One Application, One Review, One Decision: OneStop
It’s no secret that technology is changing the way companies do business. Regulators also need to be innovative to keep up with these changes, which is why the AER developed a new system to help us work smarter.
To be an effective regulator, the AER has to continually adapt our processes, because the reality is, in 2018, energy development occurs on a much larger scale than it has in the past, and we have to keep up. To help with this, we created OneStop, a digital platform for energy companies to submit a single application for a proposed project — a departure from the traditional practice of requiring multiple applications.
The AER invented OneStop to support the Integrated Decision Approach, which looks at all elements, rather than at individual activities, of a proposed project across the energy development life cycle. Instead of entering information into multiple systems, operators submit applications into a single system.
A Better Process
In addition to simplifying the application process for operators, OneStop streamlines the AER’s review process by processing low-risk applications automatically and forwarding higher-risk applications to our staff for a detailed, manual review. A manual review only involves those elements of an application that were flagged for risk.
“With OneStop we can spend less time on administrative work and more time analyzing the data; focusing on high-value work that makes us a more strategic, proactive, and responsive regulator,” says Tara Mulrooney, chief technology officer for the AER.
OneStop is easy for applicants to use, with clear and consistent rules that increase regulatory certainty. The rules are applied to each application in the same way, and the process happens in real time, so applicants get decisions right away. To improve their ability to plan in advance, applicants are given an indication of which path they will follow before they submit.
The AER first used OneStop to make the reclamation certificate process more efficient. Before that, each certificate application had to be reviewed manually, which led to a backlog. The result was 2100 low-risk reclamation certificates were generated within a matter of hours.
Since then, OneStop has been applied to pipeline and water applications, notifications, and information submissions. Eventually, all of our regulatory processes will be integrated into this single platform.
As of January 2018, OneStop has automatically approved 70 per cent of all reclamation, pipeline, and water applications that it has processed. Industry has seen significant savings annually thanks to quicker approvals for reclamation certificates and new pipeline construction, and the ability to digitally submit well drilling and completion data.
Ultimately, OneStop frees up staff time to focus on what matters: safety, the environment, and increasing the benefits of sustainable resource development for all Albertans.