THE socio-economic impact of oil and gas development in the Falkland Islands has been the subject of a Government report.
This is in anticipation of significant economic activity that will be generated by the potential development of the Sea Lion oilfield as well as planned capital projects.
This detailed analysis by the FIG Policy Department of the potential population, employment and socio-economic effects of growth, is described as an update and improvement on the model developed for FIG in 2015, and is said to reflect more closely the structure of the Falkland Islands’ economy.
Policy & Economic Development director Andrew Gaule said the report considered the combined effects of not only potential hydrocarbon development but also of expected infrastructure development over a period of years up to 2035.
He said it analyses a wide range of issues including not only overall population growth but also the different effects on the labour market in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, tourism and government.
The report also examines the potential social impacts of development as well as the effects on public revenues – and puts forward an impacts monitoring programme that was accepted by ExCo and that would be implemented prior to the actual start of any oil development activities.
The report, which was considered by ExCo in October 2019, highlights both the challenges and opportunities of growth. All government departments were asked to consider how their services will be affected, and the resulting report illustrates how the expected population and employment impacts can be managed by the Falkland Islands to ensure appropriate service levels are maintained.
The analysis, which is supported by detailed modelling, concluded that the unique characteristics of our economy, along with government actions planned or already in place, will help to insulate the Falkland Islands from impacts that were seen in other regions.
Economic development portfolio holder MLA Mark Pollard said it was an example of elected Members and Government officials working together to make sound decisions about the future, based on the best evidence to hand.
“In this case we are looking at the impact of hydrocarbons activity, with the understanding that it will occur alongside our ambitious capital programme. But this work is equally valuable in suggesting how we need to respond to changes and growth in our economy from all sources. The report also pays attention to what changes could mean for the people who live here and how they might affect the social and cultural cohesion of our society.”
The full report, Socio-economic Impacts of Oil & Gas Development in the Falkland Islands, Employment and Population Growth - A wider perspective, can be seen at www.fig.gov.fk/assembly/public-papers/executive-council-papers.