by Brad Knox

The Challenge

The first-ever regulation for methane leak detection from oil and natural gas operations in the U.S. is changing the regulatory landscape for the energy industry. A U.S.-based energy company played a lead role in defining the changes to Colorado’s Regulation 7, which mandates the monitoring of fugitive methane emissions and volatile organics from wells, tanks, pipelines and other production processes. As a strong advocate of the regulation, the energy company was committed to leading the industry in meeting and exceeding its terms. This objective required the development of new processes to collect, manage, and report leaks and their timely repair. Point B was engaged to lead the planning and implementation of the changes required by the new regulation—on an aggressive timeline.

Getting Stakeholders on Board

Point B led a cross-functional team of stakeholders from Field Production, Maintenance, and Environmental, Health, Safety, and Regulatory, and multiple IT groups to define and implement solutions to enable compliance with the new regulation, including:

  • Conducting requirements gathering and a comprehensive needs assessment with the field production sites and groups to enable solutions that best fit the needs of all stakeholders.
  • Changing field processes for compliant monitoring, detection, reporting, and repair of leaks.
  • Creating new external reporting formats and data to enable compliant reporting.
  • Selecting and implementing the technology required to improve inspection capabilities.
  • Educating employees on the importance of the new regulation to the organization, the environment and the community at large.
  • Identifying the new roles and responsibilities required to support the overall program.

The complexity of scaling these new processes and operations to autonomous operating field sites resulted in the need to streamline processes and practices, requiring significant change management. While not a formal part of the project scope, these changes have created better standardization across the organization, and may enable longer term value capture in the operations area.

Better Data, Better Control

As a result of Point B’s efforts, the company is equipped to lead the industry in regulatory compliance and environmental stewardship. Increased monitoring and data capture from field crews will also allow better quality management of field systems, which may increase the efficiency of field operations.