The involvement of the public in gas transmission pipeline investment projects becomes of increasing importance for their success. While the implementation of new media such as Websites, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter enables the project team to display and transfer vital project information, it also enables other influencers and project opponents to address a large number of people to place their key messages and to mobilize them according to their intentions. Frequently, the perception of a project - positive or negative - is virtually at the tip of their fingers.
Therefore, the need for an active, transparent and holistic information policy becomes vital for generating the necessary trust and for improving the constructive involvement of those affected by the project. The benefits of taking an active approach at communication becomes particularly evident at the permit granting stage, however active communication is helpful at all stages such as planning, construction and operation.
In this presentation, the experiences within the ZEELINK gas transmission pipeline project in the north-western part of Germany are discussed. With a length of app. 216 km, the pipeline route passes through both densely populated urban areas as well as rural environments. The adopted communication approach is shown and conclusions are drawn with respect to the lessons learned. The following aspects are highlighted:
- The associated stakeholders such as authorities, interest groups, project opponents, political activists and politicians need to be treated in different ways according to their role and intention.
- The format of local “dialogue information markets” has proved to be a valuable instrument in successful project communication.
- The influence of successful communication on the permit granting procedure should not be underestimated.
- Press releases, activists, influencers, opponents: Dealing with negative publications remains a challenge for the project team.
In summary, the presentation aims at highlighting means of taking a positive influence on the perception of a project such as ways of overcoming possible lacks of communication or misinformation of the public by third parties.