Regulatory round-up

AER OneStop permitting. Canadian Energy Regulator to ‘modernize’ energy sector. Texas Railroad Commission modernizes IT, releases Online Inspection Lookup. UK Oil & Gas Authority’s digital excellence initiative.


The Alberta Energy regulator is rolling out OneStop, an automated review system for companies applying to the AER for permits. The tool currently supports applications for reclamation certificates, new pipelines, Water Act-related major projects and closure activities. OneStop is a component of the AER’s integrated decision approach and will speed application processing. OneStop streamlines the AER’s baseline review of applications for lower-risk activities. Applications for higher-risk activities undergo a more detailed assessment by AER staffers. By 2022, all application processes will have moved to the new tool.

As of August 2019, the Alberta Energy Regulator has been joined in Calgary by the newly established Canadian Energy Regulator. The CER is to fulfill the government’s commitment to ‘build a modern energy regulator’ and oversee ‘a strong, safe and sustainable Canadian energy sector’ in its ‘transition to a low-carbon economy’. The CER is to ‘enable modern effective governance, more inclusive engagement, greater indigenous participation, stronger safety and environmental protection and timelier project decisions’. The CER is a convenient 12-minute walk away from the AER.


In its 2019 Year in review, the Texas Railroad Commission reports a ‘turning point’ in its progress towards modernization with its mainframe transition project, the largest IT infrastructure project in its history. The RRC’s ITS Division has begun the transition of data and programs from an ‘antiquated’ mainframe system to a modern, cloud-based platform. The RRC has also opened ‘digital avenues’ for customer interfaces with agency processes, enabling ‘streamlined and efficient administration of regulatory requirements’. Public access has been improved with the launch of the RRC Online inspection lookup (RRC OIL), a web-based application that enables the public to search the inspection and compliance history of Texas wells. The RRC has also released several public data sets for download.


The UK’s Oil & Gas Authority has embarked on a Digital Excellence Initiative as presented by OGA CIO Simon James at last year’s AAPG meet in Edinburgh. James observed that the energy debate is ‘more polarized than ever’ and that ‘quality dialogue and evidence-based action’ is required. The digital revolution at OGA was mandated in the 2014 Wood Report and has seen an open data initiative in 2016 and the construction of the ‘world’s largest oil and gas economic model’ using software from Palantir Solutions (now Aucerna). The OGA’s digital offering today consists of the UK National Data Repository, a 170+ terabyte dataset of 12,000 UK wellbores, the ongoing release of ‘carefully targeted, value-adding data’ and the publication of benchmarking reports. The latter include reports on production efficiency, field recovery factors, operating costs and seismic compliance. More from OGA.

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