Consistent compliance practices in records and information management (RIM) are not easy for any organization to achieve. For oil and gas companies that conduct business across multiple states or countries, things can get even trickier. Not only must they ensure that all their records and information are indexed and classified across all of their locations, but they also need to comply with the laws and regulations of the various jurisdictions in which they do business.
The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011, H. R. 2845, “doubles down” on risk-based pipeline integrity management. It eliminates previous exemptions for older pipeline (pre-1970) and requires that oil and gas pipeline companies maintain and manage old records that did not previously need to be kept. These old records were thought to have little value and were often poorly indexed or tracked, or not tracked at all. However, now they provide tremendous value, but frequently few individuals in the company even know where they can be found.
When it comes to actually applying retention periods to known records, the current situation gets even more burdensome. According to the 2013/2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Oil and Gas Industry, only 40 percent of respondents reported having fully or partially automated internal processes to identify paper records for destruction; that number rose to 60 percent when records were stored offsite. Since a records retention schedule is a cornerstone piece of any RIM program, it is important to note that it needs to be steadily implemented in order for consistent compliance practices to be met.
For companies in the oil and gas industry that are still struggling to achieve a consistent level of RIM-program maturity, relying solely on internal resources will not be enough. It is not cost-effective, takes valuable internal resources away from core operational initiatives and, more often than not, the required RIM expertise may not be there. Luckily, customizable solutions are available on the market today from vendors that have vast experience in providing RIM expertise to companies in the oil and gas industry. And ask us if you need some direction getting your energy records management program off the ground. I can almost guarantee that we’ve encountered a situation similar to what you’re facing.