Environmental management effectiveness means achieving the obvious result of regulatory compliance, but for Encana Corp., it is essential to gain a good measure of organizational efficiency, too.
Efficiency is particularly important for a company like Encana, a Calgary-based oil and gas exploration and production company, that has a multitude of regulatory objectives to meet, many interdependent departments that exist across the company, and an operation that spans two countries.
Casey Rubin, manager of the environmental information team, says that, in his job of EMS management, he works with a variety of internal groups, including air compliance, field environmental groups, operations, plus regulatory and production coordinators.
In most large corporations it’s often typical to find many redundant efforts such as the collection of the same types of data and performing the same types tasks or processes, yet not having the necessary coordination to streamline across different operating areas or even in the same office.
“We reach out to stakeholders and try to maintain an open dialogue and identify cases where there are redundancies,” Rubin says.
“As a team and EHS organization we strive to align ourselves with overall organizational goals. We think of ourselves as partners in collaboration with operations. We focus on risk mitigation (the compliance piece) and introducing efficiencies.
“We use ACTS (Asset Compliance and Tracking System software from Intelex) to mitigate and reduce inefficiencies.”
Encana introduced ACTS into its Texas operation in 2011, using it primarily to manage regulatory air compliance. The company has since expanded usage to support operations with production coordinators to understand and approve their processes.
“We’re managing things like non-environmental regulatory compliance and working with operations on non-EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) initiatives to introduce efficiencies,” Rubin says.
Automation reduces time spent by skilled professionals on labor-intensive activities. Rubin says they use their EMS solution to automate things like data batch and data import tasks – what might be considered rote processes.
“We’ve got a lot of smart people at Encana and we don’t want them to be doing routine work all of the time. Whenever we can avoid that we do so through automation,” he says.
Encana also tracks environmental metrics to find opportunities for savings. The quality and completeness of data gathered through the ACTS system is essential for assessing things like year-over-year greenhouse gas emissions and keeping an environmental scorecard.
“In (British Columbia) there is a carbon tax,” Rubin says. “We are very closely tracking carbon emissions because that has an impact on our financials (reducing carbon tax payments) – and that goes to Wall Street. We found that by implementing ACTS and more closely, carefully and accurately tracking our operations and emissions, we’ve identified some really substantial savings in carbon tax dollars. That’s been a big win for us.”
Watch the full case-study video of Encana and its use of ACTS.