PSAC -the National Trade Association representing service, supply, and manufacturing in the upstream energy sector announced its rebrand to ENSERVA last week to signify its focus on a much broader energy industry. The BOE report sat down with January McKee, Director and Board Chair of ENSERVA and President of AMGAS Services Inc to talk about the impetus for change.
ENSERVA has been in operations for over 40 years as PSAC, advocating primarily for the oil and gas service sector which is primarily service for client manufacturing. They’ve also been a strong advocate for the sector provincially and nationally – with many successes, working with industry partners, regulators and government along the way. Association directors took the opportunity this year to move in step with the transformation that they were seeing in the services sector.
“As the industry moved forward towards energy transformation and becomes more aware of ESG-related issues and the global climate perspective, we were seeing a lot of our members looking at ways that they could evolve in that space.” January McKee said. “A lot of our members are looking at how they can participate in the transformation or what will be the innovation that we’re going to need to move towards it. That’s the change that we’re seeing.”
We can look back to the corporate changes that began in the early 2000s as the forces that are shaping current directions in the petroleum industry. Peter Dauvergne, professor of international relations & global environmental politics at the University of British Columbia and author of the book “Environmentalism of the Rich” identifies those changes.
“About 2005, we started to see many of the world’s biggest branded companies suddenly making very sweeping promises- promises such as 100% carbon neutrality, zero waste to landfill, zero deforestation, 100% recycling – a real and significant shift”
This rebranding of corporations has been echoed in the oil and gas sector as it responds to changing consumer, regulatory, and investor interests and responds to changing views of the role corporations are to play in society. As the sector pivots, it creates demand for new skills, and new talents from workers and contractors while still retaining demand for traditional sector experience, skills, and training.McKee sees this changing work scape as the impetus for ENSERVA’s rebrand.
“Ultimately, our members, in some ways remain unchanged. They’ve always been the entrepreneurs, the innovators and solution finders. But we have this new challenge, which is ‘How are we going to be able to get reliable and affordable energy to the rest of the world in a way that is not increasing our environmental footprint and works for everyone in society?’ So that’s a big challenge, but our members are the exact kind of groups of people that are going to be able to innovate towards that.”
Carbon neutrality and net zero emissions in particular have become a focus for many petroleum companies in Canada in response to a changing regulatory environment. The current Federal government developed their focus on net zero emission reduction targets and carbon pricing in 2016 with the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change followed by Canada’s strengthened climate plan in 2020 and the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which became law in June 2021- a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
When we talked about not increasing or even reduction of our environmental footprint, Mckee noted that emissions is one of the biggest areas that the industry is making improvements along with major advances in water management.
She applauded the industry’s community partnerships and especially the deeper partnerships with First Nations- like the recent Enbridge sale of a $1.12 billion minority stake in seven Alberta oil pipelines to a group of Indigenous communities. The sale is being reported as North America’s largest energy-related Aboriginal partnership. McKee also noted the industry is excelling in improving safety standards and training.
For about forty years, PSAC/ENSERVA has developed standards through collaborations of its members who are experienced with applications of prescribed codes of practice in the field. Thus, their programs for training and certification and their industry-recommended practices and studies are informed by the broad expertise of their members, who are, as McKee points out “users of the technologies-the boots on the ground”. She points out that it takes a collaborative effort of experts to create best practices which ENSERVA is able to mine from their membership. Although she admits it is hard to track all of the moving parts in terms of regulatory, but ENSERVA is dedicated to ensuring that they are keeping ahead of new regulatory information and are guiding policies in a way that works in the real world.
“I think that with respect to regulatory, we always want to stay in communication with regulators,” McKee says. “It’s important that they know the working operations and we’re trying to make sure that the policymakers are aware of our contribution and how we can help to support their initiatives. As long as we’re working in a collaborative way, I think that we’re doing the best for everybody.”
ENSERVA has conducted surveys to understand the current service sector labor market. The issue that is top of mind for all of their members is the shortage of skilled workers. McKee says they are focused on supporting members and connecting them with industry partners, or even organizations that haven’t traditionally been industry partners. She sees these approaches as productive ways to open up the labor market and connect the right people to help with the labor shortage.
There is also an Enserva Education Fund which directs resources to Canadian students to help develop a potential long-term labour pool for the upstream service, supply, and manufacturing sector of the oil and gas industry. Many industry companies are developing and using advanced technologies in robotics, AI, and machine learning which ENSERVA intends to explore as well as looking at renewables. Innovation around emission control, emissions reduction, and water management, are a strong focus as ENSERVA launches its ESG playbook and next month, ENSERVA plans to launch an Advocacy Roadmap and play an important role in the energy transformation.
Maureen McCall is an energy professional who writes on issues affecting the energy industry.