XP Oil Corporation (XP) won the bid for building an oil pipeline for natural gas in the Orinoquia region of Colombia. According to previous experiences, the bottleneck for the construction was the delay in negotiating easements (rights to pass through the land) with the farmers and ranchers. Huge amounts of petroleum had been discovered in the region during the 1990s but the company was new to the region. Other international companies had some years of experience with this type of negotiations, not only for building pipelines but also for prospecting geological studies, purchasing land for oil drilling and building roads and electric lines. XP carefully selected and hired fifteen experienced professionals for a team of land easement negotiations and was facing the challenge of setting negotiation policies and guiding the group. A hired consultant conducted personal interviews with the team members. The case is a summary of his notes and perceptions about the negotiation culture in the region, as well as possible ways to deal with them.
The names are fictitious, but the case and data are real.