RBDMS eForm Speeds Up Permit Processing in Wyoming

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Five years ago the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission began seeing an increase in the number of Applications for Permit to Drill (APD’s) submitted to them for review and approval. In 2012 they were getting around 300 APD’s per month. By 2017 they were receiving between 1,000 and 1,500 APD’s per month. All of these APD’s were coming in on paper forms that Commission staff were entering manually into the legacy computer system.

In 2016 a hiring freeze meant that there were no additional staff to process the increasing number of APD’s that were being received each month. Soon it was taking 30 days for Commission staff just to process an APD so that it was ready for technical review, and at one point in early 2018 there were 10,000 unreviewed APD’s waiting to be processed. As the workload was piling up, so was the paper. All available space in the office was filled with filing cabinets and shelves. Boxes lined the hallways. At one point the Commission considered renting a roll-off container to store the extra paper.

The Commission had already been working with GWPC to implement RBDMS, but this drastic increase in paperwork and the hiring freeze made the implementation of RBDMS eForm a priority. eForm is an online electronic forms system that allows oil and gas operators to submit data electronically directly to the overseeing agency. In July 2018, the Commission released four eForms, including the APD. “We saw immediate adoption from industry,” said Tom Kropatsch, Deputy Oil and Gas Supervisor. “In only three weeks we had almost 200 users and over 1,000 forms in process in the eForm system.”

Commission staff have recognized the efficiencies gained in utilizing the RBDMS eForm system and expect that the permit processing times will soon be reduced.  At the same time, industry has realized the same efficiency gains from RBDMS eForm and in September submitted 2,900 APDs to the WOGCC through the eForm system. “RBDMS eForm has drastically reduced the amount of data entry we are doing,” Kropatsch said. “We are currently processing nearly triple the amount of APDs than we were able to manage when they were submitted on paper forms.”

The Commission is still working on a number of RBDMS projects including additional eForms and RBDMS Field Inspection. They are also planning on releasing an EDD (Electronic Data Delivery) for the APD to ease data entry on the operators’ side as well. As they continue to upgrade their system, the Commission will continue to rely on the RBDMS community for advice. “We decided to implement RBDMS because of the experience GWPC had in other states,” said Kropatsch. “Having the connection to staff from other states that have been through system implementations has been great. It’s also been a huge benefit to have the technical staff at GWPC and the contractors guide us and show us what other states have done. We will also benefit from other states’ work. The time and cost savings that we are going to realize in the next phase with be a huge benefit to the state.”