The CGAs work on a Natural Gas Trade Sector Review initiated by Measurement Canada was one of the big success stories of 2003. The objective was to review regulatory policy and improve the market competitiveness of Canadian industry in the global marketplace and promote technical innovation. It involved in-depth consultation with consumers, industry and manu- facturers that was conducted across the country in 2003. The CGA strategy for the Trade Sector Review focused on three key points: a consensus-based approach to regulations; performance- rather than prescriptive-based standards; and varying levels of intervention that must be justified.

Significant progress was made in 2003 with all of the tabled recommendations. The initial step was to establish a Project Steering Committee to provide strategic direction and administer the implementation process for the ten recommendations,” said Mel Ydreos, Chair of the CGA Standing Committee on Operations. “A number of joint working groups were established to deal with specific recommendations.”

List of recommendations from natural gas Trade Sector Review:

  1. Measurement Canada will work with Stakeholders to Implement the recommendations
  2. Move to Performance Based Specifications
  3. Develop an Impact Analysis for regulatory changes
  4. Ongoing Monitoring of the performance of measurement devices
  5. Role of Measurement Canada should be publicized
  6. Measurement Canada accelerate discontinuing its inspection services
  7. Measurement Canada use a Standards Council of Canada accredited Standards Development Organization
  8. Physical Measurement Standards alternate service delivery options
  9. Approval of type alternate service delivery options for measuring devices
  10. Varying degrees of intervention

COST SAVINGS IN THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

One of the joint working groups developed the requirements to allow the complete exemption for devices used in the portion of the sector upstream of the transmission receipt point. The value to the consumer and industry from the establishment of the No and Low intervention levels for the Upstream and Transmission sectors re-spectively is immense. The future operating and capital cost savings to industry alone can be measured in the millions of dollars. In addition, manufacturers will also see benefits from proposed changes to standards and products approval processes that are being contemplated.

The CGA approach was to promote the development of a process to address issues rather than focus on issues alone. This strategic approach was adopted during the stakeholder review and it formed the basis of the final ten recommendations that were presented to the Senior Management Committee (SMC) of Measurement Canada. All but one of those recommendations was approved by the SMC-Measurement Canada earlier this year.

“As an industry, we were extremely pleased with the approval of the recommendations that came out of the TSR process, and look forward to working collaboratively with Measurement Canada to ensure they are effectively and successfully implemented,” said Ydreos, who is also Vice President, Operations at Union Gas.

The one recommendation not approved was related to the adoption of a National Standards System (NSS) type process to develop and administer standards. Examples of codes that currently use the NSS process include the Natural Gas Pipeline Code and the Gas Utilization Code. That recommendation was taken under advisement, with a request that it be tested through a pilot project to allow Measurement Canada and its key stakeholders to gauge both the effectiveness and cost of the process.

Ydreos believes this initiative has resulted in the development of a foundation of trust and openness that will assist both industry and Measurement Canada to meet the challenges the industry faces, as well as maximize the natural gas sector’s ability to meet consumer and market expectations.

“In addition to the quantifiable benefits that have been achieved to date, another significant win has been the two-way education and communications process that has been established between industry and Measurement Canada,” said Ydreos. “By working together, new specifications are jointly developed based on actual performance data. The use of a consultative methodology has significantly improved overall communications and awareness of each others issues.”