THE annual Esso Stakeholder/Community Liaison Lunch was held last Thursday at the Foster Golf Club, attracting around 70 people, providing an excellent opportunity to receive an update on ExxonMibil’s business activities, which is part of Esso’s joint venture with BHP Billiton.
Mark Duthie Barry Beach Marine Terminal Superintendent welcomed attendees, thanking everyone for coming along, including Acting Mayor Jeanette Harding and Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien.
Lunch attendees also included representatives of South Gippsland Shire Council and many organisations which Esso supports, among them local schools, emergency services and health services.
Mr Duthie said that 2014 is a very special year and a major milestone for Esso and BHP Billiton as it is the 50th anniversary since the signing of the joint venture agreement for Bass Strait between these two companies for their Bass Strait operations.
“It’s interesting that we signed the agreement 50 years ago started ops 40-plus years ago with expectations that we’d be running for about 20 to 30 years still going, indications are that we will still be operating in Bass Strait for many years to come,” he said, adding that it’s an indication of the importance of the engineers and scientists and science people within the organisation which has extended the life of the operations in Bass Strait.
The luncheon was held on the very day which saw the first loadout take place to drilling rig 175 neighbours, marking a new phase of drilling in Bass Strait, which will see further loading of the rig and once in place, support of that operation continuing, meaning an increase to the workload of employees at Barry Beach.
“Safety is of great importance. Our key goal is to keep our safety record. In four years, there has been only one incident of an employee needing medical attention and it is this dedication to safety that has seen Esso win the APPEA Safety Award safety record in 2013 Aust Petrol Producers and Explorers Association,” Mr Duthie said.
“Also very important is being a part of the community and we have a number of programs to demonstrate this commitment, such as the volunteer involvement program. These volunteers apply for grants which are then passed on to local community organisations.
“There is also the Joint Venture Contributions Program between Esso and BHP which also contributes to the donations made to these organisations and services, emergency services, and hospitals,” he said.
“Thank you so much for your support. We don’t take our license to operate for granted and everything we do to operate our business every day is only possible with the support of the communities and the people within them,” said Production Operations Manager Esso Australia Simon Younger.
A question was raised by one attendee as to the extent of EssoMobil’s involvement with CSG. Issues and Government Relations Advisor Andrew Murphy explained that if and when the moratorium on CSG exploration is lifted, then the organisation would certainly look into the possibility of carrying out that exploration, but would do so with community consultation.