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Y2K is A-OK for Oil and Gas Industries

Y2K is A-OK for Oil and Gas Industries

Using results from their latest Y2K survey as proof, the Natural Gas Council and the American Petroleum Institute (API) deemed their working group, formed to spur on Y2K readiness throughout the oil and gas industries, a success. With over two months to go, 93% of the oil and gas companies surveyed said their embedded systems are ready for the Year 2000 and the rest expect to be done soon, leaders of the working group said at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. last week.

"At our last conference, I challenged the oil and gas industries to meet the working group's chosen benchmark date for Y2K readiness --- Sept. 30," said James Hoecker, chairman of both FERC and the working group. "The industry responded and today's survey results show that nearly all companies within both industries are Y2K ready with respect to embedded systems and business systems. The remainder expect to be ready before the end of the year."

This is the last survey before the rollover date on Dec. 31. It polled 2,250 companies and gained 2,160 responses, representing a 96% participation rate, the most received for a Y2K survey so far. The total amount of respondents accounted for 94% of oil and gas volumes used in the nation. Hoecker said the survey included 84% of producers, 94% of refineries, 99% of pipelines, 94% of natural gas distributors (measured in terms of percentage of volumes delivered nationally), and 77% of the nation's 180,000 retail gas stations.

Besides the embedded systems results, the survey also said that 92% of the respondents' business systems are prepared for the rollover. Respondents said by the end of October, these numbers will improve to 97% and 96% respectively, and reach 99% by the end of November. Supply chain systems, which the survey said stand at 83% preparedness, are expected to reach 96% by Nov. 31 and be complete by the end of December.

John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion (which the working group reports to) said this survey is an achievement because in September of 1998, only 66% of the oil and gas volumes in the U.S. participated in the survey. He said the rise in participation was caused by "a combination of peer group pressure, outreach by the trade participation, benchmarking and standard-setting to measure up to." He added that despite these optimistic results, "there is still work to be done."

Another reason for the high participation rate in the survey was the method in which it was conducted. The working group destroyed the surveys after extracting the information for the responses, said Peggy Laramie, a spokeswoman for the American Gas Association (AGA), a member of the Natural Gas Council. "That way, companies knew we were not trying to point fingers and that we were just trying to fix problems," she said.

By itself, the AGA sent out 158 surveys and gained 152 responses. It found that 94% of its respondents had finished updating their embedded systems and 87% had finished their business systems. All of the respondents said both areas would be complete by the end of November.

John Norris

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