Canadian Market Requires Comprehensive Oil & Gas Records Management

Although hundreds of thousands of kilometers of pipeline already transverse Canada, there are a large number of additional projects being planned for the country. Currently, there are pipelines being proposed to take crude from the oil sands region of the fossil fuel rich province of Alberta to British Columbia on the Pacific Coast. In the northeast, fracking operations for natural gas are expanding with the fuel produced being piped to the north coast for liquefaction. These pipeline projects naturally focus the attention of pipeline operators in Canada on the critical need for comprehensive oil and gas records management.

According to Natural Resources Canada, "There is an estimated 825,000 kilometers of transmission, gathering and distribution lines in Canada, with most provinces having significant pipeline infrastructure. This includes 105,000 kilometers of large diameter transmission lines. Of this amount approximately 71,000 kilometers are federally-regulated pipelines, which are primarily transmission lines."

Canada is already the largest oil exporter to the United States, with much of it going by pipeline. At present, 1.9 million barrels are exported across the border daily. That is planned to increase to 5 million barrels by 2030. The Keystone Pipeline, running more than 3400 kilometers across the heart of both Canada and the United States, from Alberta to facilities on the Gulf of Mexico, is projected to carry much of that crude.

With the recent fuel-carrying train accidents in Canada, there is increasing interest in pipeline integrity, especially with the expected increase in the amount of crude being moved. These recent railroad tragedies include:

  • The disaster at Lac Mégantic, Quebec, in which 47 people died.
  • Two oil train derailments in the past three months in Calgary, the hub of the Canadian energy industry.
  • A derailment of 17 wagons in Landis, Saskatchewan, which forced authorities to evacuate children from a nearby primary school.

Even with the demonstrated train hazards, pipelines face increasing opposition in Canada. Already pipelines run under a thick layer of regulation at every level, particularly in Alberta, coming under the jurisdiction of both federal and provincial regulators. In Alberta, the levels of government have overlapping or shared control over pipelines, which include the Alberta Department of Energy, the Energy Resource Conservation Board, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, and the Alberta Utilities Commission.

As a point reference here to remember, there were about 4,000 possible violations from 1996 to 2012 of environmental regulations in Alberta. Failure to institute and maintain a comprehensive oil & gas record management regime can cost the pipeline entity tremendously, with so many regulations and agencies involved, and can result in higher operational expenses, significant penalties, damage to the corporate image, and burdensome legal costs from a wide array of plaintiffs. Most costly of all, there could even be a crippling blow to the brand of a business. For the savvy pipeline operator, pipeline document management can be a tremendous competitive advantage.

Overall, being hampered by the lack of proper documentations should always be avoided by any business, especially those in the oil and natural gas industry. Access to data for each new well, along with needed access to existing reservoirs data is critical. It is also a tremendous competitive advantage, both in reducing operational expenses and increasing revenues. Those pipeline operators with effective and efficient record stewardship that reduces the costs of testing and compliance, the impact shows up favorably on the bottom line.

Best pipeline integrity practices to comply with regulations, out perform your competitors, and protect your brands reputation includes:

  • Locate the necessary documentation, which can be a challenge.
  • Consolidate records so control be established and maintained.
  • Prioritize and classify the records for facile access.
  • Identify what information may be missing.
  • Wrap records management program around these records to maximize the benefits.
  • Image legacy paper records so that the information they contain can be rapidly and easily accessed when needed and the originals can be securely stored and protected at all times.
  • Apply a common indexing system to the secured physical records and the electronic copies enduring and immutable.

Iron Mountain® Pipeline Integrity Management solution can assist in the organization and conversion of vital hard-copy records, no matter where they are located or what size and format the present state of the papers. The Pipeline Integrity Management solution is vendor agnostic and can deliver documents to your PIMS or GIS system, or any other in-house centralized database. Learn how you can get more value from your electronic database systems by getting control of your legacy paper pipeline records and ensuring that your systems contain the information you need, when you need it. You can then have the time and resources you need to commit to your strategic initiatives that capitalize on the pipeline boom in Canada.