Falkland Islands will this month begin to grapple with the big questions about how oil and gas development will impact on their society and culture. The start of a series of focus groups run as part of the Social Effects Monitoring Programme study, led by Regeneris Consulting, and Falkland Island partners Karen Lee and Carolyn Montgomerie, reports the Penguin News in its latest edition.
Fox Bay was the venue for the first consultation session, with a further series of focus groups planned in Stanley and Camp throughout the remainder of February.
Experts Stuart Younger and Kate Downes from the Regeneris team will fly in to spend two weeks on the Islands from mid February to lead many of the sessions.
Stuart Younger, Associate Director at Regeneris Consulting said: “The study aims to understand what people hold most dear about life on the Falklands, and what people’s hopes and concerns are with respect to oil and gas development.
“We want to discuss issues such as health, crime, and the quality of the environment. We want to explore how people feel about a possible influx of new workers, which may mean more unfamiliar faces in town, but may also generate new social opportunities.
“We want to explore the importance of new job opportunities and how that might alter people’s career aspirations for themselves and for their children.”
Mrs. Lee explained that spaces remain in many of the focus groups, so if readers would like to be part of the conversation, then please get in touch with the local team to get involved.
There will also be a second opportunity to give their views as the team will launch a short online survey, which all residents will be encouraged to complete.
Stephen Nicol, Managing Director of Regeneris Consulting said: “We are keen to hear the voices of a wide range of Falkland Islanders through this study to help us get a really comprehensive picture of how people feel about oil and gas development and the things that they hold most dear about their quality of life.
“We will encourage everybody to complete the short online survey in March and make sure their voice is heard, and for those that can offer the time to attend a focus group, we would be delighted to see you, so please get in touch and sign up.”
The overall aim of the study, which has been commissioned by the Falkland Islands Government and supported by some funding from Premier Oil and Noble Energy, is to provide a detailed understanding of the many different ways that oil and gas developments could affect the daily lives of Falkland Islanders.
It will develop a set of society impact measures that will be monitored annually as oil and gas development proceeds.
The team has also set up a Facebook page where you can find more information – search for the “Falklands Social Impacts of Oil Study” page.