Bulletin 2013-12

Bulletin 2013-12: ERCB Production Outage Update

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ERCB Production Outage Update

Apr 12, 2013

The production outage affecting Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) application systems continues. Outside experts have been brought in and are working with staff around the clock to restore operations. It is unknown how long the service interruption will last.

The outage is affecting many programs and impeding the organization’s ability to receive applications and data submissions electronically. As a result, the ERCB cannot receive electronic applications filed by industry, and ERCB-generated reports are unavailable. The outage has also affected the ERCB’s ability to fulfill information product orders from Information Services and disrupted all activities at the Core Research Centre.

Incident reporting, response, and monitoring and emergency response capabilities are not impacted by this outage. The ERCB continues to carry out field surveillance activities including inspections, monitoring, and responding to landowner concerns.
Please be advised that, as part of the recovery efforts to resolve the outage, ERCB e mail systems will be out of service from 4:00 p.m. Friday, April 12, until 8:00 a.m. Monday, April 15. Incidents and emergencies should continue to be reported to your nearest field centre. (Phone numbers are available on the ERCB website.)

In order to ensure that critical operations continue, the ERCB will accept and process applications that are deemed by the ERCB to be urgent and critical via e-mail. Applicants are required to provide detailed, compelling reasons to support the processing of such applications.

The ERCB advises operators of the following:

Facilities Applications

The Electronic Applications Submission (EAS) system for the submission of applications for wells, facilities, pipelines, and oilfield waste management facilities continues to be affected by the ERCB’s production outage. The Facilities Applications Group has implemented a limited manual process to allow for the submission and disposition of applications deemed by the ERCB to be urgent and critical effective Monday, April 15, 2013.

Scanned applications are to be sent to EAS.Administrator@ercb.ca and must include

  • copies of the completed applications schedules and all required attachments and
  • a cover letter explaining the circumstances and providing detailed and compelling reasons why the application must be processed and dispositioned pending resolution of the production outage. The cover letter must also indicate whether the application is routine or nonroutine.

Only e-mail submissions will be accepted; please do not send paper copies via regular mail. This temporary process is not able to manage large volumes of applications. Applications will be prioritized based on the type of activity and the information provided in the cover letter. Processing of applications will occur on a best-efforts basis, but delays should be expected. Please limit status queries to urgent matters only. If the ERCB determines that an application is deficient, is not urgent and critical, or cannot be processed due to current system limitations, the applicant will be informed by e-mail.

Applications registered prior to the outage cannot be accessed by ERCB staff. These applications can either be resubmitted manually to be considered through this process or can be processed once the outage has been resolved. Please include the registered application number if you are resubmitting a previously registered application.

Should any of the information provided be inaccurate, or if the participant involvement requirements as outlined in section 2 of Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules are not properly completed, the licensee will be subject to enforcement action, which may include an immediate licence suspension.

Resources Applications

The Resources Applications Group has created a manual submission process for urgent, critical applications that fall under the following directives: 050, 055, 058, 062, and 065.

Critical applications, such as those where scheduled and important field operations and necessary gas removal are being impeded on a short-term basis, may be submitted by e-mail to resources.applications@ercb.ca.

Each application will be assessed in terms of its criticality and the ERCB’s ability to process the request. The application must include all requirements listed in the applicable directive and identify any known objections. If the ERCB determines that an application is deficient, is not urgent and critical, or cannot be processed due to current system limitations, the applicant will be informed by e mail.

Any applications which are currently registered and that are considered to be critical may be resubmitted to the ERCB by e-mail for consideration. In such cases, the applicant must identify that it is a resubmission and the following information should be provided if known: the existing ERCB application number, the date of original registration, and the ERCB application processor assigned to the application.

Under section 1.5.2 of Directive 050: Drilling Waste Management, disclosure of unreclaimed sites is required to be submitted through the Digital Data Submission (DDS) system by May 1, 2013. Due to the system interruption, the ERCB has extended the due date for these submissions to June 3, 2013. In addition, licensees selected to submit data for the 2012 calendar year in support of the Annual Oilfield Waste Disposition Report under Directive 058: Oilfield Waste Management Requirements for the Upstream Petroleum Industry were requested to submit data to the ERCB through the DDS system by May 3, 2013. The ERCB has extended the due date for this information to June 3, 2013.

Any questions on this interim process should be directed to Resources Applications via the help line at 403-476-4967 or by e-mail to resources.applications@ercb.ca.

Objection Management

The ERCB continues to receive objections through normal e-mail and mail practices as outlined in EnerFaq No. 15. The ERCB will be manually tracking and acknowledging the receipt of new objections during the production outage. However, because of the outage, objections will not be registered, linked to existing applications, or processed until ERCB systems become operational. Objections can still be accepted via e mail through BOS.Admin@ercb.ca. Objectors are requested to ensure that all objections sent to the ERCB are also copied to the company. Also, because of the ERCB’s inability to register and link outstanding objections to incoming applications, applicants are expected to ensure that outstanding concerns and objections are specifically noted in applications submitted to the ERCB during the outage.

Field Surveillance and Operations

ERCB staff are unable to access, view, or process submissions made through the DDS system. Licensees must submit required DDS notifications via e-mail or phone to the respective field centre until the system disruption is over.

The ERCB’s monthly Liability Management Rating assessment could not be conducted as scheduled on April 6, 2013. The Liability Management Group is unable to process licence transfer applications, security deposit transactions, and approvals to hold EUB licences (Directive 067 applications). Liability Management continues to develop and finalize its contingency plan for specific operations. ERCB field centres are affected in the same ways as head office. It is important to note that incident response and complaint response capabilities are not impacted; inspections are still being conducted.

Oil Sands & Coal Branch

In situ oil sands, oil sands mining, and coal applications submitted under Directive 023 and coal mining applications submitted under Directive 061 cannot be registered, processed, or dispositioned during the production outage.

Deadlines for the submission of supplemental information on active applications will be extended or the information may be sent directly to the application processor by e-mail at EAS.Administrator@ercb.ca. Processing of applications submitted prior to and during the outage will resume when systems become operational.

Companies experiencing critical operational constraints due to this outage may contact In Situ Applications Section Leader Steve Thomas at 403-297-6950, Coal and Major Applications Section Leader Rod Godwaldt at 403-355-5133, or Oil Sands Mining Operational Applications Section Leader Shelley Youens at 780-743-7488.

Geology, Environmental Science, and Economics Branch

For regulatory approvals such as applications for a new oil well base MRL (O-38) or well logging waivers, there is no change to the existing submission processes, but the ERCB may ask for additional information and the turnaround time may be slower than usual.

The Base of Groundwater Protection (BWGP) viewer is currently unavailable. Until the outage is resolved, please contact ags-bgp@ercb.ca for instructions on how to obtain urgent BGWP assessments.

Queries on all GESE matters (urgent or otherwise) can be directed to the normal e-mail address or phone number contacts for those matters. E-mail messages can also be sent to GESEreferrals@ercb.ca.

Reporting Requirements for Natural Gas Removal Permit Holders

Natural gas removal data cannot be submitted through the DDS system. The information impacted is listed in Directive 065. The ERCB will provide permit holder contacts with a form by April 23, 2013, to be manually completed and submitted via e-mail to GRDadmin@ercb.ca. Deadline for the submission of removal volumes is April 30, 2013.

If you have questions about the submission of removal volumes, please contact GRDadmin@ercb.ca.

Information Collection & Dissemination / Core Research Centre

The ERCB is unable to fulfill information product orders from Information Dissemination Services or to conduct activities at the Core Research Centre. Persons with scheduled appointments to examine core tables or drill cuttings are advised to contact the centre at 403-297-6400 beforehand.

The ERCB is unable to process submissions of well drilling and completion data and hydraulic fracturing fluid and water source data under Directive 059, as well as well test data under Directive 040. Deadlines for submission of drilling, completion, and well test data will be extended. Further information will be provided once the outage has been resolved
The ERCB has established a production outage webpage with further information, updates, and Frequently Asked Questions at www.ercb.ca

<original signed by>

Gordon Bell
Acting Chief Information Officer