19 Feb, 2019

Managing Non-Technical Risks in the Middle East

I just returned from my Distinguished Lecturer tour for the Society of Petroleum Engineers to the Middle East, and it was striking how concerned my audiences were with non-technical risks. During discussions, it was apparent how prevalent sustainable development is on their agenda, and how many non-technical risks are similar to those elsewhere in the world. The overarching question I received from national oil companies, government agencies and international oil companies was: “How can we start to work on non-technical risks in a practical and effective manner within our organizations?”

People often ask me if the contents of the course Managing Non-Technical Risks are equally applicable to all regions of the world. Isn´t the Middle East very different from, say, Canada or Malaysia?

The answer is both yes and no. For example, competition for access to fresh water is a top non-technical risk in the Middle East but is by no means unique to this region. Additional risks in the Middle East include youth employment, welfare and presence of immigrant workers, access to land and ocean, environmental impacts and sharing of benefits with local communities.

Differences between regions also relate to the way people express the concerns they have, legal means at their disposal, access to their governments and the demands they will put forward in negotiations.

A commonality between all regions in the world is that non-technical risks are related to people and their fears and concerns. These typically include factors such as health and safety, job opportunities, the environment and their ability to continue to farm and fish, and their fair share in oil and gas revenues. These are universal human concerns which mean the ways of engagement, dialogue and various approaches to finding solutions are universal as well.

In PetroSkills' MNTR training, we share global and local examples, practical tools and methods of engagement that can be put to immediate use in all organizations and in all regions of the world. If you are interested, I recommend enrolling in the upcoming session in Dubai beginning April 14, 2019.

Written by: Christiaan Luca

Christiaan Luca and Katinka van Cranenburgh, the MNTR instructors, have written several articles and case studies on their experiences with non-technical risks around the world. Some of their complimentary resources have been made available to read below. 

The Role of the Private Sector in Fostering International Development 

Written by Katinka van Cranenburgh


Accountability Through Active Citizenship: Improving Petroleum Governance in Ghana, Mozambique & Tanzania 

Written by Katinka van Cranenburgh


Additional resources available for purchase:

Regain Trust by Aligning With Society's Needs

Written by Christiaan Luca

A Solid Response to External Stakeholders Requires a Solid Internal Organisation 

Written by Christiaan Luca