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Around the country, citizens are being bombarded with false or misleading information about the oil and gas industry through popular culture.
In movies like The Promised Land and Gasland, and even the occasional TV episode, these natural resources are treated as something dirty and harmful, although there is little in the way of actual science to back up these claims. In fact, studies regularly prove that there is no danger at all of contamination. There are those, though, who profit from the fear, and gin up protests to keep people in the dark with regards to energy.
Just last week, for example, we were treated to news footage of the People’s Climate March, in which celebrities and everyday activists from across America traveled to New York City (as well as to sister events around the world) to demand climate action. In New York alone, nearly 400,000 people joined the march to demand action on climate change. ‘
Looking at the pictures from that day, one wonders if these participants realized that it was vehicles powered by fossil fuels which got people to the event from all over the world, but there they were, with their ill-informed signs. Under this barrage of messaging from all sides, the result is that the average American is grossly misinformed on the subject of oil and gas.
One oil and natural gas company decided that it was time to start fighting back against this propaganda, taking their message to those who are most influential within local communities: the people themselves.
To this end, Anadarko Petroleum, one of the largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the world, decided that they would take on the task of training their employees to be new ambassadors for the industry. They created a mobile app which educates and informs employees, empowering them to speak about the issues that affect their friends and neighbors right where they live.
Anadarko’s Rockies Public Affairs Team worked with others within the industry to create this mobile app which, as they said, is designed to “arm…employees with standardized industry statistics, facts and news to use as a tool for engaging in conversations about hydraulic fracturing and the importance of responsible energy development with employee’s friends, neighbors, fellow little league parents and more.”
It also encourages the user to vote and attend town hall meetings, and reminds them of other special events through push notifications. Employees utilizing the app will be present and prepared to combat misinformation on the energy industry as it comes up in the community.
The completed app, which is just one piece of the Anadarko Ambassador Program, was launched on March 10, 2014. Since then, it has been downloaded by employees 734 times for iPhone and Android users.
Robin Olsen, who works in external relations with Anadarko, said “The Anadarko App is one of many tools and resources we’ve provided for our employees to ensure they have the most current and accurate information, enabling them to be reliable and credible ambassadors for our industry. By empowering our employees, listening and sharing information with stakeholders, we are changing the conversation about responsible oil and natural gas development.”
Employees appreciate the availability of accurate information, with the app receiving employee feedback such as “Although I find the information sharing from your Anadarko App truly remarkable, the true story, the win, is of Anadarko’s concern for our families and community. Thank you for providing swords to the knights who battle with the dragons of misunderstandings, misperceptions, and general untruths.”
Customized for Colorado
In the case of CRED, however, the app is focused on one particular state: Colorado. Unlike the Anadarko app, CRED has made their app to be public to appeal to “any general user,” said Jon Haubert, Director of Communications with CRED, “who has no familiarity with oil and gas industry or fracking at all.” Thus far, the app has been downloaded 571 times.
Haubert went on to say:
CRED’s goal is to ensure every Coloradan has the facts about fracking. This new, free mobile app provides Coloradans easy access to the truth, science and technology behind fracking and its importance to our state, our economy and our energy independence…Whether at a social event, talking casually with friends, neighbors, or acquaintances at the grocery store, this app enables users to quickly fact check what they’re hearing, and share information about the thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in tax revenue, lower energy costs, and the many other benefits of safe and responsible oil and natural gas development.
However, like the Anadarko app, “The core purpose is just to help people get information.” For anyone who is interested in the truth about oil and natural gas, that can only be a good thing.
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