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Tuesday May 5 2015 7 INDUSTRY OIL GAS The Department of Environment and Natural Resources ENR is seeking Expressions of Interest from individuals and organizations interested in serving as members of an advisory committee for waste reduction and recovery programs in the Northwest Territories NWT. Members will provide advice and assistance on waste reduction and recovery programs including but not limited to design implementation and operation. At this time representatives of the following sectors are encouraged to apply environmental organizations small communities community governments and associated organizations retailersmanufacturersdistributors of electronicelectrical products retailersdistributorsproducers of other goods and public at large. Candidates will be selected based on experience and potential contribution to the WRRAC. Consideration will be given to ensure balance among represented sectors on the committee. It is possible one of the above mentioned sectors may not be selected at this time. Interested individuals should submit a resume and a brief letter of interest stating candidates experience in waste reduction and recycling programs and how it will be of benefit to the WRRAC and sector represented retailers distributorsmanufacturers environmental organizations community government or public at large. Letters of interest and general inquiries should be sent to Ms. Michelle Hannah Waste Reduction Specialist Environment Division Environment and Natural Resources Government of the Northwest Territories P.O. Box 1320 Yellowknife NT X1A 2L9 Tel 867-873-7379 Fax 867-873-0221 Email WASTE REDUCTION AND RECOVERY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Deadline for applications is 500 p.m. May 22 2015. By MEAGAN WOHLBERG Its been one year since the NWT estab- lished its own oil and gas regulator in the wake of devolution which paved the way for more Northern control over lands water and resources last April. Since then the ofce has had to be in semi- frequent contact with southern regulators to build up expertise and even carry out cer- tain activities last year spending close to 20 per cent of its 2.2-million budget on outside consultants. Executive director James Fulford who worked previously as a negotiator for de- volution said the Ofce of the Regulator of Oil and Gas Operations OROGO is some- what constrained in what it can do because of its small number of staff but said service agreements with the National Energy Board NEB and Alberta Energy Regulator AER along with other southern regulators help ll the gaps. In our office theres six people weve been staffing up since last year and one of our goals is to build a centre of oil and gas expertise in the NWT as one would expect. But given the current level of ac- tivity its not reasonably foreseeable that wed be able to have all that specialized expertise in-house Fulford said. So its always been assumed that wed need to rely on some outside expertise and weve been doing so. Services at NWTs discretion Fulford Since last April the regulator spent roughly 160000 on help from the AER and around 234000 from the NEB. While OROGO has established service agreements with the NEB and AER for reg- ular assistance Fulford said he and his staff are also in contact with other jurisdictions for assistance including the government of Saskatchewan. OROGO also recently entered into an agree- ment with the BC Oil Gas Commission for use of an online disclosure tool for companies that agree to make informa- tion on their fracking uids and chemical additives available to the public. When I say were accessing the expertise of a regulator were not accessing them as a decision maker Fulford said. Were ac- cessing their staff expertise so its a drilling engineer or a petroleum basin engineer that kind of thing. The service agreements entitle the NWT regulator to receive support in a host of areas from pipeline regulation to well ap- provals exploration and production autho- rizations and compliance verication and enforcement. We arent restricted in who I can access for expertise. It depends on what kind of ques- tion we need answered Fulford said. So on something like spill response it makes a lot of sense to access the AER because they have a eld ofce right in High Level quite close to the border whereas the NEB is op- erating out of Calgary. Outside regulators have been consulted on a wide scope of questions thus far according to Fulford including application processing preparing emergency response and carrying out inspections. Theres very specialized expertise that we dont anticipate given current levels of activity having a person in the ofce who does that because there just isnt enough to keep them occupied Fulford said. For example OROGO recently worked jointly with the community of Jean Marie River on a safety inspection of some aban- doned gas wells causing concerns around the community. For that job they employed three AER staff to assist. NWT regulator gets outside help to ease growing pains A year in NWTs new regulator aims to boost transparency local relevance As well Suncor applied in January to re- suspend a well near Colville Lake during which AER expertise was accessed to assess the application. The NWT ofce is also in frequent contact with the NEB to learn more about how they did things when they were regulator in the territory prior to devolution. Though the service agreements permit both the AER and NEB to contract third-party as- sistance when it is felt that they dont have the internal subject matter and technical exper- tise required to fulll a request for support Fulford said the use of external consultants is at the discretion of the NWT regulator. Theres things that are so specialized that even they dont have full-time staff doing it. So if they decide they dont have the exper- tise they can hire it outside but they have to run that by us he said. We can decide whether we want to go that way. Getting past the growing pains As a new institution OROGO has had to overcome a number of challenges in getting comfortable with taking on the complex role of oil and gas regulation in the NWT. Unlike other areas that were devolved we didnt inherit any staff. The people that used to do this are still living and working in Cal- gary with the National Energy Board Ful- ford said. In other areas the GNWT inher- ited the staff of AANDC - at least the ones in Yellowknife. We had to build the ofce from zero persons. So that really is a growing pain just growing. Since then staff have been working to fa- miliarize themselves with how things were done in the past and come up with ways to make improvements like attempting to push the boundaries of what is open and transpar- ent to the best of their abilities within the limits of legislation. There has to be a benefit to having de- cisions made in the North and by North- erners Fulford said harkening back to the promise of devolution. So were very motivated to demonstrate that thats the case that its not just the same thing with different faces. PhotoWikipediaCommons There has to be a benet to having decisions made in the North and by Northern- ers...Its not just the same thing with different faces. James Fulford Ofce of the Regulator of Oil Gas Operations The Northwest Territories has been host to oil and gas activities for over 70 years start- ing in Norman Wells above but only received regulatory authority over the sector last year. PhotoMeaganWohlberg