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PGTS Implements Comprehensive Application Management System (AMS) for BC Oil & Gas Commission

As a result of its extensive domain expertise and successful implementations of online solutions for the resource-based sector in major hubs in Canada and internationally, Pacific GeoTech Systems (PGTS) was selected by the BC Oil & Gas Commission (BCOGC) to develop their electronic permitting system (E-Permit).* E-Permit was designed to be an efficient user-friendly online system focused on enhancing the submission process for oil and gas permit applications. The system will be driven by a variety of data inputs, documents submissions, and GIS/spatial data uploads. Through automating the processing and analysis of this complex data, E-Permit will streamline the permit application management and issuance processes for the BCOGC.

The former permitting system relied on paper-based processes, demanding 20 copies for each application, and requiring separate submissions for distinct activity types within the same project, such as wells, pipelines, or roads. These procedures often led to errors, primarily concerning spatial data, affecting as many as 70% of the applications, ultimately resulting in their rejection and the need for complete resubmissions. Furthermore, internal reviews followed a sequential path, where the initial reviewer, for instance, in the environmental department, had to conclude their evaluation before passing it to the subsequent reviewer, possibly from the engineering division, for applications that might involve six or seven separate subject matter expert (SME) assessments. Additionally, stakeholder consultation reviews consumed a substantial amount of time and effort.

However, based on the expanding necessities of the oil and gas sector, the project evolved and expanded from the original application submission and client self-service portal (e-Permit) to include additional components: the review, approval and decision process (CRD – Categorization, Review and Decision), payment (e-Payment – EFT processes), stakeholder consultation (e-Consultation) and the management of the confidential spatial data layers for internal review and decision processes (Whistler). The complete system for all capabilities deemed in scope was delivered in July 2016 within the revised budget and as scheduled in the 2014 additional contract.

To address the challenges posed by the former system, the project implemented innovative solutions were implemented:

  • Digital Applications: The transition from a paper-based to a digital application system eliminated the need for physical copies.
  • Unified Submissions: Applications for various project activities were consolidated into a single submission, simplifying the entire process.
  • Pre-submission Planning: Proponents were granted the capability to upload spatial data before submission. This step ensured the accuracy of data and allowed for adjustments to minimize regulatory impact.
  • ‘Geoforms’ Validation: The integration of ‘Geoforms’ facilitated real-time spatial data validation, enhancing the overall quality and accuracy of submissions.
  • Mandatory Validation: Application data fields were configured to require validation before submission, reducing the likelihood of errors and rejections.
  • Efficient Review: A business rules engine streamlined the review process, assigning tasks, checklists, and subject matter experts concurrently, thus expediting evaluations.
  • Online Stakeholder Consultation: Shifting stakeholder consultations to an online platform simplified documentation requirements and substantially reduced consultation timelines.

These comprehensive changes not only directly address the previous challenges but also significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the permitting process, benefiting both the BCOGC and the broader oil and gas industry.

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