There is a saying in the energy business: "It's all about the rocks." In other words, our business is driven by geology — we go to where the resources lie. And depending on where those resources reside in the world, the complexity of the geology can vary greatly. Navigating the geology of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico is more challenging than dealing with the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand. As a result, we must adapt to differing geologies, using technology, data and ingenuity to extract oil and natural gas safely, economically and responsibly.
But mastering the earth's geologic formations is not enough to ensure business success. Our success is equally dependent upon our ability to manage above ground risks — the social geology. And just as the geology below the ground differs from location to location, the social geology differs, too. Managing the above-ground risks in Nigeria's Niger Delta is more complex than tackling the risks we see in California's San Joaquin Valley. And the stakes couldn't be higher. If we don't get the social geology right, we won't gain access to the geology below the ground — no matter how promising it might be.