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Dr Irina Heim presents new research on policy in oil and gas regions at conference

Irina Heim Photo November 2019 mtime20191128191412

The publication is co-authored by Professor Yelena Kalyuzhnova, the Director of the CEAS, and Dr Anne Crowley-Vigneau, a member of faculty with MGIMO University in Russia, a CEAS member and former Henley Business School PhD student. It was published in the Regional Studies journal on the 16 May 2022, having previously been presented at the prestigious Academy of International Business Meeting 2021.

By developing a triple bottom line approach to regional policies formulation in oil and gas producing regions, the publication addresses the issues of associated gas flaring. It is timely research that is relevant for the policymakers and businesses involved in resource-extractive activities trying to respond to sustainable development goals agenda.

Resource-rich countries are often perceived as wealthy due to high economic rents, especially those gained during periods of high oil and gas prices. However, the resource revenues are mainly accumulated by certain players, such as multinational and state-owned companies involved in the oil and gas extraction or central governments. The specific concentration of wealth creates challenges of oil and gas wealth redistribution between the wider society.

Dr Heim explores how resource-rich economies perform more poorly in terms of economic growth and socio-economic development than those countries that lack comparable volumes of natural resources. Additionally, oil extraction activities are among the main sources of pollution and gas flaring is arguably the most challenging environmental problem the world is facing today.

Since the oil and gas industry is organised around oil and gas rich regions, regional policies can play a crucial role in adapting and meeting sustainable aims around social, economic and environmental development. However, regional governments in oil and gas regions focus mainly on addressing the socio-economic problems, with policies aimed at oil rent redistribution towards local citizens and enterprises. Instead, national governments are the ones who head up global agreements, setting environmental policies and targets. This leads to a conflict between environmental and socio-economic aims at the regional and national levels.

The published research analyses socio-economic and environmental policies in three major Russian oil and gas regions, since Russia flares the most associated petroleum gas worldwide. Dr Heim highlights three main approaches to socio-economic policy formulation in oil and gas regions: paternalist, formalised and flexible. The last of these approaches is the best option for balancing environmental and socio-economic trade-offs at regional and national policy levels.

International companies can also help promote gas flaring technologies. Dr Heim proposes that multinational corporations function as intermediaries between the international, national and regional layers of policy, transforming three dimensions of triple bottom line policy into performance outcomes.

The publication is available to read online.

Dr Irina Heim

Lecturer in Apprenticeship Programmes and the Army Higher Education Pathway
Published 1 July 2022
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