SLR launches tool for managing social risk for shale gas projects

SLR Consulting, has launched a new process and management tool to help project and programme managers secure and retain social acceptance, or a Social Licence to Operate (SLTO), for shale gas projects. The tool, named MI-SLTO (pronounced Mistletoe, trademark pending), uses a data driven, evidence-based and progressive approach to stakeholder and community engagement – helping project managers and operators prepare a successful SLTO programme. An SLTO exists when a project has on-going approval from stakeholders and from within the local community, leading to enduring broad social acceptance. MI-SLTO provides structure to previously unstructured assessment and introduces community engagement, communication and information transparency to a wide array of shale gas specific community concerns.

Developed with support from Professor Sarah O’Hara at Nottingham University, MI-SLTO builds on legal and regulatory best practice and seeks an ongoing improvement programme on a wide range of specific and critical issues. Projects are measured across five key SLTO ‘themes’:

  • Social and Political
  • Economic
  • Community impact
  • Security and Safety
  • Environment and Health

Every theme has 10-20 key issues, each reflecting a specific and critical area of community concern, ranging from the routing of trucks to the abstraction of water and from seismicity to waste disposal. The end result is a consolidated SLTO ‘footprint’ indicating overall project SLTO performance and highlighting areas for improvement. SLR Project Director for SLTO, Nicki Bourne, said: “Securing community acceptance for the exploration, development and production of a local shale resource, should go hand-in-hand with the work streams relating to planning, permitting and overall project management. MI-SLTO now offers operators a structured, consolidated and collaborative approach to addressing issues that communities are concerned about. “By adopting this approach, projects will be better placed to gain and retain a SLTO. MI-SLTO also ensures that the difficult questions get resolved, SLTO is integrated into project objectives and accountability for SLTO is established throughout the project lifecycle.” This article is also available via:

For further information please see Oil & Gas or contact: Nick O'Neill

MI-SLTO graphic