Members of Antea Group’s oil and gas segment team were excited to attend the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Pipeline Conference in St. Louis, Missouri this past week. Since this year’s conference was connected with their Cybernetics Symposium, there was a heavy focus on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and cybersecurity to protect those systems. As the oil and gas industry becomes more automated and efficient, it also becomes more susceptible to hackers, so it was good to see experts in this field focused on new ways to keep petroleum delivery systems safe and operating.
Here are some of the other hot topics that we found fascinating at this year’s event:
Natural Disasters and Emergency Response
One of the big topics of this conference was hurricane Harvey and its impacts on Houston, a major U.S. hub for petroleum refining and delivery. But not all natural disasters are that large--the conference also provided some great lessons learned on small natural disasters, such as a single pipeline being eroded by scour during spring runoff and thereby exposed and damaged. Any release to the environment, no matter what size, is a serious event. Fortunately, API’s RP 1174 guidance for On-shore Hazardous Liquid Emergency Preparedness and Response provides companies with a management system framework to prepare for emergencies. Antea Group’s own incident management solution (AIM) can also help companies prepare for and respond to releases to the environment.
Safety Management Systems
Pipeline companies are making significant progress implementing Safety Management Systems (SMS) in their organizations using the API RP 1173 management system framework. It was interesting to learn about the challenges companies face and obstacles overcome as operators embark upon the SMS journey, for example, establishing realistic expectations and timelines for implementation and performance improvement. If you’re in need of extra support, Antea Group’s safety and management system experts can assist operators with gap assessments, procedure development, and auditing programs.
Public Awareness and Working with Tribes
Especially in these days of social media, it is important for pipeline managers to help the public understand the efforts put forth and the progress being made toward operating pipelines in a safe manner. On tribal lands, working with and respecting tribes is key to both constructing new projects as well as maintaining the infrastructure we already have. Stakeholder outreach during emergency responses or capital improvement projects is increasingly vital, as is developing a solid strategy during the planning process to help permitting and agency relations run smoothly to keep project implementation on schedule.
Any opportunity to connect with our friends and colleagues in the oil and gas industry is a valuable one, but this year’s API conference had an especially solid base of speakers presenting informative topics. We all benefitted from being in attendance, and we are already looking forward to next year!
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News CategoriesOil and Gas