Case Study | Land Management

TC Energy

Headquartered in Calgary, TC Energy’s team of 7,300 employees is dedicated to safe working environments, innovative energy solutions, and minimal environmental impact. The company has operated pipelines, storage facilities, and power plants throughout North America for over seven decades. 

Irth Helps Energy Companies Navigate the Complexities of Land Management

TC Energy maintains over 58,100 miles of natural gas pipelines and 3,045 miles of oil and liquids pipelines that supply markets across the U.S. — which translates to 16,000 leases agreements that they need to juggle. In 2013, Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG), then a NiSource entity, wanted to:

  • Upgrade its 1998 land software system
  • Consolidate several other land databases into the new system
  • Have one system to track new projects, such as acquisitions, etc.

They selected geoAMPS, now Irth Land & ROW Management, as the solution. In 2016, CPG was acquired by TC Energy. In 2020, the US Land department at TC Energy decided to consolidate several legacy TC Energy land systems that maintain records for the US Land natural gas facility into Irth Land & ROW Management.

  • Problem

Beyond the logistical considerations of updates and increased accessibility, TC Energy needed a more robust system to help them stay on top of their ever-growing load of new projects.

According to Kevin McCoy, a Land Analyst at TC Energy, leadership of the US Land department wanted one solution to manage everything related to land document management, including the acquisition phase, operational phase, and retirement phase.

For example, they wanted to be able to quickly start a new project by inputting the necessary information directly into the system used by the operations team. Under their old solution, the project team would have to acquire the agreement and then send it to someone else to input into a separate system, which essentially duplicated work. They needed something to streamline the process of inputting and applying the large amounts of data that multiplied across their wide range of land management projects.

They also needed a better way to keep track of crucial historical land data. When an energy company operates as long as TC Energy has been around, the parcels of land that a stretch of pipeline occupies can change a lot. The subdivisions, acquisitions, divestitures, and mergers that occur over decades can greatly complicate long-standing lease agreements.

Finally, they needed a solution that could handle all the nitty-gritty details of 16,000 lease agreements, such as when a payee has 33.333% interest and causes a payout to be calculated as slightly less than the amount legally defined in the agreement.

  • Solution

In Irth, TC Energy found the do-it-all platform they were looking for. Their employees can easily access up-to-date information anywhere they need to be. And with new projects always rolling in, they’ve streamlined the ramp-up process across the board. TC Energy uses Irth Land & ROW Management to:

  • Access real-time information to collaborate across teams

  • Eliminate duplication of work because there’s one system of record

  • Manage thousands of complex payments each month through the system

  • Generate reports and more

  • Results

TC Energy has simplified lease agreement management. They use the Irth Land & ROW Management GIS component for growth projects. Historical facilities are only available in their old system. With Irth, they can simply select a parcel and view all the agreements attached to it — and then use that information without having to switch to another app. 

Irth’s customer outreach module also streamlined lease ownership transfers. When TC Energy receives a request for a change in ownership, they can quickly create a ticket, attach the necessary documentation, and assign it to a land analyst, who can work on the ticket wherever they may be.

Irth’s Payment Manager provides an easy way to search for pending payments in a particular period by the operating company. Items that create errors (such as missing tax identification numbers) are automatically identified. The Irth system ensures errors cannot be included in the check file until the errors are resolved. Once all errors are settled, the Irth system generates a final check file that can be uploaded for processing by TC Energy’s outward-facing accounts payable payment system.

Also, when lease ownership is split between multiple owners, Irth has what McCoy calls “the penny feature.” This feature provides an error message advises when there is a rounding inaccuracy resulting in a total payment that is either less or more than the amount due. The errors message prompts the user to select where a penny (or more) should be added or removed. 

  • One thing we always liked about the system is the customer outreach module and how we can create payments through the system. And then, of course, there’s a reporting tool.”

    Kevin McCoy, Land Analyst at TC Energy

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