Last week CEPA announced a program called the CEPA Land Representatives Industry Orientation for Federally Regulated Pipelines, a training program developed to create respectful, consistent and transparent dialogue between land representatives and landowners.
Land representatives who work for CEPA member companies that operate federally-regulated pipelines will have to complete the orientation and sign an acceptance agreement that will be submitted to the company they are working for.
We’ve broken down the program into a few basics you should know:
Who are landowners? Pipeline routes often need to cross privately-owned land. Therefore, engagement and consultation with landowners is necessary before, during and after the construction of a pipeline.
“(The industry’s) reputation matters and excellence in landowner relationships is fundamental to having social acceptance to operate,” explained Dave Kmet, who works with TransCanada and was chair of the committee that developed the orientation program.
Who are land representatives? A land representative, or land agent, negotiates on behalf of a pipeline company on issues including compensation and acquiring an interest in land.
The Land Representatives Industry Orientation package will apply to any land representative who negotiates with a landowner for all interests or compensation matters.
The program consists of an industry training module and an industry code of conduct each land representative will have to read and understand. They will then need to sign an acceptance agreement, which requires that they complete a professional ethics course. This orientation is, of course, on top of training already provided by the pipeline company they work for.
“It is important that the appropriate quality and content of information is readily available to landowners and conveyed to them by a representative who understands the information being provided,” said Kmet about the importance of having consistent training across the pipeline industry.
The code of conduct will give all representatives a common set of principles and values to govern their interactions with landowners, and the industry orientation will help representatives give the public consistent and accurate information.
“A lack of understanding by the representative can result in differing explanations and lead to mistrust and uncertainty amongst landowners as they hear different explanations for the same process,” said Kmet, who has worked with stakeholders on land matters for 34 years.
This program is just one example of how pipeline companies are collaborating in order to continually improve the performance of the industry. In this instance, setting a consistent (and high) standard for land representatives with CEPA’s federally-regulated pipeline companies will benefit both companies and landowners.
“The landowner is properly informed and should have a higher level of confidence in engaging with companies,” explained Kmet.
CEPA intends to implement a similar orientation program for provincially-regulated pipelines.
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 115,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2012, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.