What Should Oil and Gas Companies Look For in a Registered Land Surveyor?

land surveyorIn the business world, standards and regulations exist for a good reason: by creating an agreed-upon set of standards for an entire industry, everyone operating within that industry knows what to expect when it comes to hiring contractors or doing business with other companies. This can help cut down on the amount of surprises a company experiences while working on a project. This post examines the standards and regulations that you should expect from a registered land surveyor.

Standards and Regulations for Land Surveying

The oil and gas industry is filled with different standards and regulations, all of which are aimed at helping companies do business quicker, safer and more efficiently. However, in order to get the best benefits out of these regulations, you have to take the time to understand what they really mean, and how they affect your business.

This is particularly true when it comes to selecting a registered land surveyor to work with. Knowing what standards and regulations land surveyors comply with, and what those standards and regulations really mean, can help you make sure you select the right professional registered land surveyor to work with, and that can make all the difference for your project.

Land surveying standards and regulations that you should be aware of include:

  • Safety regulations
  • Drug and alcohol regulations
  • Pipeline data standards
Safety Regulations

Safety regulations for contractors in the land surveying industry are offered by a number of third party organizations, including:

  • ISNetworld
  • PEC Safety
  • PICS

While each of these different organizations functions in their own unique way, they are all alike in that they offer services for verifying the safety knowledge and compliance of oil and gas surveying professionals. These third party programs often pull from a diverse set of industry safety standards and safety regulations set by state and federal governments.

It’s important that you take a little bit of time to get to know each of these organizations to find out how they’re alike and how they differ; this will help you know exactly what each of these certifications really signifies.

Drug and Alcohol Regulations

Keeping a standard that oversees your contractors’ drug and alcohol usage can play an important role in creating a successful project with no unpleasant surprises or major safety concerns. Fortunately, National Compliance Management Service (NCMS), another third party standards organization, provides drug and alcohol auditing services that are specifically designed to help contractors live up to the expectations of their clients.

These NCMS audits establish a program that helps a contract organization put the specific drug and alcohol requirements of their client organization into practice. This program can include things like written policies, established screening methods, randomized testing, and regularly scheduled annual testing. As a result, any client that establishes a drug and alcohol monitoring program for their contractor organizations through NCMS can always be sure that they have a full and accurate understanding of what steps are being taken to ensure compliance.

Pipeline Data Standards

Pipeline data standards can help give you a better idea of the final product that your registered land surveyor will provide you. Keeping these standards open and well established helps ensure that all companies that work in the oil and gas industry will be able to deliver data to one another without having to worry about custom software programs or vendor-specific data architectures that stand in the way of the free distribution and easy use of data.

The two main pipeline data standards for the oil and gas surveying industry are the Pipeline Open Data Standard (PODS) and the ArcGIS Pipeline Data Model (APDM). These two standards should not be considered competitors; they have some similarities, but function in slightly different ways. Getting to know both of these standards is important, as it will help you select the standard that best meets your needs, and then select a registered professional land surveyor that can work within the context of that standard.

Image Source : Elvert Barnes

How Cloud Computing is Revolutionizing Oil and Gas Projects

cloud computingCost cutting and improved efficiency are central to oil and gas companies. Changes in the industry, new regulations, and increased competition have companies looking at technology differently than they did even five years ago. In particular, cloud computing is revolutionizing the oil and gas industry, particularly in areas of oil and gas surveying and project management.

Cloud computing platforms can be somewhat invisible. Because they are so simple to use and make previously complicated tasks easy, it is entirely possible that the user may not realize just how much this technology is impacting their business.

The Value of Cloud Computing to the Oil and Gas Industry

Cloud computing, in general terms, is the ability to simultaneously distribute information over a computer communication network to many users. The flip side to this is the ability to access and retrievethe vast amounts of stored dataregardless of time and location.

Cloud computing is extremely popular in industry and business for the same reasons any innovation or technology is popular: improved efficiency and cost effectiveness.

This is especially useful for the oil and gas industry, which has to handle large amounts of data as well as manage multiple, often remote teams. With any oil and gas project there are a lot of moving parts, and cloud computing can be used to make these parts work more seamlessly with one another. Important data and documents can be easily accessed by those partners who are cleared to view them. Since information is available onany internet capable device, data can be uploaded from a project site and made instantly available back at regional centers or corporate headquarters.

Land Surveying and GIS Mapping via the Cloud

Quality control, connectivity, and real-time survey and drilling data are enhanced through cloud computing. Mobile devices are already used by oil land surveyors to collect data and upload it to servers. Seismic crews use wireless recording stations to ensure quality control.

Data can be collected from the field and immediately uploaded. Land surveyors collect data and cartographers in an office in the next state can interpret and map it for immediate uploading and distribution. Stored map information may be integrated into other internal systems, or used on-site by the project manager and crews.

Oil and Gas Data Management: Now in the Cloud

Project managers utilize cloud technology to query and view cross-project and multiple task data files. Historical, geological, and drilling operations data relevant to the project they are working on, can be accessed by simply logging into the cloud repository.

Using cloud technology for Oil and gas data management also makes it easy for the project manager to share pertinent information with all project stakeholders. Additionally, data can be easily cross analyzed and interpreted, leading to decisions being made and conveyed faster, thus reducing adverse impacts to the community, company, and environment. This efficiency also translates into minimization of costs associated with delays, slowdowns, catastrophes, or other unplanned interruptions.

Using cloud data also provides project managers with additional information to effectively determine critical milestones, create achievable schedules, and generate more complete reports and more informed budgets.

The cloud provides a continuous and secure flow of information from a variety of cross-disciplined experts. When oil and gas companies implement a cloud computing platform, they will see much more reliable service results while saving money at the same time.

If you are looking to use cloud technology to cut costs and increase efficiency, then try our Oil & Gas Data Management Demo for free and see what a difference it can make.

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5 Challenges Oil and Gas Companies Are Facing in the Eagle Ford Shale

Oil and Gas Companies Eagle Ford ShaleDomestic shale extraction of oil and natural gas has created a substantial economic boom for the country. Oil and gas companies working the Eagle Ford Shale area of Texas are generating wealth and jobs, but financial, human-resource and technology challenges persist. Nearly 400 drilling rigs operate in West Texas, and Eagle Ford Shale contains 3.351 billion barrels of oil and 20.81 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The area generates more than one million barrels of oil and nearly 5,000 cubic feet of gas per day. Oil production in 2013 topped 688,429 barrels. Shale extraction at Eagle Ford has generated an unparalleled economic windfall for localities, Texas and the nation. Prospects for continued increases in production are astonishing.But there are still a number of challenges that oil and gas companies are facing in that region. Here is a look at 5 main issues they are facing.

Problems that Technology and Regulation Must Solve


Challenge 1—Skilled Labor Shortages

Drillers, truck drivers and skilled workers are increasingly hard to find. Eagle Ford Shale gas and oil companies employed 38,000 workers in 2011, and demand is steadily growing. The 14 surrounding counties have sparse populations, and transient workers create hosts of service problems for localities.

Challenge 2—Failure to Invest in New Technologies

New technologies drive efforts to revisit old fields and extract oil and gas. Failing to invest in technology, pipelines and other energy-delivery systems could cause production companies to miss potential revenue generating operations. Stakeholders in raising funds for research include drillers, landowners, major energy users, utility companies and regulators at all levels of government. Technology challenges include finding better methods of detecting methane leaks, optimizing production, cutting costs and minimizing environmental damage.

Challenge 3—Ensuring Safety and Security

For oil and gas companies, safety and security issues are interrelated to all the other challenges of shale extraction. Drillers, landowners and residents face the following risks:

Proximity to Mexico

Mexican drug cartels smuggle drugs, people and contraband across the border.

Inexperienced Workers

Scarce labor causes companies to hire inexperienced people to work in hazardous environments where mistakes could cause major risks.

Poor Records

Poor record-keeping results in mistakes, inefficient field data collection and faulty security reviews.

Oil and gas companies concerned with security also need to make sure that they partner with contractors who put strong emphasis on safety. If safety isn’t a top priority for everyone involved with a project then it can easily result in a hazardous work environment.

Challenge 4—Protecting the Environment

Water use and conservation are big issues in Texas, and overlapping and contradictory regulatory requirements create challenges at the federal, state and local level. Texas has the unique distinction of supporting environmentalism and big energy. Environmental challenges that oil and gas companies face in Eagle Ford Shale include:

Water Shortages

Texas suffers from ongoing water shortages, and fracking shale requires vast amounts of water.

Air emissions

Perhaps the most well known oil and gas environmental regulation. Dealing with problems of air emissions include those generated by drilling and air emissions by large fleets of tanker trucks. Diesel rigs produce fumes and drilling releases volatile organic compounds, methane and greenhouse gases.

Challenge 5—Transportation

While it’s possible to transport oil and gas by rail or by truck, these methods tend to be costlier. The most efficient and inexpensive method is by pipeline, although this comes with its own set of challenges:

Property Rights and Landowners

As local landowners become more educated about their rights there has been a rise in cases regarding right-of-ways, shut-in-wells, lease terms, and other legal issues. This makes running pipelines through their property more challenging and requires a greater degree of field data collection and planning beforehand in order to ensure that a clear legal picture is made during the initial surveying work.

Line Capacity

In some areas of the Eagle Ford Shale, the current amount of pipelines is at capacity and in some cases wells have been shut in. As a result, there has been a drive to build new lines and expand existing ones in order to increase capacity.

The Bottom Line

Oil and gas companies provide 62 percent of energy consumption in the United States. The energy industry must deal with technology changes as well as environmental and regulatory challenges and conflicting agendas from stakeholders. Advanced field data collection and 3-D modeling has helped to reduce costs as well as keep projects organized and running on time. What are the challenges that concern you the most? What are the best ways of tackling these issues? Please post your thoughts in the comments below.