Throwback Thursday: Enform is Born

Originally appeared in Oil Driller (Winter 2006)

New organization delivers industry safety and training services

By Jeffrey Reed

Until recently, the upstream petroleum industry has had two organizations to oversee the development and implementation of safety initiatives: the Petroleum Industry Training Service (PITS), founded in 1961, and the Canadian Petroleum Safety Council (CPSC), established in 1998. Now, the upstream petroleum industry has a new entity in the safety and training arena: a merger of PITS and CPSC has created Enform.

enform_pics_678px_wideThe first steps toward the merger began in early 2004. Then, representatives from the six upstream petroleum industry trade associations met to explore different approaches to improve the delivery of safety and training services. Industry as a whole felt a need for more effective internal communication and wanted a more focused approach to delivering safety initiatives. The six associations at the table seeking this integrated solution were the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP); the Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (SEPAC); the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC); the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA); the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC); and the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC).

These associations aspired to build one focused and driven organization that could manage all training and safety needs. On Sept. 20, 2005, PITS and CPSC combined their operations to become Enform, a non-profit organization offering training, certification, and health and safety services to the oil and gas industry.

Enform’s name originates from a combination of ‘energy’ and ‘information’. It is owned, directed and partially funded by CAPP, SEPAC, PSAC, CEPA, CAODC and CAGC.

Since it has grown out of a merger of two well-established training and safety organizations, Enform has a solid foundation and a tradition of experience and expertise in the delivery of world-class petroleum industry training courses and safety initiatives. And, as a non-profit organization, all revenues generated are re-invested into the organization to further the development of courses, course delivery methods, service offerings, facilities and safety awareness initiatives.

Enform’s Calgary Training Centre acts as head office and houses seven classrooms plus a computer lab. The Nisku Training Centre is Enform’s hands-on, world-class training facility that includes two operational drilling rigs, a service rig, well control facility, oil production facility, gas production facility, gas utility facility, rescue training facilities, 17 classrooms plus a skills training area. Enform also operates a High Vapour Pressure (HVP) Products Release Ignition Training facility in Genesee, Alberta.

One-Stop Shop

As a member of both the PITS and CPSC boards, Art Hibbard, president of Herriman Consultants Ltd., played an instrumental role in the formation of Enform. Today, Hibbard is proud of the collective effort to form what he calls “a one-stop shop for trade safety and training.”

“I was handed the mandate to look at ways to make safety and training more efficient, and more accessible,” explains Hibbard. “We wanted to make it easier to govern and administer. I spent the summer of 2004 examining the issues, and I returned to the stakeholders in fall 2004 with a proposal to amalgamate PITS and CPSC.”

“There was never any intention for Enform to be a platform for downsizing,” adds Hibbard. He says both PITS and CPSC were already “lean and mean.”

Enform continues the legacy of its two founding groups with a detailed mission statement borrowed from CPSC:

  • Coordinate an organized approach to achieve continuous improvement in health and safety for everyone involved in or affected by the petroleum industry.
  • Continually strive to eliminate the number and magnitude of workrelated injuries and illnesses through the promotion of health and safety principles, processes and practices for everyone in the industry.
  • Promote improved and standardized petroleum industry health and safety practices that meet regulatory requirements throughout Canada.
  • Promote worker safety and their right and responsibility to refuse to perform unsafe work.

“This is not an industry where safety comes easily,” says Enform president and CEO, Paul Schoenhals (formerly holding both titles with PITS). “Let’s face it, we use a lot of heavy equipment, put in a lot of hard work, long hours, and as an industry we really emphasize training. Enform has the potential to be the most important service group in the upstream industry.”

As Schoenhals explains, Enform sees a part of its roots in a 1989 recommendation – one of 42 – resulting from the Upstream Petroleum Industry Task Force on Safety (UPITFOS), designed to improve the safety performance of the oil and gas industry. Today, Enform strives to continuously reach related goals stemming from CPSC:

  • Develop and promote an effective and efficient communication system capable of keeping everyone working in the upstream petroleum industry aware of current issues, initiatives and progress.
  • Promote an increasing awareness of and commitment to industry safety among field personnel, through effective communication.
  • Provide a forum for industry and government to collaborate on industry safety.
  • Facilitate the development, approval and promotion of industry recommended practices that are recognized by industry regulators.
  • Coordinate dialogue on regulatory issues.
  • Establish cost-effective standards of performance, monitoring and reporting methods that will promote the achievement of CPSC’s vision.

Now, it is Enform that continues to educate, train and facilitate on behalf of the industry. In fact, according to Duane Mather, CEO of Nabors Canada LP and a board member of both CPSC and PITS, it is expected that the streamlining which resulted from the amalgamation will result in enhanced safety and training initiatives.”I believe there will be a move to expand,” says Mather, CAODC representative with Enform. “Having initiatives under one roof now, from a full training and safety aspect, is really beneficial. Now that the merger has settled, we’ll look closely at what demands are being placed on the new entity.”

Mather explains, when PITS and CPSC acted separately, there was a constant duplication of efforts to a large degree. Enform, he says, has created a “more productive and cohesive” effort.

“Sitting on both boards, sometimes their agendas were aimed at the same purpose,” Mather continues. “We seemed to be dealing with the same subject matters, in a lot of cases, from a safety and training aspect. It just made sense to be better coordinated under one roof, and therefore better utilize the resources available to the industry in order to tackle issues.”

Today, Enform offers programs and services in the following areas:

  • Technology courses – engineering, production, drilling, well service and petroleum fundamentals
  • Safety courses – hazardous substances, driver training, safety management and sector-specific courses
  • Environmental courses – land management, decommissioning and reclamation, waste management and spill response
  • Career development courses – management, pre-employment and competency assessment
  • Distance education courses – Internet-Based Training (IBT) and CDROM training
  • International training and customized training in 30 countries
  • Course manuals and books
  • Health and Safety Certificate of Recognition (COR) Program – Certifying partner for the petroleum industry
  • Safety services and resources – Industry Recommended Practices (IRPs), Petroleum Industry Annual Safety Seminar (PIASS), Safety Stand Down Week, information, awards and support
  • Competency assessment program – leads to Alberta government-issued Designated Occupation certification for qualifying candidates
  • Management of Western Canadian spill services – The petroleum industry’s commitment to spill preparedness and environmental protection

The COR program is of particular importance and exemplifies Enform’s presence in the petroleum industry. The certificate is awarded to petroleum industry companies who meet approved standards, and the program is driven by Industry Recommended Practice Vol. 9 (IRP 9). In fact, many petroleum companies require contractors to have a Health & Safety COR in order to be eligible to bid on projects. This is a volunteer program of measurement against a company’s health and safety program practices. And, by participating and gaining a Health & Safety COR, companies may qualify for WCB provincial rebates.

There are two types of programs available:

  1. A Regular COR applies to companies of 11 people or more (including contract employees) who achieve at least 80 per cent on a safety audit.
  2. A Small Employer COR applies to companies of 10 or fewer (including contract employees) who complete the required training and program documentation, as well as correct answers in the Self-Audit portion of the Basic Safety Program manual.

Complete information on this program is available at the Enform website,

Education is a Life-Long Process

According to Schoenhals, Enform is also responsible for franchising several of its courses to outside instructors to ensure consistent, high-quality programming is available throughout the industry. Enform also continues a tradition of working with colleges throughout Canada to provide Enform-specific petroleum industry courses.

Enform Vice President-Safety, Murray Sunstrum, says Enform not only continues with safety and training duties, but concurrently sees added responsibilities in both of those areas. He says the amalgamation of PITS and CPSC was really a “shuffling of the deck.”

“It made perfect sense to amalgamate,” Sunstrum says. “We had all the pieces to the puzzle. They were just scattered across the table. When the timing was right, and through Art Hibbard’s instrumental role, we arrived at a proposal to reorganize. In fact, if you look at our industry as a whole, it has reinvented itself three times over the past 20 years. We all have to adapt, otherwise we will be left behind by this entrepreneurial industry.”

Sunstrum agrees with Schoenhals’s assessment that there was an “overlapping” of efforts amongst PITS and CPSC, and that Enform makes it “much more simple” for industry stakeholders to obtain information on industry matters. Schoenhals adds, “There are now some synergies in terms of volunteer time, and there will be some monetary synergies as well. We now have a full-service safety association.” Adds Sunstrum, “Training and safety go hand in hand.”

Already, Enform is recognized as boasting the finest facilities in the world for hands-on training in oil and gas field disciplines. Enform is the only certified body in Canada for Drilling Blowout Prevention and Well Control (land and offshore), H2S Alive training and Well Service Blowout Prevention. Certification from Enform’s courses is recognized worldwide.

Benefits of the Merger

With Enform, the petroleum industry sees the following benefits from an integrated training and safety organization:

  1. Better communication with industry
    – Both PITS and CPSC historically have had success with ongoing communication with industry and its key stakeholders. With Enform, communication is enhanced as knowledge is shared and consistent messages about training and safety are continually developed.
  2. Reduced confusion with one window for safety and training
    – Industry has access to comprehensive knowledge, standards and experience through a single source.
    – Duplicated services are eliminated to provide users with a streamlined organization to address all training and safety needs.
    – Combining all association, industry and stakeholder data to create one central access point that can be accessed online 24/7.
    – All industry questions and concerns related to training and safety are communicated to one organization.
    – Enform can deal with issues on a more holistic level, by taking advantage of the strengths of PITS and CPSC to address industry issues.
  3. Greater efficiencies and effectiveness
    – There is enhanced access to information and one central location to seek assistance from experts in the petroleum industry.
  4. Better accountability, responsiveness and involvement
    – One organization, directed by one board of directors, ensures it is able to better understand issues facing the industry and respond quickly to industry driven requests for training and safety initiatives.
    – National incorporation results in a greater number of stakeholders having the opportunity to become involved with the direction and mandate of Enform.
  5. Improved governance
    – Combining two boards into a single entity provides for a more focused organization, with a clearer vision of how to respond to and provide high quality service to the petroleum industry.
  6. Greater reinvestment of revenues back into industry
    – With Enform providing enhanced training and safety initiatives to industry, injuries and lost time are reduced, thereby reducing costs to industry and increasing revenues.

“The merger of PITS and CPSC is a great benefit to the industry,” says Schoenhals. “With over 60 years of experience between the two organizations, it seemed like a natural fit to bring together safety and training under one umbrella. Enform now has a much broader presence, and can deliver services more cost effectively and with greater focus on areas of expertise.”

“Like our tagline says, Enform is the petroleum industry’s commitment to training and safety,” adds Schoenhals. “We will continue to be industry leaders in training and safety services in Canada and around the world.”