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If you are lucky enough to have grown up in Texas, you are all too familiar with how popular culture, particularly Hollywood, has glamorized the life of a wildcatter or roughneck. The movie Giant depicts James Dean on a windswept Texas countryside, sopping head to toe in newly discovered oil. While maybe a compelling drama, as a Texas Railroad Commissioner, I can tell you this is far from reality.

In recent years, the technological advances in recovering hydrocarbons trapped in tight formations, like shale, using unconventional drilling methods (horizontal drilling in conjunction with multi-stage hydraulic fracturing) have made U.S. oil production grow dramatically.

The free-falling oil price caught many observers off guard. Historically, crude oil and natural gas prices tend to stay in alignment as the imbedded energy content is the defining characteristic. Since 2010, when the price of these commodities separated, many observers anticipated upward volatility in the price of gas to realign it with the price of oil. Few analysts anticipated oil falling to realign with low-cost natural gas.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calls our nation’s natural gas abundance “a game-changer in our ability to really move forward with pollution reductions.” She’s right. Expanding natural gas use for power generation is the primary reason the U.S. has reduced carbon emissions more than any other country over the past eight years and driven sulfur dioxide and smog-forming NOx emissions down by more than two-thirds over the past two decades.

Recently EnLink Midstream invited me out to West Texas to see my first pipeline spread – the Martin County Extension Pipeline. On the way to the line we stopped by the Deadwood gas plant where I met Chris Coleman, EnLink Midstream’s senior landman. He was amiable, genuine and welcoming, even letting me ride shotgun in his work truck, which I had to jump to get into. As we drove across the flat Texas land, kicking up a flurry of red dirt, he began telling me about his job.

NYSEARCH/Northeast Gas Association (NGA) and development partner Invodane Engineering have introduced the Explorer series of robotic internal inspection platforms and sensors which can perform integrity assessments on natural gas pipelines now incapable of using conventional inline inspection (ILI) technology. The commercial partner on the project is Pipetel Technologies Inc.

Crude from the Canadian oil sands deposits gained an additional major outlet in the U.S. when the joint venture of Enbridge, Inc. and Enterprise Products Partners L.P. completed construction of its Cushing-to-Texas pipeline and started deliveries in December to Gulf Coast refineries.

The new pipeline’s operations and routes are very similar to TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline project for bringing oil sands crude to the Gulf Coast.

Valve misalignments are a real issue in the petrochemical industry where misalignments in tank fields and blending areas can result in financial losses from product quality and environmental safety issues. This article describes an electronic pin board software solution developed by Matrix Technologies, Inc., a certified member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), to mitigate valve misalignments and improve efficiency in the alignment process. It also details some of the underlying technologies used in the software and the gains that have resulted from its use.

The late 19th century’s most brilliant businessman, J.D. Rockefeller, was an oil tycoon who discovered that the best way to take advantage of his country’s growing thirst for oil was to control distribution. Although the pipeline that Rockefeller built in the 1870s wouldn’t look like much compared to today’s sophisticated pipeline networks, it was an engineering feat that helped his company ensure oil got to the clients who needed it most.

Recently EnLink Midstream invited me out to West Texas to see my first pipeline spread – the Martin County Extension Pipeline. On the way to the line we stopped by the Deadwood gas plant where I met Chris Coleman, EnLink Midstream’s senior landman. He was amiable, genuine and welcoming, even letting me ride shotgun in his work truck, which I had to jump to get into. As we drove across the flat Texas land, kicking up a flurry of red dirt, he began telling me about his job.

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