Tips for Keeping Oil and Gas Projects on Track

Oil and Gas ProjectsAs a project manager for oil and gas projects, one of your most important priorities should be making sure that everything stays on schedule. After all, these jobs are often very expensive to plan and execute, and the entities funding the work are no doubt going to want to see a return on their investment as soon as possible. Project delays cost a great deal of money, while also pushing back the horizon on how soon the project will start paying dividends.

Fortunately, with the right level of planning and the right technology available to assist you, it’s possible to reduce the chances of a delay. Read this post to learn about some of the main sources of delay in oil and gas projects, and what you can do to overcome them.

1. Miscommunication or bad data

Let’s face it: oil and gas projects are very complex undertakings. When you have a large team of individuals all working on the same project, keeping everybody on the same page is always going to be difficult.  With oil and gas projects, where the team can be spread out over long distances, it becomes especially hard. When miscommunication between team members occurs, or when some team members aren’t working from the most recent version of project data, it can cause time-consuming mistakes.

With a cloud-based project management platform, project managers can establish a single central repository for all the project data and communications.  The platform can be accessed no matter where a worker may be, including access on mobile devices for field workers. As a result, such a solution can help reduce the potential for miscommunication.


2. Delays in securing environmental approval

While environmental regulations clearly exist for a good reason, it’s impossible to overlook what an inconvenience they can sometimes be for project managers working on oil and gas projects. However, with the right level of planning and awareness, it’s entirely possible for an oil and gas project manager to make sure a project lives up to its environmental responsibilities, while also proceeding according to schedule.

A key concept to keep in mind is that all jurisdictions, including local, state and federal jurisdictions, have their own special environmental requirements. This can cause real problems, especially if you’re building in region that you’re not familiar with. The best way to overcome this is to make sure you start early, and consider working with a land surveying partner who can provide the kind of local knowledge that you may be lacking.

3. Delays in gathering survey data and completing as built surveys

While collecting land surveying data should of course be a part of your project plan, it can sometimes be difficult to make sure you’ve dedicated the correct amount of time to complete this task. There’s no denying the fact that gathering survey data using traditional surveying methods is slow; the only question is how will it affect the rest of the project schedule going forward?

Using aerial data collection performed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can help you overcome this issue. UAVs are capable of gathering very large amounts of land data quickly, and their ability to bypass difficult terrain from above means that their work is both faster and more predictable than that performed by land-based surveyors. As a result, you can be sure that you will have all the surveys you need to move forward with your project—on schedule.

To learn more about any of the technologies mentioned in this post or to get started planning your oil and gas project, contact Landpoint today.




The Biggest Permitting Issues That Arise in Oil and Gas Projects

Oil and Gas SurveyingWhen planning a new oil and gas project, it’s very important that you educate yourself about the permit issues that you might run into along the way. While there are many different permitting issues that could arise, all of these can be boiled down into two main factors: wasted time and wasted money.

Wasted Time

As you are no doubt aware, oil and gas projects operate according to a strict schedule. When a permit issue appears unexpectedly, companies will find themselves putting a stop to things while they wait for the needed permits to come through. This could end up setting the project back weeks, which could in turn have a ripple effect that greatly disturbs the rest of the project schedule. The only way to avoid unexpected sources of wasted time is by planning ahead and making sure that your company knows about any perspective permit issues before they become problems.

Wasted Money

Just like oil and gas surveying projects have to adhere to strict timelines, they also have to adhere to strict budgets. Oil and gas companies that don’t take the time to familiarize themselves with all of the permitting issues they might face before the project begins risk going significantly over their budgets, which could in turn affect what the company is and is not able to do going into the future. This is another reason why it’s important for oil and gas businesses to look into potential permitting issues as early as possible.

What Types Of Permitting Issues Should Oil And Gas Companies Be Worried About?

Oil and gas companies are subject to a variety of state and federal regulations regarding what they can and can’t do. While some states may require a particular type of permit, others may not.  On top of this, the turnaround time for permits can vary greatly and some permits can take well over a year to obtain.

Here are a couple major permits that we have seen oil and gas companies have issues with:

404 Permit

A 404 Permit, named for Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act, is something that all companies must obtain before pursuing a project that might affect bodies of water such as wetlands. To be more specific, the regulation limits the discharging of potentially harmful dredged or fill material into bodies of water.

In order to receive a permit to proceed with a project that requires the discharge of such material into a body of water, an organization must be able to demonstrate to the EPA that there is no practical alternative available that would be less damaging to the aquatic environment, and that the damage to the water would be limited as much as possible during the project. Gathering and presenting this kind of information takes time, so it’s important to know whether or not you need this permit in advance.

Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System Permit

A good example of a permit required by state regulations can be found in Louisiana. A company must secure one of these permits before beginning an oil and gas project that might affect any of the scenic waterways listed on the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act.

Working with a professional land surveying company that has certified environmentalists is the best way to ensure that your company is aware of all the possible permit issues that apply to your project. With this knowledge, you can ensure that these issues don’t stand in the way of you completing your oil and gas project successfully. Contact Landpoint today to learn more about what our oil and gas surveying knowledge and experience can do for you.

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How a Land Surveying Company Can Reduce Bottlenecks for Oil and Gas Projects

Oil and Gas ProjectsAs the oil and gas boom continues, projects are increasing in scope, size and complexity. Companies often find themselves unable to adjust to the new realities of their project, leading to bottlenecks that can cause extending delays and wasted resources.

In order to remove these bottlenecks and keep your oil and gas projects progressing according to plan, you need to work with an experienced land surveying company that you can trust to provide scalability, rapid access to deliverables, and open lines of communication between key project stakeholders, no matter where they are in the country.

Working With The Wrong Land Surveyor Is A Major Cause Of Bottlenecks

One of the byproducts of the oil and gas boom has been a proliferation of new land surveying companies across the country. These new companies come in many different sizes and experience levels, and choosing to work with the wrong land surveying company can have grave consequences for your oil and gas project.

Working with a land surveying company that is too small or too inexperienced can cause project bottlenecks due to:

  • Lack of scalability
  • Inability to distribute information quickly
  • Inexperience in oil and gas surveying

Working with the right land surveying partner can help you address these issues, ensuring that bottlenecks won’t occur with your project.

Ensuring Scalability

In the context of land surveying, “scalability” refers to a company’s ability to keep up with rapid changes in product scope. Scalability is frequently an issue in the oil and gas industry, as new obstacles and complexity arise frequently as these projects progress.

Oil and gas companies simply can’t afford the long turnaround times that occur when a land surveyor can’t complete field work and produce deliverables quickly. It’s also important that these companies assess a land surveying company’s ability to scale before the project begins; having to replace a land surveyor that can’t scale will only delay the project even further. It’s a better idea to do your homework beforehand, and make sure you’re working with the right land surveyor right from the start.

A land surveying company can ensure scalability by having a large team of experts and the latest technology. When change in project scope creates the need to have more surveyors in the field, a larger company that has experienced teams spread out across the country can easily make that happen, ensuring that the project can continue with no major delays.

On the other hand, smaller land surveying companies often lack the resources needed to respond quickly to changes in project scope. If they need more surveying teams in the field, it may take them weeks to get those teams lined up, if they are able to do at all.

Ensuring Distribution of Information

Today’s industries are more spread out than ever before, and oil and gas is no exception. Key stakeholders from the same project can often be stationed at different locations throughout the country, making it difficult for everyone to be on the same page. As project scope changes, this problem only gets worse. Oil and gas companies need to work with a land surveyor who can provide the ability to distribute information quickly across dispersed geographic locations.

Land surveyors with cloud-based project management offerings can help address this issue. When new information arises that changes the nature of a project, team members have one centralized portal they can upload that information to, and instantly ensure that everyone is able to see it. This removes the bottleneck involved with trying to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Land surveyors can also offer field teams the ability to access the project management system on mobile devices, so that new information can flow from job sites to offices as quickly as possible.

For more information on land surveying services from Landpoint, read our oil and gas brochure, or request a free land surveying quote.

Why Scalability is Key to Oil & Gas Surveying

land surveying projectsScalability is the ability to quickly adjust to changing conditions as they occur. Projects need to continue even when new information changes the nature of the operation and demands an increase in scope. When it comes to oil and gas projects, land surveyors must meet deadlines, manage change, and ensure the end result meets company needs and regulatory standards.

As oil and gas industry operations expand, land surveying scalability becomes a major challenge. Many surveying companies are small and unable to scale, while others may not be able to scale quickly enough to accommodate oil and gas companies’ needs. As a result, companies may experience much longer turnaround times. “Time is money,” and increased survey turnaround is inefficient and costly.

It is extremely beneficial when land surveying firms can efficiently and effectively provide accurate oil and gas field data to aid engineers in decision making and problem resolution. Land surveyors may be required to change course quickly. Regardless of conditions and obstacles, oil and gas surveying projects must meet deadlines and milestones. To do so, they need the team and the technology to be able to easily handle project changes as well as the ability to properly manage resources once they are in place.

Land Surveying Projects & Scalable Technologies

Most oil and gas surveying projects are multi-phased, from field data collection, to surveyors review, to client deliverable distribution. Oil and gas surveys tend to become more complex as the project progresses. An original survey may turn into re-rotes, moves, and overall scope increases, requiring more resources and in many cases additional skill sets. The survey firm should have the capacity and resources to be able to add additional crews and equipment as needed.

Having access to some of the latest surveying technologies enhances scalability. For example, the best GIS uses significantly more data and keeps all of the information in the cloud. Data is made available through smartphones and tablets, enhancing communication between teams and keeping everyone in the loop. When information is kept in a central location and made easily available to those in the field, it means that no matter how many new teams are added, everyone will still be on the same page.

Some important methods, programs, and project management features indicating a surveying company is focused on continued scalability are:

  • Advanced GNSS
  • 3D scanning applications
  • Mobility / mobile devices
  • A real-time, in-house project management system
  • Knowledge of oil and gas companies’ multiple land leases and operations
  • A large pool of readily-available on-call survey teams
  • A reputation for updating and incorporating the latest technologies
  • Professionals that are knowledgeable of the most current land survey technologies

The Benefits of Scalable Oil and Gas Surveying

Ultimately, partnering with a firm that can easily scale helps your oil and gas project with three critical elements:

  1. Speed – By being able to add additional resources as soon as they are needed, a scalable land surveying company can vastly reduce the time needed to complete a project.
  2. Accuracy – A land surveying company needs to have a broad skill set and experience in a number of different oil and gas surveying related disciplines in order to take on the additional tasks that may come up in a project. If they do not have these things, they may attempt to take on tasks with mixed results.
  3. Efficiency – The more a project expands and changes, the more necessary it is that the surveying company be able to communicate with other teams and share information.

It is better for an oil and gas company to pick a land surveying company that can scale right from the start, instead of having to change midway when it becomes clear that the current surveying company cant. For more information, take a look at our oil and gas brochure.

Oil and Gas Projects: Finding a Safety-Focused Partner

pipeline land surveyingIn accordance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association), every worker has a right to a safe work environment. This is especially important for those in the oil and gas industry for the company as well as for their consultants and partners.

Oil and gas project safety has to be everyone’s priority regardless of job assignment, office or field. Vehicle accidents, explosions, fires, chemical exposures, confined space hazards, or employees caught in equipment may occur on rigs, in wells, or along pipelines. And, hazards that cause people to fall, trip or slip are a threat in any workplace environment.

Safety on Oil and Gas Projects: The Most Common Violations

OSHA’s General Industry Standards (29 CFR 1910), OSHA’s Construction Standards (29 CFR 1926), and General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act were enacted to protect worker health and safety in the oil and gas industry.

According to OSHA oil and gas surveys, the five most-cited violations are:

  1. Hazard Communication (HazCOM) – Negligence of OSHA requirements to provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) for all hazardous materials and chemicals, posted notifications of hazards and chemicals present, or employee training (regular safety meetings).
  2. Permitted confined spaces – Safety violations occurring in spaces with limited egress and those over 4-feet deep, including manholes, mineshafts, airshafts, wells, crawl spaces, etc.
  3. General Duty Clause (Section of the OSHA Act) – Failure of the employer to comply with OSHA standards or provide a workplace/jobsite free from recognized safety hazards that might cause death or serious physical harm to employees or employee(s) failure to comply with OSHA standards through acts and actions (including drug and alcohol abuses).
  4. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) – Failure to comply with the OSHA requirement to provide and wear gloves, coveralls, respirators, protective head gear, safety reflective vests, ear, eye, and face protections.
  5. Wiring, Components, and Equipment – Failure to control gases under pressure that might ignite, cutting and welding near flammable or explosive materials, or poorly maintained electrical wiring or equipment.

Setting Safety Standards on Oil and Gas Projects

Studies indicate that employees who are injured are typically:

  • Male
  • Age 25-34
  • Employed less than one year
  • Struck by an object (related to parts or materials)
  • Experienced a strain or sprain to their arms, wrist, hands, or fingers
  • Off work for 31 or more days

It is important for the company to set high standards for safety early on in a project. This pertains to the employer, workplace/jobsite, employees and their behaviors that might indirectly create a hazardous environment (negligence, intoxication, addiction, anger/violence, etc.).

Explosions, oil fires, chemical spills, collapses, cave-ins, and confined space Oxygen deprivation require employee training in proper mitigation and PPE use, emergency response, site securing, and recovery operations. HazCOM enforces employees’ rights to know potential hazards, how to avoid them, and what to do in the event one occurs. Teamwork and support are equally important.

Oil and Gas Project Safety Concerns: Selecting Partners

Responsibility for safety extends to companies the oil and gas company chooses to partner with. Criteria to determine if a firm (survey, engineering, construction team) is credible, responsible, and safe include:

  • Flexibility – Is the partner willing to accept the oil and gas company’s established safety guidelines?
  • Experience/ Accreditation – Does the partner have knowledge, experience, accreditation, and a clean workplace accident record? (Generally, experienced and accredited firms tend to be “safer”).
  • Ability To Identify Potential Dangers – Is the partner cognizant of conditions that could be hazardous? (Survey Partners using GIS, for example, may identify and mitigate potential safety concerns early in the project).

The partner may additionally be evaluated based on the following desirable qualifications:

  • ISNetworld, PEC/Premier, and PICS compliant in all areas of operation
  • Demonstrated enforcement of NCMS DOT drug and alcohol compliance for personnel
  • Active personnel health and safety program including regular safety meetings

On the job site, safety and accurate end results are of paramount importance. Landpoint is 100% ISNetworld, PEC/Premier, and PICS compliant in all areas and enforces NCMS DOT drug and alcohol standards. We invite you to contact us to learn more about what we can do for your oil and gas project.

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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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