It’s no secret – oil & gas is a highly targeted industry for regulation; guidelines and rules for FERC, EPA, DNR, NTSB, SEC and the list goes on. Managing the documentation that ensures adherence to ever-changing regulatory frameworks is an on-going struggle, especially when operations span multiple states. This becomes even more challenging when so much of the paperwork is just that – still paper.
The Overall Goal
Document Imaging (aka scanning) and Business Process Management is transforming the model midstream oil and gas firms use to manage critical data. Emails with attachments and faxed correspondence can be integrated with permits and land records. Data from shared drives can be standardized and indexed, allowing critical information to be located in a timely fashion without having to rifle through filing cabinets. Better yet, cross-referenced information can be searched once the proper index values are established (i.e. project documents that may be relevant to an environmental report) and the full power of a document management system is unleashed.
The Discovery Phase
After a discovery meeting to determine folder structures and indexing (search) values, legacy documents (not already in electronic form) can be scanned and indexed to join the myriad of electronic documents that already reside on servers or hard drives. Documents acquired through acquisitions or mergers can quickly be added, indexed in the same manner as the original legacy documents to easily integrate with the system. And documents no longer needed due to divestiture can just as easily be purged and/or migrated to the new owners’ system.
Whether preparing for litigation, an audit, or just doing internal company research to get everything in order, there is no doubt that the proper data management solution will streamline the process. Permissions can be set for each user, only granting access to documents or data fields that are allowed to be seen. For example, in an HR setting clerks would not have access to the social security # so that field is hidden. The same holds true here.
Choosing the Right Partner
Faced with large fines for non-compliance, choosing the right business management partner is key. After all, it’s one thing to “know” that you have all the proper documentation – it’s quite another to be able to locate it in a timely fashion. It’s also important to choose a solution that can grow and expand into other departments. The crawl, walk, run approach seems like a logical tactic. It’s like attempting to eat an elephant – it’s totally overwhelming if you try to tackle it in 5 or 6 bites. Even 10 or 20 is too much. But if you take it one bite at a time, it’s manageable. Choose a partner who’s willing to crawl before they break into a full sprint. It should be a marathon, not a 40-yard dash.
What kind of regulatory challenges are you facing? For more information, download our Corral Oil Company case study to learn how they made process improvements with our help!