Custom Software Apps & SharePoint Consulting

Compliance is scary. Why?

Compliance is a big word. For the next couple weeks we’ll be posting a series on compliance as a solvable information problem in Oil and Gas.

Everything from safety, tax, engineering, contracts, to the environment requires a focus on compliance in the Oil and Gas industry. The field is complex, varied, ever-changing and yet usually forgotten until there’s a problem. When we think about compliance, we automatically think about the risk of noncompliance, because usually by the time it’s under consideration, it’s too late. And so it’s a pseudo-taboo. At Entrance, we know this is a solvable problem. Let’s dig a little deeper to find out why it’s got such a bad taste.

There are many drivers for the fear lurking behind the word ‘compliance’. Break them down:

Compliance Worries – Industry Drivers

  • Regulations do not always match industry practices
    Regulators are not experts in oil and gas industry processes, and yet most regulation dictates a process for implementation. Many times information requested has a turnaround time longer than the due date to comply, and/or isn’t commonly captured systematically. In some cases it simply doesn’t make operational sense, or might not solve the problem it’s addressing.
  • High impact consequences from an ungratifying activity
    Nobody likes reporting; especially when reporting means spending days at a time teasing out details from various spreadsheets.  Crunching through information can be tedious, and easy to underestimate. And so the only time this role gets attention is when something goes wrong.
  • New pressures to regulate coming from public
    Oil and Gas is under more scrutiny than ever before as environmental issues become a priority for voters. Especially as shales are found in areas that have never seen oil and gas activity, regulations are increasingly stringent on a local, state, national and even international level.

Compliance Worries – Technology Drivers

  • Information takes  time and effort to gather
    One of the most common complaints we hear about compliance, is that the information is hard to access. Usually compliance requires data from across different departments, and many companies create interdepartmental teams in order to gather the information needed. In some cases, the collaboration process takes longer than the actual reporting!
  • Retention processes and standards are changing
    Companies are usually required to keep compliance related records for years. This retention can be extremely complex, because filing cabinets full of paperwork are becoming outdated, and there is a whole range of documentation solutions in between – from scanned copy databases to searchable SharePoint directories. In many cases companies have a combination of document storage types.
  • Knowledge management is underdeveloped
    Companies today simply don’t know what they know. Half of the art of applying knowledge is knowing where to get it from. But while that process is one that can be supported with a knowledge management strategy, most companies are losing organizational knowledge as employees retire without having shared their knowledge in a way that’s accessible to the next generation.

Compliance might be a scary word, but when broken down, each piece of the puzzle represents a very solvable problem. We turn compliance into a manageable positive focus for Oil and Gas companies across the energy value chain. Check out my next compliance blog, where I describe the current compliance situation as an opportunity.


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