What Will Shifting Regulatory Standards Look Like in 4 Years
The oil and gas industry as a whole is always shifting, following the constant ebb and flow of emerging technologies and drilling methods.
Along with all the new machinery, technology and methods of utilizing the tools available to us comes new regulatory standards as well. While these standards are put into place for very good reason, it usually also takes the industry awhile to catch up and get acclimated to them. In general, we see these major regulatory shifts happening on a scale of about once or twice every 2-4 years
So, what do the next 4 years look like for regulatory standards?
You Can Expect Stricter State Regulation On Exploration, Drilling, And Transportation Within The Next 4 Years
Since roughly the 1970’s, we have seen a major shift away from regulations on waste prevention and resource conservation efforts to more thoroughly environmentally focused regulations. This trend really picked up speed in 2016 and as it continues to do so well into 2018, we can expect a few major changes in this arena by no later than 2020.
We will see longer operating times as the new standard concern will be focused on environmental conservation, well closures, and site restoration efforts; operations will more than likely, simply take longer. Stricter issuance of permits and site inspections will also take a front-row seat more so than ever before in the history of our industry to make sure the new rules are upheld.
With environmental safeguards and new standard operating procedures in place and operating well, we predict that the industry will then turn its attention to the regulation of transportation and safer distribution through local pipeline systems.
Back in 2014, about 11% of all crude oil and petroleum products were transported by rail, accounting for both local and national rail transportation of these products. It was a visible increase that rose from only 2.6% back in 2009. We should only expect this number to continue rising well into 2020, coupled with new railroad safety standards being put forth by the DOT and Department of Homeland Security.
Overall, the major shifts in regulatory standards seems like it may be concentrated mainly on state regulations and of an environmental preservation flavor. Of course, this post doesn’t contain an exhaustive list of all the possible changes the gas and oil industry will undergo, it just highlights the most prevalent for the industry here in the U.S.
The oil and gas industry will meet these regulations head on when they happen, because they will indeed happen. The question is; are we ready for such shifts? Could we be doing anything different now that will make a transition later just a little bit easier?
The best thing we can do to prepare our industry for all these changes is to simply begin going with the flow, so to speak. It is an unavoidable future, and it is one that is less damaging to our environment, brings new ways of working, and potentially opens up more hours of work for those who are willing and able to work them.
The next 4 years of the oil and gas industry are very bright!