OLDS - Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG) is working on a proposed regional emergency management pilot project to examine ways to increase cooperation between industry and local municipalities, says executive director Tracey McCrimmon.
“It will allow us to get the same level of training that municipalities have, to be able to work shoulder to shoulder with municipalities to manage all of our emergencies,” said McCrimmon.
“So we can support municipalities and municipalities can support oil and gas. We are doing this as a collective and collaborating together, as opposed to individuals.”
Olds-headquartered SPOG is a collection of oil and gas companies with operations in the district. It promotes awareness of industry activities and issues through resident visits, workshops and other activities.
McCrimmon explained that the proposed regional emergency management pilot will involve area municipalities, Alberta Emergency Management Agency, SPOG member companies and others.
“We are in the planning stages right now and our next step is to meet with the government, with Municipal Affairs, and talk about what kind of financial support they can throw behind the pilot,” she said.
“All of our surrounding municipalities are aware of this (proposed pilot) and are in full support of it.”
There is a movement toward regional incident management teams in the province to allow concentrated training and skill development, she said.
The aim of the pilot will be to demonstrate the economic benefit of regional management by allowing for coordinated training with municipal and industry teams, joint exercises, regional hazard assessments, and the removal of duplicated materials, she said.
“Regulations regarding the oil and gas industry emergency management are evolving across multiple jurisdictions,” she said, noting that industry is involved with the Canadian Standards Association in the development and production of standards for emergency management in the oil and gas industry.
There are currently standards in place for oil and gas emergency response, she noted.
“There is (incident command system) but this will give us the ability to have the same level of training from an industry standpoint that municipalities already have.”
Although no timeline for the project has been set, she said it will likely run at least a year.
Commodity price increases welcome
In other SPOG news, a recent increase in oil prices is having a positive impact on members, she said.
“Commodity prices are making things stronger from a budgetary standpoint, to be able to increase their capital budgets for new drills, that’s for sure,” she said.
“We are in a really liquid-rich area that when commodity prices get strong like they are right now it makes it way more attractive to put together drilling programs.”
Asked if more drilling activity is taking place in the SPOG area, she said, “I would say we are probably going to start to see some here. It’s been modestly steady right now but I do anticipate we are probably going to see more.”
The Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) is predicting 3,125 wells will be drilled in the province in 2022, an increase year-over-year of 450.
“Global supply demand imbalances are leading to higher commodity prices, and we expect drilling activity to increase out of necessity,” PSAC president Gurpreet Lail said in a recent release. “However, at the same time, we’re also seeking a severe labour shortage, which has the potential to impact how much growth the industry can achieve in the coming year.”