifically for funding elementary and secondary school construction.”

Empowering people

Randy Pacheco, Dean of the San Juan College School of Energy in Farmington, said the oil and gas industry has given New Mexico residents the opportunity to lead better lives.

“We are providing a workforce for the energy industry,” he said, noting that ConocoPhillips - one of the largest independent producers in the U.S. - is a partner to the School of Energy. “People want these jobs, so they are coming to our school. We started this because there was a huge demand for training and for qualified workers.”

The oil and gas industry is attractive to people who need a career, he said, or those who are looking to change careers, adding that he’s seen people go from minimum-wage jobs to owning a home after training at the college and entering the oil and gas industry.

“It can’t be done without the energy industry,” he said.

Thousands of jobs

Ray Hagerman, CEO of Four Corners Economic Development in Farmington, which is located in San Juan County, said the oil and gas industry provides billions of dollars of economic impact to the area.

“The industry provides thousands of jobs to people,” he said, “and also contributes about a third of the revenue to the state of New Mexico.”

A positive addition to the community

Audra Winters, president and CEO of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, said the oil and gas industry plays an important role in the economic and social health of Farmington and the surrounding area.

“If the oil and gas industry is doing well,” she said, “the county is doing well.”

Workers in the energy industry, she said, spend their money in the town’s restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals and other service-related businesses. In addition, she said they purchase homes and automobiles in the area.

A county in Texas has a story to tell about oil.

Karnes County, Texas, sits atop a geological treasure chest known as the Eagle Ford Shale. And that treasure chest has yielded countless benefits for area residents in the past few years, as evidenced by the growth of local businesses and improved quality of life in the region.

Oil and natural gas shale plays have become an economic engine in many communities across America. The residents of Karnes County, located southeast of San Antonio, understand how the energy industry creates an economic wave that travels far beyond the oil patch.

“The Eagle Ford Shale has been a blessing,” said Karnes County Commissioner Shelby Dupnik. “We were a very poor county, mostly farm and ranch land. People can now do things they’ve never been able to do, such as take better care of their families and upgrade their homes, farms and ranches.”

The tax base in Karnes County has skyrocketed, enabling the county government and its school districts to make important improvements.

A positive impact on the economy

Leslie Wynn, store manager for Alamo Lumber in Kenedy, said he’s watched the community grow from a sleepy little town to one with hustle and bustle.

“When I got here about 12 years ago,” he said, “it was a different place. Much more quiet. But when the Eagle Ford Shale play started up about four years ago, the positive impact on our community was clear. It’s been incredible to see the growth and the change for Kenedy and the Karnes County area."

The Eagle Ford play has attracted new businesses to the area, he said, including restaurants, a larger grocery store, retail, hotels, a housing development and three apartment complexes.

Maggie Hunt, who runs a bed and breakfast in Kenedy, said the Eagle Ford Shale has been a huge benefit to the community.

“Before the Eagle Ford Shale,” she said, “we were one of the poorest counties in Texas.”

The boom has increased the county’s tax revenues, she said, giving the infrastructure a much-need boost, including improvements to the area’s roads.

Maggie’s husband, Truett, said the county went from having a very high unemployment rate to a very low one.

“There are very few people in the county who have not benefited from the oil field boom,” he said.

Click here to learn more about our New Mexico operations and potential regulations.

In Texas' Eagle Ford

A county in Texas has a story to tell about oil.

Karnes County, Texas, sits atop a geological treasure chest known as the Eagle Ford Shale. And that treasure chest has yielded countless benefits for area residents in the past few years, as evidenced by the growth of local businesses and improved quality of life in the region.

Oil and natural gas shale plays have become an economic engine in many communities across America. The residents of Karnes County, located southeast of San Antonio, understand how the energy industry creates an economic wave that travels far beyond the oil patch.

“The Eagle Ford Shale has been a blessing,” said Karnes County Commissioner Shelby Dupnik. “We were a very poor county, mostly farm and ranch land. People can now do things they’ve never been able to do, such as take better care of their families and upgrade their homes, farms and ranches.”

The tax base in Karnes County has skyrocketed, enabling the county government and its school districts to make important improvements.

A positive impact on the economy

Leslie Wynn, store manager for Alamo Lumber in Kenedy, said he’s watched the community grow from a sleepy little town to one with hustle and bustle.

“When I got here about 12 years ago,” he said, “it was a different place. Much more quiet. But when the Eagle Ford Shale play started up about four years ago, the positive impact on our community was clear. It’s been incredible to see the growth and the change for Kenedy and the Karnes County area."

The Eagle Ford play has attracted new businesses to the area, he said, including restaurants, a larger grocery store, retail, hotels, a housing development and three apartment complexes.

A threat to Karnes County and the United States

These small towns in Texas aren’t the only places reaping the benefits of the energy renaissance. Communities across the nation have seen increased jobs, affordable energy and reinvigorated economies spurred by new oil and natural gas development. But a policy created more than 40 years ago has the potential to put the brakes on these gains.

Developed in the 1970s, a ban prohibiting the United States from exporting crude oil could slow the pace of production in places like Karnes County, as the area produces significant volumes of “light” crude oil, which cannot be processed by many United States refineries. Fortunately, many global refineries are equipped to process “light” oil. If the energy renaissance is to continue in Karnes County and across the United States, the first step is to allow domestic crude to trade freely.

For residents of Karnes County, this could dictate their town’s future. Maggie Hunt, who runs a bed and breakfast in Kenedy, said the Eagle Ford Shale has been a huge benefit to the community.

“Before the Eagle Ford Shale,” she said, “we were one of the poorest counties in Texas.”

The boom has increased the county’s tax revenues, she said, giving the infrastructure a much-need boost, including improvements to the area’s roads.

Maggie’s husband, Truett, said the county went from having a very high unemployment rate to a very low one.

“There are very few people in the county who have not benefited from the oil field boom,” he said.

Working with Communities

Developing America’s oil and gas resources benefits communities across the country. Increased tax revenues mean better schools and public services. A better economy drives higher-paying jobs and improved quality of life for families. And the questions that arise from oil and natural and gas development have to be answered. We aim to create and maintain inclusive, honest and mutually beneficial relationships with our stakeholders – those individuals and groups who are impacted by our business or who have the ability to impact our business. These relationships are tangible, valuable assets critical to our business success. We engage with our stakeholders early in the project planning process to learn about and understand their values, needs and interests. We then ensure those values, needs and interests are considered in our internal decision-making and project execution processes.

Supporting Neighbors

We pride ourselves on serving as a responsible citizen in the communities where our employees live and work, contributing to the well-being of these communities through charitable giving, employee volunteerism, sponsorships and civic leadership.

Cooperation in Action

In Alaska our employees contribute more than 7,000 volunteer hours annually to food banks, youth teams, homeless shelters, the arts and programs that enhance the environment. We also provide grant dollars to about 350 various youth, education, civic and social service nonprofit groups in Alaska that our employees support through commitment of their time and personal donations.

In Alaska and Houston, ConocoPhillips also supports Covenant House, which provides programs and services to meet the needs of homeless and runaway youth. Both locations use our contributions to provide food and shelter, GED (high school diplomacy equivalent) classes, assistance with job skills and employment and access to healthcare. ConocoPhillips has supported Covenant House for over 25 years, and our donations have helped thousands of youth transition to independent living.

Fostering Relationships

ConocoPhillips stakeholder engagement activities are an integral part of our sustainable development commitments. Our major businesses have engagement strategies that vary according to the nature of the local community. In dispersed communities, we identify key stakeholders and engage with them face to face to ensure that our activities are understood and that we consider their feedback. In regions where there are opportunities to bring local stakeholders together, we work with multistakeholder groups in a similar way.

This approach is embedded in our SPIRIT Value of Integrity, which states that we are ethical and trustworthy in our relationships with stakeholders. Our Principles for Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Proactively identify and seek out key stakeholders early in the business endeavor.
  • Include these key stakeholders in the design and implementation of the engagement process.
  • Listen in order to understand stakeholders’ interests, concerns and culture.
  • Communicate openly.
  • Seek solutions that create mutually beneficial business and engagement approaches that also build long-term value for both the company and our stakeholders.
  • Follow through on our commitments and stand accountable for the results, both internally and externally.