East Meets West At 46th IPLOCA Convention

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By Catherine Watkins, Contributing Editor 

The 46th annual convention of the International Pipeline and Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA) convened in Istanbul, a dynamic city where East meets West and the past and present collide. The venue was perfectly suited as the 680 delegates from the U.S. to China and from Norway to New Zealand greeted each other as friends and colleagues. The program kicked off with the welcoming remarks by Osman Birgili, outgoing president of IPLOCA and senior vice president of Tekfen Construction. 
   Birgili joined Tekfen as a young engineer almost 35 years ago because he sought the international experiences that the company offered while allowing him to remain in his hometown of Istanbul. He started attending IPLOCA meetings 15 years ago, initially with the purpose of networking but soon learned to appreciate the IPLOCA family not only for the business opportunities but also for the pleasure of meeting interesting people at the convention and, he added, “I like eating and drinking as well!” 
   This is the third time that Birgili has served on the Board and, as president, he is proud of the “Pipeline Construction Safety Instructor’s Tool” which has been made available to members this year as well as getting “Onshore Pipelines: The Road to Success” online and starting the third edition. Unfortunately, Birgili echoed the frustration of the two previous presidents stating that IPLOCA needs more dedication from its members and increased participation in committees and workgroups.  About organizing the convention in his own home town, he says that no one should have to do that more than once!  
   The convention speakers that followed Birgili’s introduction also reflected the diversity of place and time, opening with a historic overview of Istanbul and its population by Prof. Ilber Ortayli, the former head of the Topkapi Museum and continuing with a forward-looking presentation by Suzanne Minter of BENTEK Energy on the importance of shale gas. Minter attributed the phenomenal growth of U.S. shale finds to technology development, pointing out a rig efficiency rate of 610% of the rate 5 years earlier. She pointed out the positive impact on drilling rig counts, with about 12 rigs added every month for the past year, the potential investment of over $15 billion in pipeline projects in the U.S. in the next five years and an estimated 4.1 MMbopd  in production that will likely increase the rig count in the lower 48 states… (continue)

McElroy Launches Online University Experience

McElroy is giving their educational branch a new set of online tools. For more than 30 years, company officials say the company has been the only pipe fusion machine manufacturer to continuously offer basic and advanced training. McElroy University’s courses have been attended by thousands of students over the years. The training sessions give students the opportunity to become certified in fusion operations or more knowledgeable in the troubleshooting and repair of fusion machines.

   In September, McElroy University launched a new online home at www.mcelroy.com/university. The McElroy University site has a set of online instruction videos that are designed to  become the fusion industry’s most complete set of instructional resources as more are added each month. The videos are hosted by YouTube, making them accessible by most smartphones, tablets and computers. Also, a comprehensive course listing is available for hands-on training and certification, complete with online registration capabilities… (continue)

Nord Stream’s Twin Pipelines Come Onstream

On October 8, 2012, just 30 months after the start of construction, Nord Stream’s fully-integrated twin pipeline system was onstream.   

  Gas from fields in northern Russia began flowing through the Unified Gas Supply System of Russia into Gazprom’s new, state-of-the-art compressor station Portovaya. The compressor station enables the transmission of gas via the 1,224 km Nord Stream Pipelines all the way to Germany through the Baltic Sea without interim compression… (continue) 

Pipeline To Transport West Texas Crude Oil

Although Sunoco Logistics Partners has received sufficient binding commitments to enable Permian Express Phase I, a project to transport West Texas crude oil to Gulf Coast markets, to proceed, the binding open season was continued until September 6, 2012.
  As previously announced, Permian Express Phase I will provide continuous pipeline service from Wichita Falls, TX Nederland/Beaumont, TX markets… (continue)

New Pension Fund For Pipeline Workers Established

The trustees that comprise the board of the newly established National Teamsters Pipeline Pension Fund met on Sept. 28 at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) in Washington, DC to discuss final stages for setting up the fund and other organizational matters. This pension fund will provide benefits for Teamsters who are pipeline workers.
  The trustees elected David Laborde, director of the Pipeline Division for the Teamsters Building Materials and Construction Division, as chairman. The fund’s board of trustees consists of three union and three management trustees. General President Jim Hoffa appointed as trustees LaBorde; Marion Davis, director of the Building Materials and Construction Division; and International Trustee Kevin Moore… (continue)

Protecting Pipelines In Challenging Terrain

Omnisens supplied fiber optic monitoring for ground movement, pipeline deformation and temperature measurement along the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok pipeline, owned and operated by Gazprom.  The gas transmission system, that began operations in October 2011, transports gas along Russia’s East Coast through challenging and unstable terrain. The pipeline passes through 94-km of high seismic activity and 32 tectonic faults zones along its 1,822 km route.
  The continuous, real-time monitoring of ground movement and pipeline deformation with 3D positioning allows the operator to take action at the earliest stage, thus enabling timely risk mitigation and ensuring pipeline integrity through the understanding of actual pipeline structural conditions and ground movement events… (continue) 

Successful Open Season For Allegheny Access Pipeline

Sunoco Logistics announced a successful open season for Sunoco Pipeline L.P. and Inland Corporation’s Allegheny Access pipeline project, which will transport refined products from the Midwest to eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania markets. Enough binding commitments from shippers have been received to enable the project to move forward… (continue)

Excelerate Energy To Export LNG

The U.S. Department of Energy has granted Excelerate Energy a long-term, multi-contract authorization to export LNG to free trade agreement nations from its Lavaca Bay LNG project, currently under development. The company will be authorized to export up to 10 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG produced from domestic resources for a 20-year term commencing on the date of its first export… (continue)