Q&A with Jim Grindinger: API Q2 Specification for QMS Compliance

Christy Ullo
I recently spoke with with Jim Grindinger, program director (Energy & Industrial) and managing director for ieAssurance in our Chicago office, regarding the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) new compliance standards (the Q2) for the petroleum and natural gas industries and the new joint venture company, ieAssurance, now poised to deliver these compliance services to the industry.

Q. Why is Q2 compliance critical to the oil and gas industry and how can companies prepare for the anticipated global mandate? 

Jim Grindinger: Let’s start with a historical perspective. In response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the administration launched comprehensive reforms for offshore oil and gas regulation and oversight. These reforms are quality assurance-based for everything from well design and workplace safety to corporate accountability, to ensure that the United States can safely and responsibly expand development of its energy resources. In December 2011, the API released the Specification for Quality Management System Requirements for Service Supply Organizations for the Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries (the Q2). They have also publicly released a proposed schedule for voluntary/mandatory Q2 compliance that is launching in North America and the Gulf of Mexico in 2013, and will quickly expand to international regions and it is anticipated to be a global mandate by 2016.

What’s critical here is that we adopt controlled standards for the industry to help avoid future catastrophes.  Every month, we read about explosions and avoidable incidents in the industry that simply shouldn’t occur.

As API is not a standards implementation organization, oil and gas producers, suppliers and all associated vendors, distributers and suppliers will have to seek third-party service providers like ieAssurance to proceed with evaluation, implementation and integration of the new Q2 specification requirements into their operations to become Q2 compliant by the industry mandated (and possibly federal) timeline.

What’s critical here is that we adopt controlled standards for the industry to help avoid future catastrophes.  Every month, we read about explosions and avoidable incidents in the industry that simply shouldn’t occur. 

Q. What is the purpose of the International Energy Assurance (ieAssurance) joint venture?

JG: ieAssurance is a new international company formed to deliver the API Q2 Compliance program to the industry. We are a joint venture between Faithful+Gould and TIEC (Texas International Engineering Consultants) that will deliver and guide companies to become compliant with the new API Q2 specification. We service all sectors of the industry supply chain for oil and gas owners, operators, service providers and vendors. Our goal is to put the focus on quality management systems and make companies more efficient, increase operational efficiency and reduce risk. The oil majors are calling for a “voluntary/mandatory” stance on quality management systems and implementing the Q2 program and we are working with the majors and governmental agencies to deliver this to the industry. Implementing and upgrading quality management systems within organizations has its challenges, but the short and long-term benefits far outweigh the costs to the company. ieAssurance is available to assist you in navigating this culture change within your company.

Q. Why did Faithful+Gould collaborate in a joint venture with TIEC to provide ieAssurance?  

JG: ieAssurance was formed as both Faithful+Gould and TIEC are heavily involved in similar quality assurance initiatives and joining forces leverages the strengths from both companies to enable us to deliver the services to the industry. Formation of ieAssurance allows clients to draw on the training, resources and complete range of specialized energy sector compliance skills of both Faithful+Gould, with its energy sector expertise and project assurance service offerings, and TIEC, with its long history of API affiliation, quality compliance and upstream experience.

It’s important to note that Faithful+Gould was contacted by TIEC through a recommendation. Faithful+Gould was selected from a short list of international consultants that had the depth of experience to collaborate on this program, and we do feel fortunate to be affiliated with such a well respected company like TIEC.

Faithful+Gould was selected from a short list of international consultants that had the depth of experience to collaborate on this program, and we do feel fortunate to be affiliated with such a well respected company like TIEC.

Q. What unique qualifications does Faithful+Gould bring to the joint venture?  

JG: Faithful+Gould is a leading project management consultancy in the planning and delivery of projects. We always operate at the forefront of our industry, and have been providing quality support services and our constructive expertise to the public and private sectors for more than 60 years. We are headquartered in New York and have a team of approximately 550 experts in offices across North America engaged with our clients and delivering successful projects, regardless of the size, environment or industry.

We also have a major presence on an international scale and give the joint venture a global reach that’s required to meet the delivery of the Q2 standards to major international clients. Faithful+Gould’s parent company, Atkins, is a major force in project engineering across many sectors and provides a huge depth of resources and knowledge to ieAssurance. The reputation and list of clients of all the companies involved in this joint venture speaks for itself. 

Q. What are the primary services offered? 

JG: The primary service of the joint venture is to deliver a new API Q2 Compliance program and other supplier quality management compliance and assurance services to oil and gas industry owners, operators, service suppliers and vendors to become compliant to the new API Q2 specification. The Q2 compliance program will be focused around the auditing of supply chain and quality management practices that are used in every global market creating a unified and collaborative approach that increases quality standards for our clients. The nature of the Q2 specification requires a thorough audit of all processes interrelated to supply chain and quality management within an organization and applicable sites, thus demanding a thorough and in-depth audit within a company, their site operations and their suppliers. Since we understand that processes, management systems and software are interrelated, we also do systems reviews and upgrades that allow companies to integrate the management of their supply chain, contracts, document control, etc., on an enterprise or project level that greatly increases their efficiency and productivity, and let’s not forgot, their ability to implement quality assurance measures into an integrated system and processes.

We also offer Q1 and Q2 seminar training classes at the TIEC training center in Houston, Southeast Asia and the UK, with offerings starting up in Australia, Europe and South America later this year.

ieAssurance utilizes a four-tiered approach to review all processes related to supply chain and quality management systems within an organization, including onshore and offshore facilities, and extending to suppliers in any location.

Q. Can you outline the program approach?  

JG: ieAssurance utilizes a four-tiered approach to review all processes related to supply chain and quality management systems within an organization, including onshore and offshore facilities, and extending to suppliers in any location. 

Tier 1 – GAP Analysis  

The initial audit will consist of auditing the client’s current status against the most crucial criteria defined within the Q2 Compliance Guideline. Upon completion of the evaluation, the team will deliver a detailed GAP analysis that includes an evaluation of the current state and client status in relation to compliance standards and observations, based off the client’s current status and efforts required towards meeting new Q2 standards. This will evaluate all client processes that may be covered by Q2 standards.  At the client’s request, the team would proceed into the Tier 2 service.

Tier 2 – Turnkey Development & Implementation of Compliance Plan, Including Training 

Based on the Tier 1 GAP analysis, the team will develop a detailed turnkey Compliance and Implementation Plan, which outlines a plan and schedule to eliminate the GAPS for the client to pass the Q2 compliance audit. This will include the revision and creation of all plans, procedures, management systems and integration solutions and training for all affected areas. As part of our program we will offer Enterprise Program and Project Management System Solutions to meet all our client management systems upgrade needs.

Tier 3 – Compliance Readiness Audit

The Compliance Readiness Audit ensures compliance readiness prior to the formal API certification audit. The ieAssurance team will audit the quality management system to verify system implementation and compliance to the API Q2 specification. The team will also assist in any formal management reviews organized by the client prior to the formal API audit.

Tier 4 - Witness Services

We will provide a witness service team during formal API certification audit, with resolution of non- compliance factors found during API certification audit.

Q. Where will the program be conducted?   

JG: We go to the client’s offices and field locations for the evaluations and training. This program starts at the top with executive management, and evaluates all tiers of employee services down to the products and services produced by the company. For larger and longer term efforts we can also embed our personnel within a client’s organization to provide quality assurance oversight every step of the way and be part of their daily operation. Types of client locations include:  onshore field sites including drilling rig sites, both operational and non-operational, with warehouses, laydown yards, offices; client headquarter offices and other associated offices; offshore drilling platforms; and, vendor manufacturing facilities.

Q. Any follow-up/ancillary services? 

JG: Additionally, ieAssurance can provide API specification Q2 training classes, API university development, field service audits and management services/integration solutions. Ongoing project work can also address related compliance services including system integration expertise, enterprise and project management system solutions, and field service and rig preparatory audits.

And don’t forget that each company provides its core consulting services in project management, risk management, management of change, project controls, technical and specifications consulting and many other core competencies. 

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Christy Ullo Vice President - Marketing & Communications Contact me View my profile >