It has already been an historic year in 2011 for weather disasters. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is reporting that the economic cost from these events already surpasses $32 billion and the height of hurricane season is approaching. Typically, the year-to-date total is near $6 billion. The damages come from a combination of major weather events including severe weather outbreaks, winter storms and flooding.

In an effort to learn continually from other operators and to improve North America’s pipeline system safety, the American Gas Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, together with the Canadian Gas Association and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, have initiated a comprehensive study to explore safety models and procedures utilized by other industry sectors in an effort to deliver natural gas and pipeline-transported liquids more safely and reliably.

The automation side of the oil and gas business may seem one of the less glamorous parts of the industry, but without the proper controls in place, energy could not be delivered safely or efficiently anywhere in the world.

While recent oil spills has added to debate over the safety of shipping Canada’s oil sands crude through pipelines, there is little hard evidence that the oil is more corrosive than conventional crude, according to a report by Reuters which interviewed various scientists and regulators.

The natural gas market today is a completely different market from that of just three years ago. A shortage of supplies has turned into an overabundance, and production continues to outpace demand. In July 2008, the price of natural gas in Louisiana was close to $14 per MMBtu, and according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas production levels in the Lower 48 states was 62.78 Bcf/d. Today, the price of natural gas in Louisiana is hovering around $4 per MMBtu, and natural gas production levels in the Lower 48 states have climbed to over 69 Bcf/d.

Cameron has agreed to acquire LeTourneau Technologies Drillings Systems and Offshore Products divisions from Joy Global Inc. for approximately $375 million in cash.

The economy of every developed country in the world depends on the supply of oil, gas and water. The average American each day consumes two gallons of gasoline, 220 cubic feet of natural gas for heating and cooking, 30 kilowatt-hours of electricity- produced primarily from fossil fuels - and 150 gallons of water. The supply is an essential part of the critical infrastructure. Providing and protecting the security of that supply is a clear-cut mandate.

The latest “Summer Outlook” by the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) indicates that consumers of natural gas will benefit from stable and steady natural gas prices, which should also help the nation’s recovering industrial sector.

“If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing.”
– W. Edwards Deming

On April 18 at the National Pipeline Safety Forum, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Debbie Hersman posed the following question to a panel of industry representatives:

Japan’s March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident dealt a tremendous blow to nuclear facilities, both planned and operating, around the globe. It also ignited fresh interest in natural gas and added to the pressure on countries to replace coal power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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