WPC: Leaving a Legacy
2008: Preparing the Legacy, Madrid
2005: Social Responsibility in South Africa
2002: A Congress with a Conscience, Rio
2000: WPC Millennium Scholarship Programme, Canada
1997: Putting Youth in the Picture, China
1994: Norwegian Petroleum Museum
When hosting the triennial World Petroleum Congress, a world class congress providing first class organization and first class content are not the only goals on the World Petroleum Councils list of objectives. The intention of organizing the World Petroleum Congress is not only to promote a sustainable energy future but to leave a positive affect on the local community of the host country and a long lasting legacy for its environment.
The host country for a World Petroleum Congress gets selected by the WPC Council in a secret electronic ballot vote four years prior to the scheduled event. Each member country receives one vote and can cast it for one of the nominated candidate countries after their year-long campaign. In 2007 the Council will select the host for the 20th World Petroleum Congress in 2011 at their annual meeting. The official handover to the new host will take place at the end of the 19th World Petroleum Congress in Madrid in July 2008. The organization and logistics for the next Congress then become the responsibility of the Host, with the World Petroleum Council retaining the final approval and the responsibility for the programme content. The WPC carries out its responsibilities via the permanent secretariat and its working committees. One of the principles of organizing the World Petroleum Congress is not only to organize a world class event and then move on to the next venue, but to enrich the local host community and to leave an enduring legacy. The surplus of each event is designed to go towards funding the seeds of a country legacy project proposed by the Host and agreed with the WPC and the Council.
The Host for the next World Petroleum Congress used the proceeds of the 19th WPC to form the long term legacy benefiting a wide range of foundations and charitable projects. The selected theme: 'A World in Transition: Delivering Energy for Sustainable Growth' provided the Spanish Committee with an excellent framework to plan the legacy for the Congress and the attached World Petroleum Exhibition. Key features were the focus on youth and social responsibility, while the 2008 World Expo in neighbouring Zaragoza provided a great synergy with its focus on water and sustainable development, which are essential issues within the petroleum industry as well. The organisers also made the 2008 event the first ever carbon neutral World Petroleum Congress ensuring that the carbon footprint that each of the delegates left behind when attending the event was zero as a way of neutralising its effect for the coming generations.
The 18th World Petroleum Congress also chose a sustainability focus for the first ever WPC to be held in Africa: "Shaping the Energy Future: Partners in Sustainable Solutions".
A social responsibility programme included plenaries and keynote presentations in the programme, as well as a special Social Responsibility Seminar alongside the Technical Programme of the Congress, which brought together industry, government and NGOs, to consider practical solutions and examples of successful cooperation.
Taking its cue from many of the key challenges faced in Africa and other emerging regions, the Social Responsibility Arena from Rio also featured in Johannesburg highlighting long-term actions on environmental awareness, poverty alleviation and improving the lives of local communities, education and skills development, as well as health issues, particularly the prevention and management of HIV and malaria.
The Congress set up a unique Volunteers programme for previously disadvantaged young people in Johannesburg. 130 unemployed youngsters benefited from the special skills development and training they were given in preparation for working at a major international event. The organizers paid for their expenses and set them up with bank accounts, a first for many of the young men and women who had never owned one before. Their experience in customer care and event organization gained during the Congress resulted in many of the youths managing to finally find employment after the event.
Young people were also involved in supporting the official Congress Programme, with 75 students from South Africa and around the globe actively participating in the WPC Student Programme and being given complimentary participation at the Congress in exchange for their assistance with the chairs and speakers of the Congress. Armed with their CV's in their hands, the students of petroleum related studies received access to key decision makers and leaders of their industry. The South African committee made the inclusion of young professionals and students one of its main priorities and a further 100 students from South African universities were given sponsored places at the Congress to ensure that young people about to enter the petroleum industry got as much exposure to the industry's top professionals who were gathered there as possible.
"Our commitment to the young emerging professionals goes beyond this; we want to leave behind a legacy we can be proud of once the congress is over. To this end, we are setting up a bursary with a portion of the funds raised from the congress," announced Sej Motau, the Chair of the South African Organising Committee, shortly before the Congress. Education was therefore made the focus of the 18th World Petroleum Congress Legacy Trust, set up by the South African National Committee with US $1m to provide financial assistance to needy young South Africans per year who wish to pursue a qualification in petroleum studies.
The World Petroleum Congress in 2000 was the first to integrate the concept of sustainability throughout its event, instead of relegating it to a side position. The theme of the 17th Congress made that very clear: 'The Petroleum Industry: Excellence and Responsibility in Serving Society'. The Organising Committee for Rio came up with a whole range of projects and activities to serve society with the event itself, leaving a legacy that would not cost the earth and enriching the experience of participants as well as the local community. NGOs joined the high-level speakers on the platform of the largest oil and gas congress worldwide and provided a balanced view of the petroleum industry's effect and involvement in society and the environment, with environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Conservation International and the World Wildlife Fund invited to join the meetings.
The 17th WPC dedicated a special area to presenting social and environmental action programs and projects. The Social Responsibility Arena, an unprecedented event for the triennial congress, brought together some 30 governmental, nongovernmental and business organizations, including the Brazilian Nature Conservation Foundation, which supports public and private initiatives for conservation through environmental education, the International Conservation Institute of Brazil, which aims to protect biodiversity and ecosystems in Brazil and in 30 other countries, and the Pro-Natura Institute which encourages social and technological innovations for sustainable development through community and environment projects. The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) was another participant, as well as The Blue Wave Movement Foundation, known in Portuguese as OndAzul. Created in 1990 by the composer Gilberto Gil, the foundation manages more than 15 social and environmental projects with the main focus on the defence of water resources and associated ecosystems.
The Congress also took responsibility for the waste it generated. Event organizers estimated that, together, the congress and the accompanying Rio Oil & Gas Expo 2002 generated a total of 16 metric tons of recyclable waste - plastic, aluminum, paper and glass. Official suppliers of the congress materials were given strict environmental guidelines resulting in the use of recycled paper note pads and a vegetal leather kit, which is made of natural materials from Brazilian rubber trees. Recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PBT materials were used to make furniture for the event as well as the uniform t-shirts carried by the staff and volunteers of the Congress. Recycling also extended to the 32,000m2 exhibition, the largest ever in South America, where the new carpets and new stands built specifically for the 16th WPC were recycled after the event. All the proceeds of the various recycling activities were then passed on to a residents' co-operative with 6,000 inhabitants located in the port area of Rio de Janeiro.
But the sustainability efforts did not stop there and an army of 250 volunteers collected 36 tons of garbage in 10 days in a special community effort to clean up the Corcovado area before the Congress, donating all proceeds to the garbage collectors, some of the poorest inhabitants of Rio. The Finlândia Public School also received a new lick of paint from the volunteers of the Congress.
With 10,000 professionals involved in the organization of the 17th World Petroleum Congress, and about R$100 million (U$35 million) in resources revenue received by the city, the Congress managed to leave a lasting impact on Rio de Janeiro's communities and business tourism sector.
The surplus funds for the Congress of US$2m were used to set up the WPC Educational Fund in Brazil, which was further increased in 2005 with tax initiatives added by the Brazilian government.
Chemical engineering student Christian Hamuli fled the Democratic Republic of Congo after his teenaged brother was murdered and rebels attacked his university.
Damon Ross, a fourth-year petroleum engineering student at the University of Alberta, spent part of last summer living in a truck by a creek.
What do these two students have in common? Both are among the 200 students from across Canada receiving scholarships awards worth $3,000 each year from the legacy created after Calgary hosted the 16th World Petroleum Congress in 2000. The World Petroleum Congress is long over, but the June 2000 event is still helping to create a legacy beyond the week long meetings and high-profile presentations.
Profits of $4.2 million from the WPC were used to endow a fund that gives scholarships to post-secondary students in several petroleum-related fields. Canada's Government Millennium Scholarship Foundation matched the amount dollar for dollar which created an endowment from the capital and the interest that provides approximately 200 scholarships annually, until 2009. By that time, approximately 1600 WPC millennium scholars will have received awards to assist them in completing their studies. These scholarships are designed as bursary programmes, and as such do not increase the students' debts as they do not need to be repaid.
Calgary is known for its vital volunteer spirit and its citizens generate a special enthusiasm to support major events. It was no surprise then that 900 of them offered freely of their time and provided valuable assistance to the Host organizers of the Congress. As well as helping facilitate the programme and special events, they helped with organising registrations, escorting people to sites, working with police and security agents, and providing interpretation services in 20 languages. In the end, volunteering pays back, as not only the award students benefited long term from the 16th World Petroleum Congress, but also more than seventy of the volunteers who were all offered employment within Canada's oil and gas industry as a result of their activities during the Congress.
The 15th World Petroleum Congress in Beijing adopted the issue of young people as a key aspect of its theme "Technology and Globalization – Leading the Petroleum Industry into the 21st Century". The Congress acknowledged that young people will be the main force to drive future technological development and globalization. To support their education and future involvement in the petroleum industry, the Chinese National Committee donated all the computer and video equipment worth US$215,700 used for the Congress, to its Petroleum University after the close of the15th WPC.
The Chinese organizers then took the issue of young people one step further and launched the 1st WPC Youth Forum in Beijing in 2004. The Youth Forum attracted 541 young delegates from 19 countries around the world with its focus on "Youth and Innovation – the Future of Petroleum Industry". The Forum played an active role in implementing the WPC development strategy to attract more young people to the WPC activities and the petroleum industry. The forum was fully financed by China's state-owned companies – CNPC, SINOPEC, CNOOC and SINOCHEM, who were sponsoring many of the local and foreign students in order to enable them to attend the meeting and present papers on a wide variety of industry subjects. The presenters of the best papers at China's WPC Youth Forum were honoured with a special session at the 18th WPC in South Africa.
The concept of leaving a legacy in the Host country started in 1994 with the 14th World Petroleum Congress in Stavanger. After the 1994 WPC in Norway the surplus funds of the Congress were put towards the creation and building of a state of the art Petroleum Museum in Stavanger. The Norwegian Petroleum Museum was opened by HM King Harald on 20 May 1999 and its unusual architecture has made it a new and exciting landmark in the port of Stavanger.
With a radical, modern architecture, built partly on land, partly in the sea from materials ranging from steel and grating to Norwegian granite, the Norwegian Petroleum Museum is the most ambitious museum ever built in Norway. With its many interactive, hands-on exhibits, it is intended to educate all those who would like to learn more about oil and gas and find out about the origins and developments in the Norwegian petroleum industry. It also features the Petroscope, the Museum's 'well of knowledge'. This is a place where everyone, but particularly school children and young people, can delve deeper into the themes and subjects covered by the museum's exhibitions. A full range of sources is available - from books and journals to video films, data bases and multimedia programmes. Since its inception it has already received over half a million visitors, increasing their knowledge of the exploration, production and use of oil and gas.