Company: Nord Stream AG, Switzerland
Company Description: Nord Stream AG is an international joint venture established for the planning, construction and subsequent operation of a new offshore gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea. Russian OAO Gazprom holds 51% in the joint venture. German companies BASF SE/Wintershall Holding GmbH and E.ON Ruhrgas AG hold 15.5% each, Dutch N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie and French GDF SUEZ S.A. each hold a 9%.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Issues Management
Nomination Title: Issues Management for the Nord Stream Pipeline
Tell the story about this nominated campaign since 1 January 2010 (up to 500 words). Be sure to cover the genesis, development, performance, and results of the campaign.
Nord Stream is a consortium of five Russian and European energy groups established in 2006 in Zug, Switzerland, as a project company to plan, construct and operate an offshore pipeline system to transport gas from Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany, where it joins the European energy grid. Issues management has played a key role in helping to bring the project to fruition within the ambitious schedule set by the consortium’s shareholders: planning to delivery in three years.
Planning, constructing and operating twin 1,224 kilometre gas pipelines through the Baltic Sea represented a major technical and engineering challenge, but external challenges such as political, geo-political, environmental and other issues – as well as issues raised by existing transit countries – all presented a number of potentially insuperable hurdles. In most Baltic Region countries, the EU, the UK and the USA, the starting point was generally one of hostility to the project for geo-political reasons. Furthermore concerns about international energy infrastructure escalated dramatically during 2010 following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
The 20-strong Communications Team in Zug and key Baltic countries focused throughout 2010 on understanding and being able to react quickly to issues and external challenges arising during construction. Communications participated in daily construction meetings and conference calls, interpreting and explaining all developments, arranging dialogue with concerned parties, media relations and public affairs to retain support.
At the core of the Communications effort was a sophisticated issues management and community relations programme, the objectives of which were to:
• be able to understand local fears and expectations
• respond in a culturally sensitive manner
• agree mutually acceptable solutions
• avoid misconceptions and squash rumours
• generate understanding of the project
• assist decision-makers.
Issue identification and management were country-specific and involved active engagement, transparency and open dialogue. For example, following extensive consultations compensatory agreements were concluded with commercial fishermen around the Baltic, special environmental solutions were agreed with German NGOs for where the pipelines approach the coast, and at the request of German and Polish authorities sections of the pipeline were rerouted or buried in part of the shallow German waters.
Before construction could start permits were needed from all five countries through whose waters the pipelines would pass, each with different legal, regulatory and political concerns. All in all 350 meetings, 16 international consultations and 25 public hearings had been arranged throughout the Baltic Region.
The last of the permits was secured in January 2010. Communications also helped the Finance Team to address issues concerning this Russian-led project and to secure financing for the €7.4 billion investment from 26 international commercial banks in March 2010. Construction started in April 2010, and first gas is expected on schedule in late-2011.
As well as responding to the many issues raised by stakeholders and affected communities, the Communications Team also succeeded in creating an awareness of the positive context of the Project: for example the consortium’s absolute concern for safety and the environment, and the importance of the project for Europe’s future energy security and CO2 commitments.
List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, video clips, work samples, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, [http://www.youraddress.com]:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,706704,00.html : Spiegel Online International Edition, 16 July 2010,” A Treasure Trove in the Baltic Sea”
discover-1000-year-old-wrecks.html : The Telegraph, 9 March 2010, Workers on Baltic Sea pipeline discover 1,000-year-old wrecks
http://www.nord-stream.com/en/environment/munitions-survey0.html : Website with focus on the issue of munitions
http://www.nord-stream.com/en.html?no_cache=1 : Project website in ten languages
https://e-facts.nord-stream.com/app/topic/index.cfm?fuseaction=openTopic&lang=EN&coid=135 :e-Magazine and e-Newsletter with background stories, interviews and videos
http://www.nord-stream.com/en/press0/brochures.html : Brochures and pamphlets on various specific project topics in up to five languages
http://www.nord-stream.com/en/press0/press-releases.html : Press releases and statements on the project development
Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader(s) of the team that carried out this nominated communications program:
Ulrich Lissek joined Nord Stream AG in April 2009 as Communications Director, where he heads the 20-strong Communications Team overseeing all external and internal communications activities including Media Relations, Public Affairs, Corporate Publishing, Events, Internal Communications and Sponsorship. He is based at the project consortium’s head office in Zug, Switzerland. He is a member of Nord Stream’s Board of Directors. A journalist by profession, he worked on major German newspapers before joining Deutsche Telekom in 1993, where he headed the Communications Department from 2003 to 2006. He subsequently worked for the retail and tourism company Rewe Group.