Our team just got back from the ILTA (International Liquid Terminals Association) Annual Operating Conference and Trade Show in Houston. We met with many midstream industry professionals to network, share best practices, find solutions, and learn about the latest in industry trends and technology. This year, speakers focused on improving operational efficiency, worker safety, technology innovations, and achieving regulatory compliance.
Sessions were offered in English and Spanish. Antea Group conducted two presentations including The Importance of Management Systems in Oil & Gas Operations, and Fire Protection Equipment Inspection, Testing and Maintenance: an Overview of NFPA 25. We also facilitated a forum for terminal operators and industry suppliers on the common challenges that affect operations in Latin America. It’s great to see the conference continue to grow, encouraging the industry to focus on sustainable and strategic operations, and we’re excited to translate the momentum into collaborative actions.
Here were our top takeaways from this year’s event:
1. A Reduction in EPA and OSHA Enforcement Doesn’t Mean Let Your Guard Down
Several presenters discussed the topic of EPA and OSHA budget cuts, and the general uncertainty surrounding the agencies in the current U.S. political climate. This may result in senior level positions in the agencies not being filled, potentially reducing enforcement actions. However, even if this proves true, increased NGO, state, and local organizations, along with private citizen complaints and lawsuits, may fill the void, so this is no time for organizations to fall down on their compliance efforts.
2. Maturing M&A Due Diligence Techniques
Buyers of oil, and gas, and petroleum assets are employing more sophisticated techniques during their due diligence process, including predictive modeling for liability valuations, better balancing transparency with confidentiality, building a shared vision, and openly addressing risk. A good due diligence process can be a differentiator for high performing companies looking to grow.
3. Proactive, Not Reactive, Compliance
The terminal industry is becoming more proactive in terms of compliance, safety, and technology. The industry has begun and needs to continue to get ahead of the game, whether or not regulations are relaxed at the administration level, in order to reap long-term benefits. This kind of internal motivation can be a powerful thing, and help organizations make bigger strides more quickly than they otherwise would.
4. Visibility Powered by Technology
Technology, such as FLIR (forward looking infrared) cameras, drones, and even augmented reality equipment is rapidly evolving and can be used by regulators and NGOs or other private interests. The use of FLIR cameras and aerial drone photography is increasing substantially, and this information may be utilized to accurately capture conditions as they relate to permits and regulatory compliance.
5. Specialized Training Needed for Municipal Fire Departments
If a fire occurs in a terminal and the terminal has no limited emergency response capabilities, the municipal fire department has the responsibility of fighting the fire. However, local firefighters are at risk because they have limited training capabilities, equipment, and budgets for this kind of work. Terminals may lose valuable emergency response time and suffer losses if emergency response capabilities are not planned for, optimized and improved.
Looking Ahead to Next Year
If you missed the conference but want more information, here are the slides from Antea Group’s presentations. You can also check out the ILTA website for updates about next year’s conference. We hope to see you there!
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