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Integrated social and environmental impact assessment in Iran

“We wish to state our happiness regarding the environmental, social and health impact assessment approach to provide information and engage the local community in the process, an event which has not ever happened before.”

-Tombak Community Leaders, Iran

Integrated social and environmental impact assessment in Iran

Client:Shell International Gas and Power
Sector:Oil and gas
Services client used:Assessment, engagement
Our expertise:Social impact assessment, partnerships, stakeholder engagement, knowledge of international best practice

Project description

Iran has the second largest deposit of natural gas in the world, found primarily in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian government had a keen interest to exploit these vast resources, and in 2006 teamed up with Shell International for the Persian LNG Project. Integral to ensuring the success of such an endeavour, Synergy managed the project’s social impact assessment and stakeholder engagement process, as part of an integrated impact assessment, led by United Kingdom-based environmental consultants Arthur D Little.

The proposed project consisted of an onshore gas receiving and liquefying terminal with associated infrastructure, and the location chosen was a rugged stretch on Iran’s south western coast, home at that time to a number of small fishing villages.

One of the project’s key elements was to ensure that any adverse effects on the local communities would be appropriately mitigated and compensated. Synergy worked with a team of Iranian consultants to engage with local community leaders, government representatives and other groups to help the client understand the needs, concerns and expectations of the community.

As part of the impact assessment, the Synergy team conducted detailed social and health surveys among the local population. The study also undertook a preliminary assessment of the impacts of any potential village resettlement.


Synergy delivered a social impact assessment and the stakeholder engagement elements of the integrated impact assessment. The impact assessment was produced in both Farsi and English.

Key challenges and successes

The project involved several joint venture partners, including a government partner, with varying degrees of experience in community engagement and social impact assessment. Part of Synergy’s role was to ensure that all partners fully understood and supported the process and actions being taken. The impact assessment had to meet both national Iranian and international (IFC) standards, a first for a project of this kind in Iran.