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The success of our business depends on strategic planning, effectively managing expenditures and establishing consistent regulatory compliance.

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Apply discipline in planning
and managing our business

The success of our business depends on strategic planning, effectively managing expenditures and establishing consistent regulatory compliance.

Our journey to continuous improvement and
operational excellence

Through numerous acquisitions over the years, PMC inherited a variety of operational practices and systems. In 2014, the decision was made to align, integrate and update these practices and systems into a single consistent operations-wide system. This resulted in the development and implementation of our Operations Management System (OMS).

The first stage was designing the system to meet our needs and enable structured continuous improvement. Then, we implemented OMS in a coordinated approach to all operating assets and applicable corporate departments.

“This was one of the largest change management exercises our company had experienced,” said Colin Oke, PMC Manager, OMS. “Since 2014, we have been steadily progressing on a multi-year implementation plan to achieve long-term sustainability of the OMS,” said Oke, adding that we continued to refine, grow, learn and improve key operational functions and processes over the past five years.

The OMS and related programs require several types of assurance activities, which are achieved through an integrated framework under the Operations Assurance Program. It provides line-of-sight, confirming that regulatory requirements across OMS sub-elements are met through a long-range, rotating schedule of audits, and helps to determine how we know our programs and processes are working.

Accomplishments that are attributed in part to our successful OMS implementation include:

  • Defining a structure of programs and key controls to systematically manage risk and support effective operations priorities and execution to strategy.
Through numerous acquisitions over the years, PMC inherited a variety of operational practices and systems. In 2014, the decision was made to align, integrate and update these practices and systems into a single consistent operations-wide system. This resulted in the development and implementation of our Operations Management System (OMS).

The first stage was designing the system to meet our needs and enable structured continuous improvement. Then, we implemented OMS in a coordinated approach to all operating assets and applicable corporate departments.

“This was one of the largest change management exercises our company had experienced,” said Colin Oke, PMC Manager, OMS. “Since 2014, we have been steadily progressing on a multi-year implementation plan to achieve long-term sustainability of the OMS,” said Oke, adding that we continued to refine, grow, learn and improve key operational functions and processes over the past five years.

The OMS and related programs require several types of assurance activities, which are achieved through an integrated framework under the Operations Assurance Program. It provides line-of-sight, confirming that regulatory requirements across OMS sub-elements are met through a long-range, rotating schedule of audits, and helps to determine how we know our programs and processes are working.

Accomplishments that are attributed in part to our successful OMS implementation include:

  • Defining a structure of programs and key controls to systematically manage risk and support effective operations priorities and execution to strategy.
  • Establishing an iterative four-step cycle based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology to drive continuous improvement of processes and determine performance of our goals and strategy. The annual OMS cycle consists of Planning, Assessment, Gap Management and Management Review to answer the question, “Are we effectively achieving our strategy?”
  • Establishing a program and cycle of operations assurance to determine conformance and compliance to requirements and to support continuous improvement.

“We recognize that achieving desired levels of operational performance for our foundational programs, processes and information is a journey of maturation over time,” said Oke. “Operations excellence is a desired outcome
of the OMS.”

OMS implementation across field operations

Meanwhile, the evolution of PMC’s OMS has also enabled our operating areas to become more strategically aligned. In 2019, PMC’s operating districts took a standardized tactical approach across each area. This involved regional operational leaders getting together for a strategy session to develop an annual tactical plan that addressed local needs while supporting organizational goals.

The OMS process continues to evolve through the development of key performance indicators for each district. A performance dashboard was developed to provide a visual snapshot for Operations to communicate performance in a variety of areas.

By aligning under a common annual plan and OMS structure, we have taken a crucial step toward achieving operational discipline.

  • Establishing an iterative four-step cycle based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology to drive continuous improvement of processes and determine performance of our goals and strategy. The annual OMS cycle consists of Planning, Assessment, Gap Management and Management Review to answer the question, “Are we effectively achieving our strategy?”
  • Establishing a program and cycle of operations assurance to determine conformance and compliance to requirements and to support continuous improvement.

“We recognize that achieving desired levels of operational performance for our foundational programs, processes and information is a journey of maturation over time,” said Oke. “Operations excellence is a desired outcome of the OMS.”

OMS implementation across field operations

Meanwhile, the evolution of PMC’s OMS has also enabled our operating areas to become more strategically aligned. In 2019, PMC’s operating districts took a standardized tactical approach across each area. This involved regional operational leaders getting together for a strategy session to develop an annual tactical plan that addressed local needs while supporting organizational goals.

The OMS process continues to evolve through the development of key performance indicators for each district. A performance dashboard was developed to provide a visual snapshot for Operations to communicate performance in a variety of areas.

By aligning under a common annual plan and OMS structure, we have taken a crucial step toward achieving operational discipline.

Operations Management System

At the core of our mission to safely deliver exceptional results is a clear, aligned and process-driven OMS. Our OMS is structured to be proactive, meet defined business needs and be scalable to adapt to changes in business size and complexity. It helps us coordinate and conduct operations in a way that is systematic, predictable and consistently planned and evaluated to support the execution of our strategy.

Regulatory

PMC takes a proactive approach to regulatory issues through involvement of appropriate regulators from the start of a project or first sign of a potential issue. We support a three-tiered audit system that includes third-party audits, independent internal audits through Plains All American and self-audits.

Minimizing risks
through Process
Hazard Analysis

Process and Pressure Safety Management (PSM) is an industry-accepted practice regulated by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Alberta Boilers Safety Association, among other regulators. This practice refers to discipline in managing hazards associated with the types of assets PMC operates. Effective implementation of this practice can reduce the frequency and severity of incidents, such as potential product releases.

That is why PMC established an industry-leading PSM Program for all assets regardless of type (i.e., facilities or pipelines) or products handled (i.e., crude oil, natural gas, NGL or chemicals).

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with our Process Safety Management Program because it helps keep our facilities and pipelines safe,” said Adnan Mahmood, PMC Manager, Process Safety Management.

An important feature of the PSM Program is the Process Hazard Analysis (PHA), which is a system to identify and analyze the significance of potential hazards associated with the processing or handling of petrochemical products. During this hazard assessment, our Process Safety and Operations departments review facilities and pipeline systems through a meticulous “valve by valve” approach. Various scenarios are considered, and any necessary safeguards are put in place to mitigate risks. PMC completes PHAs for all of our assets, without exception, on a five-year rotational basis.

Upon completion, administration and engineering safeguards are modified or added as required to reduce risk. These might include creating or revising operating procedures, adding safety equipment or introducing alarms.

Horizontal directional drilling projects involve collaborative efforts

Like our peers, PMC uses a process called horizontal directional drilling (HDD) when drilling under a body of water to install a pipeline. We do this because it is considered industry best practice, with less impact on riverbeds and banks than other methods, as long as the terrain is suitable for this practice.

HDD projects can take between 18 and 24 months for planning, permitting and completion. HDDs, including one that took place in 2019, require collaboration from our Asset Integrity, Construction, Operations, Health and Safety, Land and Environment teams.

Before the project began, representatives from our Land department consulted with affected stakeholders, including neighbouring landowners on both sides of the river, to mitigate any concerns they had. Their feedback was then incorporated into our project plans.

PMC also made courtesy notifications to other surrounding residents, informing them of increased activity and noise that may accompany the project. As a mitigative measure, our Construction team stacked shipping containers around the drilling site to reduce noise. In addition, to ensure the safety of livestock in the area, we installed fencing around sections of land on the river’s east side.

One reason why HDDs are an effective option for crossing a deep waterway is because going underground minimizes disturbance to the environment and wildlife. This is where PMC’s Environment team came in. Environment professionals conducted a fish and wildlife assessment as part of PMC’s Environmental Protection Plan and monitored aquatic conditions throughout the project.

Horizontal directional drilling projects involve collaborative efforts

After the HDD was complete and the new pipe was installed, we restored the land to its previous state. PMC typically conducts a site visit one year after project completion to ensure reclamation activities are progressing as planned.
PMC kept me informed of the project every step of the way and went out of their way to make things as unintrusive as possible. The construction folks on the ground were very conscientious of their surroundings and had a great deal of respect for my land and the community. They left the condition of the land in a state that will allow for many years of good agricultural production.

Nicola Smith, Landowner
PMC crews preparing pipe for HDD
Fast Fact
HDD is a relatively low-impact method of drilling under a body of water or other obstacles, like roads or infrastructure, to install a pipeline. Once a new path is drilled, the pipeline is threaded through the bored hole to the other side. This positions the pipeline deep in the earth, away from any potential exposure to the watercourse or infrastructure.

Asset Integrity

Asset Integrity at PMC is made up of a variety of programs and processes for maintenance and operational assurance of our pipelines, processing and fractionation plants, storage tanks and caverns. Maintaining the integrity of our assets is a priority and our responsibility as a safe operator. By striving to adhere to stringent regulations and industry best practices, we are helping to protect the health and safety of the communities where we operate.