Environmental, social and health impact assessment in Qatar
Shell Global Solutions and Qatar Petroleum proposed building a petrochemical plant in Ras Laffan Industrial City, an industrial hub located 80 km north of Qatar’s capital city, Doha. The plant was designed to convert ethane and propane into a variety of chemicals that would be shipped worldwide and used to produce everyday products including plastics, solvents, cosmetics and detergents. The development required an environmental, social and health impact assessment (ESHIA) to meet the required Qatari and International Finance Corporation standards. RSK, which is known for its commitment to promoting health and safety, and is experienced in providing these services for Shell on other projects, was contracted to conduct the work.
A team of RSK experts travelled to Qatar and, together with local consultants, carried out several baseline field surveys in and around the site to collect air quality monitoring data, performed an ecological flora and fauna survey, and attended several stakeholder consultation meetings. These meetings gathered baseline information, thereby helping the developers to establish a better understanding of the impacts of the project on local communities and enabling recommendations from the stakeholders to be incorporated into the ESHIA. Desk-based studies looked at climate, soil, groundwater, noise, health and archaeology. A distilled nontechnical summary presented all the environmental aspects of the project and summarised the baseline conditions and the results of the impact assessment process for public disclosure and the consultation phase of the ESHIA.
The Institute of Occupational Medicine, an independent occupational and environmental health research institute that aims to promote healthier workplaces, provided specialist technical support for the health impact assessment, and Synergy Global Consulting Ltd, a consultancy that specialises in working with businesses in challenging environments to create positive social outcomes, provided support and advice for stakeholder engagement and social baseline studies.
Shell presented the results and RSK’s recommended mitigation measures to the Qatari regulator, which approved the ESHIA.