During a recent webinar, From Oil Rigs to Record Keeping: Tackling Data Management in the Energy Sector, our panel of records and information management experts — Brian Accrocco from Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY), Adam Holland from Diamondback Energy, Inc., and Wendy McClain from Valero Energy Corporation — shared their experiences and insights on records management in the energy industry.

In this blog post, we’ll review four of the challenges they identified and share best practices for overcoming them.

Challenge #1: Managing a Mountain of Data

With extremely long retention periods being the norm for energy companies, it’s no wonder that records managers in this industry are overwhelmed with the task of managing a vast amount of records, information, and data. From legacy data obtained through a merger or acquisition, to land surveys and well files, the types of information that need to be managed and retained require diligent records management.

Wendy McClain explained that it takes teamwork, collaboration, and the ability to exchange information or best practices with your network of colleagues in other companies to effectively manage that mountain of information. Don’t try to go at it alone!

However, even with help from colleagues, the sheer amount of data can still be difficult to manage. Brian Accrocco recommended starting by identifying what information is stored where. Whether it’s physical records stored on-site or off-site, digitized documents, legacy data, or information on Teams and SharePoint, you need to know where it’s stored in order to properly manage it.

Challenge #2: Legacy Systems and Data

Legacy systems often don’t talk with each other or with more modern systems, making them cumbersome to use. However, they’re frequently kept running because the records they contain need to be retained for a long period of time, and it’s seemingly impossible to move them to a more modern system without compromising security and privacy. This situation makes it extremely difficult to modernize.

Brian Accrocco explained why OXY is currently implementing a new, more modern records management system and retiring its old one. “We will not only be able to keep metadata about all of our physical records, but we’ll then be able to apply our retention to the records that we have in electronic file.” This will drastically cut down the amount of time it takes to locate a record and will allow OXY to disposition digital files more effectively.

If your organization needs to undergo a similar project, Access Unify™ | Secure Compliance makes it easy to sunset legacy systems and extract documents, content, and records while maintaining regulatory security and compliance.

Challenge #3: Managing Core Samples

Adam Holland identified that in the energy industry, records management goes beyond just paper and digital files. “We are being pulled in on core storage and core information, which normally we wouldn’t think is records management. We think of paper or electronic files, but now we’re being pulled into managing rock as well— actual rock.”

When dealing with core samples, finding a suitable off-site storage partner capable of handling and storing these heavy, brittle, and sometimes odorous samples is crucial. Additionally, be sure your off-site storage partner is able to capture custom data associated with the samples, apply metadata and other identification methods, and has environmentally controlled facilities.

What happens when you no longer need to retain a core sample? How do you disposition it? During the webinar, Brian recounted how his company donated samples to an agent organization, allowing them to maintain the scientific value and accessibility of the samples while removing them from their storage records.

Challenge #4: Creating a Relationship with IT and Legal Departments

Collaborating with the Information Technology and Legal departments is vital for effective records management. When IT and RIM support one another, they can create a more efficient environment to effectively manage records. When legal and RIM support one another, they’re able to consistently achieve compliance.

During the webinar, Adam shared his success in building a relationship with the legal department by involving them in decision-making processes, such as retention schedule development. Additionally, he explained how developing personal connections and finding shared interests can foster collaboration between records managers and professionals of other departments. By aligning goals and addressing shared pain points, they can work together to improve processes that benefit both departments.


By fostering teamwork, leveraging modern systems, ensuring proper management of core samples, and building relationships with IT and legal departments, records managers can effectively navigate the complexities of managing information in the energy industry. Overcoming these challenges ensures compliance and enables seamless access to critical information within the dynamic energy sector.

To hear additional insights and best practices from Brian, Adam, and Wendy, watch the recording of From Oil Rigs to Record Keeping: Tackling Data Management in the Energy Sector.