Communities – West Africa
In West Africa, our operations are centered on two offshore platforms near Bioko Island, a nearly 800-square-mile island off the northern coast of Equatorial Guinea that is home to more than 300,000 people. Our community outreach efforts have consistently focused on improving the lives of residents through health initiatives and workforce development, and conserving the environment of this volcanic island. In 2016, we supported major progress toward malaria prevention, and focused more attention beyond the island to the Equatorial Guinea mainland. We also provide community outreach in Gabon, where we hold a working interest in an exploration project.
Bioko Island Malaria Control Project
Since 2005, Noble Energy has been a partner in a milestone public-private partnership, the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project. Through an integrated approach of community education, mosquito spraying, distribution of mosquito netting, and new protocols for diagnosis and treatment, the initiative has reduced the prevalence of this deadly disease. Malaria cases on Bioko Island fell by 23 percent in 2016 as compared to 2015.
Beginning in 2015, the partnership also began funding (as part of a wider coalition) promising research on a malaria vaccine. In 2016, after clinical trials on Bioko Island demonstrated the efficacy of the Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite, or PfSPZ, vaccine developed by Sanaria Group, Noble Energy stepped up its role by initiating and sponsoring a first-of-its-kind symposium on malaria immunization. Organized by Sanaria, the event in Washington, D.C., brought together the world’s leading experts to tackle one of the most challenging issues in malaria immunization: the interaction of immunization and pregnancy.
Availability of clean water remains a challenge for residents of Bioko Island and other parts of Equatorial Guinea. In early 2016, we inaugurated a solar-powered water well for the city of Luba on Bioko Island. The project, completed in 2015, provides a steady supply of clean, potable water for more than 2,000 nearby residents in this growing community. Five community faucets are connected to the well fed from a 20,000 liter tank. As part of our production sharing contract with the Government of Equatorial Guinea, we contracted with a local company for the building and delivery of this unique project. A group of local residents have also been trained in both maintenance and safety issues by Noble Energy’s EHSR department and the local contractor to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.
In the island’s urban district of Batoicopo, we began a project to renovate an existing well. The project involved remediating asbestos, installing solar power and placing new pipeline for the mile-long aqueduct that carries water from the river a mile up the mountainside. Several new water points were also installed to provide access to clean, filtered water to the community.
Other Community Health Projects
In 2015 we established a four-year agreement with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to invest more than $6 million to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates in Equatorial Guinea. In 2016, those rates dropped by 12 percent and 30 percent respectively through education, better delivery infrastructure, capacity building and training.
We provided funding in 2016 for a significant initiative to address cervical cancer, one of the leading causes of death and disability among women in Equatorial Guinea. The initiative, conducted by Medical Care Development International in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, aims to screen 6,000 women aged 20-60 years using a simpler “screen and treat” approach that includes immediate treatment of precancerous lesions identified during screening. Community education on the need for screening is an important component of the initiative.
“In many cases, neither cancer nor women’s health issues are a priority for public health organizations working in Africa. Noble Energy has taken the lead on addressing cervical cancer in a way that makes a huge difference for women’s health in Equatorial Guinea.”
– Dr. Carlos Cortés, Medical Care Development International
Employees and contractors in Equatorial Guinea hosted a fundraiser for the Malabo Lampert Orphanage, donating more than $3,700 to purchase diapers, powdered milk, meat, fish and vegetables to give to the orphanage.
Since its opening in October 2015, the renovated Alcaide Children’s Park in Malabo has become a continuing reflection of our commitment to the community. Sponsored by Noble Energy, it spans more than 10,000 square meters and features two basketball courts, a soccer field, volleyball courts, gardens and green spaces. In 2016, employee volunteers spent a day conducting a clean-up and beautification program at the park in celebration of Earth Day. Employees were joined by U.S. Ambassador Julie Furuta-Toyand and several U.S. Embassy staff members, along with students from the University of Equatorial Guinea. Volunteers picked up trash, planted trees, repaired fences and painted. Two local artists dedicated work to the park: Sr. Pocho created a sculpture from recycled materials and local painter Mene led the volunteer effort to paint over graffiti. Mene returned later in the week to paint a colorful mural on the wall.
On another day, members of the EG Olympic Committee gathered with the community to celebrate Olympic Day at the park. It provided the perfect setting for children of all ages to discover new sports, get active and meet top athletes from their country.
Due in large part to the success of Alcaide park, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons has authorized Noble Energy to construct another park in Bata, on the Equatorial Guinea mainland.
In Equatorial Guinea, we have developed and implemented a robust competency assurance development program for Equatoguinean technicians and operators working on offshore facilities. The program begins with three years of initial training in English, math and science, and an introduction to process operations and instrumentation maintenance at a local technical training institute in EG. Following initial training, trainees complete 12 to 18 months of intensive technician and operator training and certification at the internationally recognized Aberdeen Skills and Enterprise Training College (ASET) in the United Kingdom. Upon completion of the program, trainees receive a recognized vocational qualification endorsed by ASET and return to EG and progress their knowledge through on-the-job training at Noble Energy’s offshore facilities until their skills demonstrate their ability to work without supervision as technicians and operators according to OPITO standards. To date, 50 trainees have begun the training program, with 38 others to follow.
Other Educational Initiatives
Noble Energy continued its support of “Dulce Nombre de Maria” (Sweet Name of Mary) Basakato West boy’s boarding school on Bioko Island. In 2016, a newly built pavilion was inaugurated as well as the recently renovated educational center. The project included construction of a new two-story administration building, dormitory and facilities building. The school now can house approximately 100 students.
In Basupu, Equatorial Guinea, Noble Energy helped the community build a unified, modern primary school building. The project, which included demolition of existing structures and the construction of new facilities, began in 2015 and was completed in 2016. The new school will serve more than 150 students with six classrooms, several offices, a largo patio area and a multi-purpose court for the community.
Food security is a significant concern in Equatorial Guinea. Noble Energy donated $72,000 to the non-profit Desarrollo 2000 en Africa for an agricultural development program to be conducted jointly with the Bata agricultural training school (ECA). The project is focused on establishing a farm where local men and women will learn scientific agricultural methods while raising short-cycle and perennial food crops. Once established, the project will then become self-sustaining, generating economic benefits for the community.
We also believe one of the ways we can live up to our vision of “Bettering People’s Lives” is to build local capacity for social good. In 2016, we made small grants to three non-governmental organizations that work on critical issues.
In addition, we continued our partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society to provide training on biodiversity and business skills to communities in protected areas to enhance their fishing and agricultural skills while protecting delicate ecosystems.
We funded renovation of the Rebola Cultural Center to address the resource and educational needs of the growing town of Rebola, just north of Malabo. The center is the community’s primary site for cultural, educational and community events. The renovation focused on upgrades for safe outdoor activities, exterior improvements, plumbing upgrades and exterior and interior painting.
Our employees in Equatorial Guinea participated in the “Malabo 5K Charity Run” sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Malabo Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). The event was part of the DSS Global Race for Charity, which includes 100 charity runs at 100 embassies throughout the globe celebrating the 100th anniversary of the DSS, the arm of the U.S. Department of State charged with protecting U.S. diplomatic missions and diplomats worldwide. All proceeds of the run were presented to La Inmaclada – Batete, a residence and school for orphans and poor children in the town of Batete.