Editor’s Message: The Changing Environment of Pipeline Construction

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It’s been a wild ride for the oil and gas pipeline industry so far in 2018. A new administration in the United States has fostered a favorable atmosphere for approving new pipeline projects, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been operating at full strength for most of the year. However, new tariffs on trade goods, such as steel and aluminum, have provided some challenges for the industry.

Meanwhile, a new administration in Canada and increased third-party opposition has made new pipeline construction more challenging in the provinces. And yet, there is still strong demand for increasing capacity to serve the country’s domestic markets, especially in the East. Bickering between Alberta and British Columbia governments led to Canada’s federal government buying Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline and the massive expansion project planned for the system.

With all that said, market analysts are still predicting 2018 to be another record year for pipeliners in North America.

The one thing that is clear is that change is afoot.

That leads me to the 2018 Pipeline Leadership Conference. Change is the theme for this year’s event, scheduled for Nov. 7-8, at the Hyatt Place Houston/The Woodlands. This annual event brings together pipeline operations, engineering and construction senior executives who are driving transformation and innovation in transmission and distribution pipeline system design, construction and operations.

The agenda is coming together for another strong conference, where the pipeline industry’s top leaders will lead robust discussion on the state of the market and solutions to overcome the challenges therein through people, process and practice. The two-day conference will feature an Executive Forum on Day 1, with topics geared toward operational excellence, safety management systems, project management and stakeholder communication, and a Workforce Forum on Day 2, with presentations aimed at recruitment, training and retaining the next generation of pipeliners.

A highlight of the first day will be the Executive Roundtable, which will feature Todd Denton, president of Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC, and Patrick Lamb, president of the Pipeliners Association of Houston (and senior vice president at Murphy Energy Group), among others, discussing “The Changing Environment of Pipeline Construction,” with particular focus on the impact to capital spending and workforce needs in 2019-2020.

To cap off the second day, conference organizers are assembling a Student-led Pipeline Innovations Workshop, where conference attendees will have a chance to interact with college-level students who are pursuing careers in the industry. This will give both parties an opportunity to gain crucial information about potential job opportunities and accrue valuable insights into the pipeline industry and its future.

Visit PLConference.com to learn more details about the Pipeline Leadership Conference and for registration information. I look forward to seeing you in November.

Brad Kramer | Managing Editor
bkramer@benjaminmedia.com Twitter: @NAOGP1

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