The Petroleum team had a challenging year in FY2018. In August 2017, BHP announced its intention to actively pursue options to exit our Onshore US (Unconventional Petroleum) assets1. In the same week, Hurricane Harvey brought record-breaking rainfall that stalled in southeast Texas and caused widespread devastation to the community. Our mental health programs and initiatives supported our response and enabled our people to better navigate the significant challenges.
Hurricane Harvey caused devastation in the greater Houston area and across parts of southeast Texas. Communication systems were tested as the widespread flooding closed offices and schools for many weeks.
Connections between our people, teams and offices were critical. Our Houston team formed a Hurricane Harvey Relief group on BHP’s social media and employees across the business joined to offer what help they could. As well as meeting the most visible and urgent impacts, the team also prepared to manage the more enduring effects: stress, psychological trauma and financial hardship. Colleagues called daily to check on one another. Individual counselling and psychological services were organised at our Houston and field offices. Flexible work arrangements allowed employees to be where they needed to be and temporary housing was offered to displaced employees. Steve Pastor, President Petroleum, urged staff to take the time they needed to care for themselves, their loved ones and neighbours, and the community.
Onshore US assets
The announcement that BHP intended to actively pursue options to exit our Onshore US assets was also a potential cause of uncertainty and stress for employees. Employees were encouraged to make use of BHP’s Employee Assistance Program, an external expert service that provides counselling and support.
The team also held peer-led mental health education and training sessions to build the ability to identify and manage stress and support resilience. More than 120 people volunteered to facilitate the peer-led resilience program and more than 400 people in Petroleum participated.
Petroleum demonstrated that our culture is shaped by everyone and underpinned by Our Charter values. While very challenging events, Hurricane Harvey and the Petroleum transition have also unified our workforce, demonstrating a culture of care and a spirit of resilience that has been an inspiration to us all.
1 On 27 July 2018, BHP announced that we had entered into agreements for the sale of our entire interests in our Onshore US assets, subject to the satisfaction of customary regulatory approvals and conditions precedent.