Features

The oil and gas industry has a problem. With Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, energy companies are facing a shortage of talent. In Mercer’s “Oil & Gas Talent Outlook and Workforce Practices Survey,” it was reported that many oil and gas companies plan to poach employees from competitors to solve this dilemma.

“The overriding lesson: great software can fail if it is not paired with industry expertise.”
– Brett Vogt, Project Consulting Services, Inc.

Whether they are people, places or things, there is nothing that can escape electronic scrutiny in the 21st century, pipelines included. With the right planning, personnel and software systems, both industry and government representatives agree that the tools are in place to maintain control and complete records for the North American, if the not the world’s, oil and natural gas pipelines.

Picture today’s “typical” U.S. military serviceman. He’s in his early 20s. If he’s lucky, his mother and Uncle Sam have cooked for him his entire life, relieving him of the need to learn how. When left to his own devices, he gets by on a steady stream of delivery pizza and energy drinks. Not exactly the diet of champions. But he is a warrior and his body is young, strong and resilient. His daily boot-camp-inspired regimen of running, push-ups and pull-ups keeps him lean and fit.

It was 1964, and Ernest Hotze, a mechanical engineer who put himself through Oklahoma University working in oilfields, was trying to sell Tennessee Gas Pipeline some large compressors. Hotze worked for Clark Brothers, one of four big compressor manufacturers, and the business was very different from its modern incarnation.

As part of a record-setting industry meeting in May at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in North Dakota, Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple offered a keynote speech with one superlative after another about his sparsely populated, but energy- and agriculture-rich state. It seems his state is leading the nation in a number of categories these days, including having the happiest residents.

Human Machine Interface (HMI) has evolved significantly from the days when operations staff had to sit in front of a single screen to monitor a machine or a process. HMI/supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) applications now not only monitor and help control equipment and processes, but also provide a huge range of information regarding machine and plant operations.

You often find in the energy business those destined to leave their mark in the industry share two important components: an entrepreneurial spirt and vision. Line pipe producer Ahmet Erciyas is one of them. He could foresee that with its strategic geographic location that literally connects Asia and Europe, his homeland of Turkey would also be one of the global epicenters for energy development and transmisson.

The ability to unlock domestic shale formations has been transformational for the United States. However, the ripple effects of this energy boom extend well beyond the North American continent.

An insidious and often invisible enemy is eating away at the bottom line of the oil and gas industry.

Aggressive efforts are underway to reduce methane emissions from the natural gas sector and the industry is working on technologies and approaches for mitigating emissions. But it also must improve the way emissions are quantified. By establishing reasonable baselines, utilities will be able to provide more accurate reports about their emissions profiles and implement mitigation and reduction programs. GTI and its industry partners are working to update those baselines now.

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