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Identifying Regulatory Hurdles in the Pipeline Industry

Identifying Regulatory Hurdles in the Pipeline Industry

If you or your business are not facing an obstacle in some way, you are likely missing out on a huge opportunity. It may sound backwards but being bombarded with problems - or what we perceive as problems - allows us to think critically about a circumstance or process that we likely would not have given a second or third glance. We are presented with a chance to reevaluate how things are or were done and find new and better ways to do them. We are given the opportunity for growth.

These are abundant within the pipeline industries of Oil and Gas. With ever-amendable and increasingly strict regulations, companies are continuously forced to modify the way they do business to better align with new rules coming down the pipeline - pun intended. However, the tightening of reigns should be seen as a way to make your business better - not squash your productivity.

With the Office of Pipeline Safety responsible for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and spill response planning of America's 2.6 million miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid transportation pipelines, we would say they have just cause to ensure regulations are as direct as possible. When not done right, the resources and workflows used within these industries could prove dangerous to the business's employees, the public, and the environment alike. This is why it is essential for companies to take the time and effort needed to ensure they comply with any new regulations...and because, you know, we all like to learn something new.

Every year new regulations are passed or old regulations have new provisions added, especially as the Office of Pipeline Safety and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have joined forces in recent years to better mitigate dangerous situations like spills and bolster the response planning necessary should they occur. It is up to each company to ensure they are meeting and responding to the current standards.

While we choose to see these increases in regulations - these hurdles to our operations - as chances for finding new and more efficient ways of doing business, the fact remains that they do put a few additional tasks on the pipeline plate. For example, companies are responsible for following strict rules detailing how pipeline are built, operated, and even retired. Additionally, due diligence is required for these organizations to ensure timely reporting for Integrity Management Programs.

The real hurdle here involves time and resources.

It takes a significant amount of time to manually gather information as well as dedicated resources to analyze and report findings. The consequences for not getting these things checked off the list though are no laughing matter. From a drop in pipeline pressure rates reducing capacity to monetary fines for organizations and on to pipeline shutdowns, regulations outlined for the Oil and Gas industry – and any other industry dealing with pipeline resources – need to be met.

It is our choice whether to view these hurdles with frustration or whether to see them as an opportunity to add better efficiency and value to our teams and companies. Frankly, we like the idea of looking at it in a positive light. We also like the idea of employing Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to help streamline the workflows needed to overcome these hurdles. From administering Integrity Management Programs with GIS to applying GIS to Emergency Preparedness and Response Practices, we have all that – and more – for you over the next weeks. Stay tuned!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we explore these things in our latest series on effectively managing pipeline regulatory requirements with the help of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)! The links below will be updated as these posts become available.

About This Series:

This series explores the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and applications to better manage pipeline regulations, especially within the Natural Resources and Emergency Response sectors.

  • Week 1 - Effectively Managing Pipeline Regulatory Requirements with GIS
  • Week 2 - Identifying Regulatory Hurdles in the Pipeline Industry
  • Week 3 - Better Administering Integrity Management Programs with GIS
  • Week 4 - Field Development Planning with GIS
  • Week 5 - Enhancing Fate and Transport Modeling with GIS
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