Mafia Island is a world-class diving destination with some of the most spectacular reefs in the world. The island is home to an outstanding variety of tropical marine life, sea grass beds and mangroves. Located in Southern Tanzania, this paradise island offers rich fishing grounds to the local community and a haven for tourists looking for tranquility and peace.
From October 2016 to March 2017, BG Tanzania carried out drilling activities in Block 1 and 4. Keeping local key stakeholders informed on drilling activities was critical in ensuring the successful completion of the drilling campaign. This included communicating with impacted stakeholders transparently, understanding their concerns, creating channels for them to speak to BG Tanzania representatives and incorporating their feedback into the roll out of the campaign.
To ensure all stakeholders were effectively engaged throughout the process, the consultation process was divided into two phases.
In addition to devising a comprehensive stakeholder engagement plan, it was important to work closely with the license holder, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation in delivering the plan. A series of engagements were conducted at the regional, local government and grassroots levels. Eight government institutions and 28 villages were informed of the drilling operations. Strategic radio adverts helped ensure communities far and wide were aware of the operations. In addition, in view of the thriving fishing industry at Mafia Island, six Fisheries Liaison Officers were appointed to manage the social impact to the community throughout the drilling period.
Phase two engagement focused on local government authorities, and business owners such as hoteliers and fishing communities. Discussions were fruitful, with constructive feedback shared by the hoteliers. For example, there were concerns that the helicopters flying from the mainland to the drilling rig might be disruptive to tourists. BG Tanzania acknowledged the seriousness of an unintended disruption to hotel operations and devised a solution to reroute helicopters away from tourist areas.
Robust stakeholder engagement process was critical to ensuring good two-way communication and assuring people that drilling activities would not have adverse effects on Mafia Island and its community.