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BC Energy Regulator

Executive summary

Untangling the workflow and mapping complex data relationships

  • Combining pre-built modules with custom work
  • Robust filters give users what they need

The BC Energy Regulator is the provincial regulator responsible for regulating Oil & Gas activities in British Columbia. When Fieldshare began working with the BCER, they were looking for a software to handle their orphan wells lifecycle. We looked at existing industry software, the potential of building software, and also at combining multiple apps. After a thorough analysis of the alternatives, it was clear nothing out there would fit perfectly.

The Fieldshare Framework offered a clear path forward, and allowed the Commission to test the solution and workflow before committing to custom work. Now, the system is fully integrated with other business systems including SSO and GIS, and users are happy with the results.

The client

Working with the Orphan Wells Division of the BCER

The British Columbia Energy Regulator (formerly the British Columbia Oil & Gas Commission) is the provincial regulator responsible for regulating Oil & Gas activities in British Columbia. When a well, facility, or pipeline becomes orphaned (when an oil and gas company is declared bankrupt or cannot be located) the Commission has the option of using the Orphan Site Reclamation Fund to decommission and clean up the site.

“To meet the Commission’s mission of protecting public safety and the environment, we plan to deactivate pipelines and abandon high priority wells within one year of orphan designation. This ensures the orphans are in a safe state while we plan large area-based decommissioning and restoration programs to maximize efficiencies and rates of closure. We’re aiming to complete restoration work within 10 years of an orphan’s designation.”

Allocating budget is a careful process where the specific risks and remediation costs of each site must be assessed and weighed in order to achieve maximum public benefit.

The problem

When Fieldshare began working with the BCER, they were looking for a software that could handle their orphan wells lifecycle.

The first step in Fieldshare’s work with the BCER was to get an understanding not only of the workflow involved, but where the commission currently stood in their software analysis. The workflow itself covered a lot of ground, which made finding software difficult.

Hunting for the right solution

While we were getting an understanding of the workflow challenges, Fieldshare worked with the BCER’s business analyst to assess alternatives that may become part of the solution to BCER's data problem.

We looked at existing industry software, the potential of building software, and also at combining multiple apps. After a thorough analysis of the alternatives, it was clear nothing out there would fit perfectly.

Industry-specific solutions

The typical way of managing a well involves three stages: decommissioning, abandonment, and remediation/Reclamation, and software exists to track each of these.

But industry-specific software made aggregate information difficult to access. It could only be looked at in a static report format, not live. So users could make a new report, but couldn’t manipulate data within the report itself.

While these existing softwares had advantage of being immediate and somewhat affordable, they would not truly solve the problem.

Building custom software

If it doesn’t exist, build it. Right?

Building software from scratch is both expensive and risky. There’s no guarantee it will work, and the timelines for such projects tend to be very long. The commission needed something soon.

Combining multiple apps

Unfortunately, combining systems would leave a messy tangle of integrations to manage, with no guarantee of a successful connection. This option was also set aside.


In the end, it wasn’t necessary to combine multiple products. Fieldshare offered a unique solution that was already tailored to oil and gas workflows, and combined the advantages of custom software with the affordability of off-the-shelf options.

Following the Fieldshare framework opened the door to a flexible set of features that could change with growing data needs over time.

When people are at the centre of the decision making (rather than automation) good data structure is the best solution because it allows users to find what they need, when they need it. Essentially, a table just like Excel is the right answer, but without having to copy and paste so much. To build this table, you need to follow a framework.

Working within Fieldshare’s framework

Fieldshare provided a modules-based framework to understand the deeper ins and outs of how data was being used to manage the orphan wells lifecycle. With the framework analysis complete, we then proposed the data relationships that would streamline the workflow.

What emerged was a very powerful table, with multiple views pulled from one database. From here each data access point became tailored to their workflow.

In the end, most of the orphan wells data fit within existing Fieldshare modules. Only a handful of new data relationships needed to be custom built. And while the custom work was taking place (8-10 weeks), program managers tested and refined the rest of the workflow.

Within 4 months, program managers felt the implementation of Fieldshare was a success.

The solution

The BCER orphan wells division now operates on the Fieldshare platform. The combination of pre-built modules and custom modules provides streamlined access to site data, which is now housed in a single database.

Budgets, costs, contractor reports, estimates, phases, site information, well data, pipeline data, facility data, remediation status, location, access, GIS, phase reports, all live together in one system.

How do users input data?

Data still needs to go in. But now many manual processes have been replaced by multiple access points to a single protected data source.

How do they access data?

Information can be pulled out of the system quickly, based on robust filters with user-defined attributes. These filters are designed to make planning, forecasting and decision-making more effective.

Fieldshare’s filters make it possible for users to put their professional expertise to use, because they’re able to find and compare information quickly.

Learn more about data governance >

Security improvements

Provincial government regulations meant there were several layers of security requirements for Fieldshare to meet as a SaaS provider, such as hosting data within Canada. Fieldshare worked within the Provincial guidelines to provide appropriate permission controls for all user levels.

Learn more about Fieldshare's security >


Fieldshare worked to connect our database with the Commission’s other hosted data, including their GeoServers. Each integration was carefully considered to provide a more streamlined experience for users.

Learn more about Fieldshare's integrations >


Managers can access information from a holistic view of all orphan well sites, and users love it.

An improved workflow

In Fieldshare, users can make bulk changes from the central Fieldshare dashboard, assigning sites to different programs, and making modifications to the programs in response to changing circumstances. Because all sites are visible at once, relationships between projects can be used to gain insight into the whole portfolio.

Live reports

With the aggregate view, managers aren’t limited to looking at a report in a PDF. They can manipulate that data. It’s easy to change the information and create variations without having to recreate the report.

Updated protection for data

Fieldshare makes it possible to analyze data for errors and track changes in a way that can’t be done with manual tools.

Unexpected benefits

Fieldshare allows users to tackle these unexpected obstacles and emergencies because the information is fluid. Instead of being report-based, data can be manipulated in a live setting. That gives our users time to explore the consequences of multiple response options.

Impact to the commission’s goals and mission

Fieldshare has also made it possible for analytics like PowerBI to pull information out of the system. KPI’s can be set more accurately, so the overall environmental goals can be understood more completely. Better, more thorough reports can be generated, with fewer resources dedicated to reporting.

Looking to the future

The BCER orphan wells department is looking at continual improvement, and Fieldshare is flexible enough to allow further changes to be made. Adding more data types to Fieldshare, such as contract management, contact management, or third party access, will now be possible with minimal disruption.