Many factors contribute to making disaster an ever-present threat to companies in the oil and gas industry. Often, terrain and environment present heightened risks, as do the specialized equipment and the nature of the product itself – hydrocarbons. Regardless of the cause, disasters happen and must be properly planned for. Energy information governance (IG) professionals should participate in planning for a disaster and reviewing disaster plans to ensure that they meet with company needs and regulatory requirements. Disaster plans are living documents that must adapt to changing technology, operational mandates, and the law. Organizations that have multiple oil and gas facilities in very different environments require nuanced disaster plans, while pipelines, offshore platforms and land-based oil wells each require different disaster compliance protection and reporting activities.
Energy IG managers should play a large role in planning for a disaster and creating regular review processes. Certainly, the IG manager needs to have input into the design of the plan to ensure any compliance issues are met and that needed information is made readily available while vital records are protected. The IG professional may also play a valuable role in the audit and review process.
Disaster plans can become stale or out of sync with needs. Operation site managers are primarily responsible for a local disaster plan, disaster management and, to some degree, disaster recovery, but IG professionals may have a more critical role during the development and review process than originally anticipated.
Keeping up with your organization’s disaster plans for the information and records associated with each pipeline, well and platform requires constant oversight and management. Disasters in the energy industry have cost billions of dollars for recovery and loss of life. A solid IG program with engagement from those professionals in disaster planning and preparedness reduces risk and protects shareholder value.