Streamlining processes and improving regulatory oversight

The BC Oil and Gas Commission’s Business Transition Strategy

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The BC Oil and Gas Commission (or commission, as it is known) is a single-window regulatory agency with responsibilities for overseeing oil and gas operations in British Columbia.

The commission launched its Business Transition Strategy (BTS) in 2013. Driven by expected activity level changes and a drive to streamline processes both internally and externally, the commission saw an opportunity to transform its business. It identified a suite of projects that would change the way oil and gas activity applications and operation submissions are sent to the commission, changing older paper-based processes to digital.

“We wanted to make sure that these projects really delivered value and achieved business objectives,” said Andrew Spence, executive director of business transition strategy. “We needed to deliver organizational change projects and not just IT projects. We took business experts from their operational roles to lead these projects and champion the vision. We identified some business opportunities and used project management best principles to ensure we integrated IT systems development, change management and communications to transform the way industry submits oil and gas applications in B.C.”

The first project, called eSubmission, was implemented in April of 2015, enabling select labour-intensive well data to be submitted to the commission in electronic format.  Prior to the implementation of this system, well data was mailed in hard copy to the commission office where it was scanned and manually entered into commission databases. Now, no well data is accepted in hard-copy format. In July of 2016, eSubmission was expanded for other operational submissions.

9-2The next major implementation was the Application Management System (AMS) – the new online system for submitting most oil and gas activity applications in B.C. This launched on July 11, 2016.

In AMS, all the application requirements are derived by the system, so there is no uncertainty about what information the applicant needs to complete. AMS uses spatial data to define the area of a proposed activity and allows automatic population of many of the application details that an applicant would normally need to enter. This ensures less data entry and more accuracy.

In addition, AMS can validate the application for completeness, ensuring that information is in the right format and all fields have been completed at the time of submission.  The applicant can also pay application fees online through AMS Payment. Once the application has been submitted, commission staff located across the province then complete their reviews in AMS Review, the commission’s new internal system.

The BCOGC office in Victoria, B.C. Photo by Doug McLean Photographer.

The BCOGC office in Victoria, B.C. Photo by Doug McLean Photographer.

“We have worked with an industry working group from the beginning of the planning process to ensure that we add value for our stakeholders and enhance our regulatory procedures,” said Spence. “We delivered a custom training program to both internal and external users, and have set up a user support structure to ensure that any challenges experienced are dealt with in a timely manner.”

The commission plans to leverage the successes and lessons learned from the Business Transition Strategy in any future projects to help deliver oil and gas regulatory excellence for British Columbia’s changing energy future.

For more information on the BC Oil and Gas Commission, please see www.bcogc.ca.

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