Pipeline operators, midstream companies, E&P companies, gas gatherers, and energy companies all face various degrees of economic uncertainty in 2020.
One way to help your company is to implement or update Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that outline the proper measurement procedures to be followed in your operation.
What’s the Importance of Measurement SOPs?
Proper measurement SOPs take your existing knowledge base, field experience, and internal procedures and builds upon this information to create processes that support operational integrity:
- Aligns with the latest industry standards (AGA, API, and GPA).
- Reflects your company’s contracts with other parties.
- Provides written, documented guidelines to measurement personnel.
- Provides guidelines to third party measurement vendors.
- Provides proof during an audit that your operation is following measurement procedures.
For some operators and companies, the next step is implementing measurement SOPs for the first time. For others, the next step is to update SOPs to align with the latest industry standards. And for others, the next step is to refine SOP implementation to streamline operations.
1. Why Implement SOPs?
For operators and companies that currently do not have SOPs, you may have objections to implementing SOPs. The common objections we hear include: the lack of available time to implement SOPs, not enough available personnel or expertise to create a standard set of documents, the inability to keep up with the latest industry standards, or “this is how we’ve always done it.”
The reality is the industry is shifting to documented, universally-understood SOPs that ensure the accuracy of measurement to support all parties involved in the oil and gas industry. This is directly tied the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to ensure proper reporting and disclosure of information the investing public relies upon.
You may think this is an unnecessary step, especially if you have personnel with extensive field experience that understand how to perform their tasks and show others how to perform tasks. Personnel with extensive experience is an asset, but it’s not a solution to protect the integrity of your operation. Because, consistent practice is key to measurement integrity.
- Solution: use your internal asset of extensive field experience to help translate measurement procedural information into written SOPs.
Many of your experienced field personnel are nearing retirement or become retirement-ready in 2020. Don’t let them slip out the door without formally passing down their experience to support the creation of written SOPs.
If time or task responsibility is a concern, then set aside time later this year to strategically focus on this project. Plan ahead for others to take on certain tasks so that your group of measurement experts can sit down together and focus on supporting the creation of SOPs.
– How we can help: We follow SOX standards to create SOP manuals for natural gas and liquid measurement. To create a measurement manual, we start with SOX-compliant SOP templates that address the most common procedures. Then, we adapt the templates to your company’s operations or procedures. Additionally, each portion of the manual identifies the recommended industry standard (AGA, API, or GPA), allowing users to refer to the appropriate documents.
2. Why Update SOPs?
Your company may already have SOPs for measurement. In 2020, it could be time to update your SOPs to align with industry changes, technological changes, the latest industry standards, or changes to your own operation.
We recommend answering these questions as part of a checklist review of your current SOPs:
- When was the last time you updated your SOPs?
- Do you have manuals for gas, liquids, and the BLM Onshore Orders?
- Do the chapters in each manual reflect current measurement equipment, current measurement technology, current policies and procedures, and current industry standards?
- Do your measurement procedures directly tie back to your contracts and back-office practices?
- Are your measurement technicians following the measurement procedures consistently and accurately?
- Are there opportunities to streamline processes?
One area that we specifically recommend focusing on is whether you have manuals that align with the BLM Onshore Orders.
In January 2017, the Bureau of Land Management enacted regulations for the minimum standards of accurate measurement for oil and gas on federal and Indian lands (Onshore Orders 3170, 3173, 3174, and 3175).
The key elements are ensuring accurate measurement, preventing loss to parties that depend on the accuracy of measurements, and holding operators accountable for their activity on federal and Indian lands.
– How we can help: Whether your SOPs were created outside of GCI or if we provided your SOPs that need to be updated, we can help. We apply our industry expertise and knowledge to update SOPs according to the latest recommendations, specifically the BLM Onshore Orders. We can also review your gas or liquid SOP manuals to ensure they reflect the latest industry standards, technology, and measurement practices.
Contact GCI to Implement or Update SOPs
The ultimate goal of implementing or updating SOPs is to ensure the integrity of your operation. This is critical in 2020 to help protect your company during this period of economic uncertainty through a more compliant, efficient, and intelligent approach to measurement.
We are readily available to help your company or operation implement or update SOPs. Contact GCI today to inquire about building the correct set of SOP manuals that align with your operations.