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Virtual Pipeline Leadership Conference Explores Future of Industry

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The Sixth Annual Pipeline Leadership Conference was presented Nov. 10, 12, 17 and 19, and focused on trends and impacts on the future of oil and gas pipeline and utility development.

The conference was presented virtually in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme for the event was “A 2020 Vision for Pipelines: What the Futures Holds.”

Highlights of the Pipeline Leadership Conference included two panel discussions on the U.S. Political Landscape on Nov. 10 and The Role of Pipelines to Achieve a Low-Carbon Future on Nov. 19. Both presentations futured high-level experts who broke down the ramifications of the U.S. Presidential Elections, what to expect from a regulatory standpoint and how pipelines and fossil fuels fit into a world concerned about climate change.

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Panelists for the U.S. Political Landscape discussion included two industry lobbyists in Martin Edwards, principal at Ice Miller Strategies, and Matt Keelan, founder and president of The Keelan Group (TKG), as well as Toby Mack, president and CEO of the Energy Equipment & Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) and Zachary Perconti, legislative and governmental affairs associate at Wyman Associates. The session was moderated by Eben Wyman, founder of Wyman Associates. The panelists discussed how President-Elect Joe Biden would approach the energy industry and possible regulatory initiatives from federal and state agencies.

Participants in The Role of Pipelines to Achieve a Low-Carbon panel discussion included Sue Forrester, vice president of advocacy and outreach for the American Gas Association (AGA); Charles McConnell, executive director of Carbon Management and Energy Sustainability at the University of Houston; and Dr. Sergio Kapusta, executive director of the Energy & Natural Resources Initiative at Rice University. The discussion covered the AGA’s efforts in fighting natural gas distribution and pipeline bans and how a low-carbon future will require all forms of energy and energy infrastructure. Mark Bridgers, principal at Continuum Capital, moderated the discussion.

The robust agenda also focused on the economic outlook and trends for 2021 and beyond, the impacts of the pandemic on the pipeline industry and strategies to approach potential future shutdowns, workforce development efforts to bring in younger stakeholders and how the pipeline industry can aid in stopping human trafficking.

Doug Banning (left) during the Pipeline Leadership Award presentation with Bernie Krzys (center) and Mark Bridgers.

However, the conference kicked off with the presentation of the annual Pipeline Leadership Award to retired Miller Pipeline and Minnesota Limited CEO Doug Banning. Benjamin Media CEO and publisher Bernie Krzys and Bridgers presented the award to Banning at the Miller Pipeline headquarters in Indianapolis. The presentation was followed by a series of congratulatory videos from several of Banning’s colleagues during his distinguished career. A profile of Banning appeared in the September/October issue of North American Oil & Gas Pipelines.  

RELATED: Doug Banning’s Legacy of Safety Earns Him 2020 Pipeline Leadership Award

The Economic Outlook on Nov. 12 featured a discussion of how current factors are impacting capital spending in the oil and gas pipeline industry, providing a forecast of activity for the next four to eight years. Panelists included Dean Foreman, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Marianne Kah, adjunct senior research scholar and member of the advisory board for Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. Bridgers served as moderator.

The Pipelines and the Pandemic panel discussion also on Nov. 12 featured Chris Chandler, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Plains All American Pipeline LP; Mary Palkovich, vice president of gas advocacy for Consumers Energy Co.; and Kevin Petak, a market analyst and vice president of the research firm ICF. North American Oil & Gas Pipelines managing editor Brad Kramer served as moderator.

The Workforce Development panel discussion on Nov. 17 featured Laura Morrow, vice president of communications for Artera Services; Chelle Travis, executive director of SkillsUSA; and Ryan Tinder, national secretary, high schools — Oklahoma, for SkillsUSA. Jay Rendos, director of Continuum Capital, moderated.

The Human Trafficking Awareness in the Energy Industry presentation also on Nov. 17 featured a broad discussion of how construction contractor Precision Pipeline LLC has worked to eliminate this crime through a five-step training program. Lindsey Mattson, Manager, creative services manager for Precision Pipeline, and Rachel Johnson, manager of public relations for the company, provided a detailed overview of how human trafficking intersects with the energy industry and how other companies can help prevent it.

The archived videos of the presentations for the 2020 Pipeline Leadership Conference are available to those who missed the live event by registering at https://pheedloop.com/virtualplc/site/register. Planning is underway for the Seventh Annual Pipeline Leadership Conference to take place in Houston in November 2021. Stay tuned to www.plconference.com for details.

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