Regulatory round-up

Alberta foreign funding enquiry moves slowly. Norway tenders for Diskos 2.0, updates annual status reporting. IOGP’s new guide to contract area description (geomatics). North Dakota puts furloughees to work, updates NorthSTAR database. Texas RRC 2021 inspection plan, new remediation site viewer and CASES portal update.


In a rather uninformative release, the Government of Alberta reports that its public inquiry into ‘foreign funding of anti-Alberta energy campaigns’, announced in 2019, has now ‘established a framework for conducting the Inquiry’s engagement with specific parties about the information gathered to date’. A more detailed explanation of the sensitive situation is available in a CBC online item which casts the $3.5-million inquiry as a ‘massive waste of money’.


The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) is re-tendering the contract for its Diskos online data store. Diskos 2.0 involves separate contracts, one for the management of seismic, well and production data and another for the Trade module. Implementation involves the transfer of some 13 petabytes of data and testing which will likely take all of 2021. Go-live of Diskos 2.0 is set for 2022. The current Diskos operation for seismic, well and production data (run by CGG) will continue until the switch, with 24/7 availability. This will also be the case for the Trade module, that is managed by Kadme. More from the NPD.

NPD is now requiring annual status report (ASR) for fields in production to be submitted in Excel (they were previously in Word) in what is described as ‘a first step towards full digitalization of ASR reporting’. Reporting data in Excel ‘will make it easier to compare data for purposes such as field and portfolio analyses by the authorities and the licensees’. ASR is an important basis for the authorities’ assessment of applications for production permits. Checkout the new ASR guidelines.


IOGP Report 373-03 - Contract Area Descriptions provides a comprehensive guide to the delineation of license block boundaries. In the past, boundaries have often been inadequately described by leading to overlapping licenses or unlicensed slivers between adjacent blocks. The Note targets regulators, company negotiators with ‘limited geodetic awareness’ and geomatics professionals.

North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources has reacted to rising oil and gas unemployment in the State with a cunning plan. To keep furloughed and fired workers in the State, the Oil and Gas Division is working to confiscate and bid out the plugging of abandoned wells. With 200-400 older uneconomical wells to be plugged, the state expects the plugging work needed will keep close to 600 skilled workers employed and busy over the next 6 months. A $66 million budget has been allocated for the program from CARES Act fund. More from the DMR Director’s Cut video.

The DMR is in the process of updating its NorthSTAR database, with Release 3, scheduled to arrive early 2021. The new version will include a ‘Data Tier’ query tool to extract data from NorthSTAR for viewing and custom reporting. The update will also allow Oil and Gas Division inspectors to create, process and monitoring inspection of wells.


The Railroad Commission of Texas has released its Fiscal Year 2021 priorities in the Oil and Gas Monitoring and Enforcement Plan. The agency plans to ensure that all wells in the state are inspected at least once every five years. Inspections will benefit from technological advances including a drone program for emergency response and surveillance. The RRC’s transparency initiative progresses with an online portal for hearings.

The RRC has also released another round of data on its website with visualizations from its site remediation and abandoned mine land programs. The RRC’s CASES (case administration service electronic system) portal has been enhanced with dockets from the agency’s Oil and Gas Division, Oversight and Safety Division, and the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division. The system now allows administrative penalty payments to be made online. Visit the RRC CASES.

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.