The reasons for selecting Abu Dhabi for the International Pipe Line & Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA) Convention are apparent: the United Arab Emirates is at the center of the oil and gas industry with the seventh largest oil reserves in the world; there are important pipeline projects crossing the country; and its history and sites make it an interesting place to visit.
Abu Dhabi, the capital, with its fabulous Grand Mosque, fine sand beaches, Guggenheim museum and futuristic Masdar city is truly astounding.
Still more impressive than these attractions was the man who founded the country. Forty-three years ago, the young Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan negotiated a peace between the seven tribes that had roamed the region’s deserts for centuries. As these tribes had been fighting since biblical times, few world leaders believed the accord would hold. And yet, four decades later and without bloodshed, the country has developed from one of the world’s poorest states to one of the wealthiest. Under Sheikh Zayed’s leadership and vision, the U.A.E. came to be seen as a beacon of diversity and tolerance in the Muslim world.
It is the late Sheikh Zayed’s appreciation of diversity and his willingness to negotiate and collaborate that has made this the perfect location for an IPLOCA convention. Never have I seen a group of professionals as well-traveled and diverse as pipeliners, and the examples of collaboration were reflected in the stories and lives of the participants, as well as the conference speakers.
For example, I heard that Saipem trained Indian and Pakistani employees of Dubai-based Dodsal on safety issues for the Shah Deniz field, including courses by Italian alpinists reflecting both cross-cultural and cross-industry collaboration. Many convention participants work for a company headquartered in a foreign country but are based in a third country and are married to someone from a different nation yet.
The open general meeting began with a presentation by John Atrill of BP on the 3,500-km Southern Gas Corridor connecting the Shah Deniz platform in Baku to Europe. With over 50,000 different parties involved, this typified large-scale coordination. Another example of cooperation between client, contractors, suppliers and workers over a large geographical and culturally diverse region is MCJV, a joint venture between McConnell Dowell and CCC, illustrating the benefits of an integrated team approach on the APLNG Pipelines Project.
The technical presentations that followed included a talk by Robert Jones of TransCanada on some of the challenges it aced in Mexico and North America. Scott Critchfield of ExxonMobil discussed issues the company faced delivering a PNG LNG Project in Papua New Guinea. In both regions creative and innovative technologies overcame challenging conditions and the importance of community involvement in the success of the venture was highlighted. Edward Heerema, of Allseas, spoke about his new ship the Pieter Schelte, an innovative topsides installation vessel with pipelaying capabilities and Loek Vreenegoor of Shell discussed using natural rather than man-made methods in pipeline construction.
Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, a relative of the late Sheikh Zayed and current minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, reiterated the importance of cooperation and understanding and called the industry to focus on safety, the environment and public education of the industry.
The IPLOCA Health and Safety Award, sponsored by Chevron, was presented in recognition of a significant achievement in this area. Bruno Maerten, IPLOCA HSE Committee Chair, reviewed the past year’s Health and Safety record. Despite increased working hours, fatalities and incidents decreased. Unfortunately, road traffic accidents increased and both the calculation and the application of a reduction policy of carbon emissions could be improved. Maerten presented the Health & Safety award to Saipem in recognition of its “Leading Behaviors” program.
IPLOCA recognized three runners-up: J. Murphy & Sons Limited for its “Murphy Culture Development Program,” Nacap Australia Pty Ltd for its “Plant Assessor” Initiative and “Journey Management System” and SPIECAPAG for its “Removal Guardrail for Sidebooms and Tractors” initiative.
The Environmental Award, sponsored by Shell, was presented in recognition of an initiative aimed at improving the living conditions of the people in communities affected by the pipeline industry. The committee presented the award to Simonette Lentze of Heerema Marine Contractors Nederland SA for its “Noise Mitigation during Pile Driving” initiative.
IPLOCA recognized three runners-up: ALSA Engineering & Construction Co., L.L.C. for its “Save Water, Save Life” initiative, Max Streicher GmbH & Co. KG aA for its “Optimization of Production Processes to Reduce Environmental Impacts,” and Techint Engineering and Construction for its “Organic Pool Project.”
During the convention, the association elected its 2014-2015 Board of Directors:
President: Jean-Claude Van de Wiele (Spiecapag)
Treasurer: Harald Dresp (Max Streicher)
First Vice President: Atul Punj (Punj Lloyd Group)
Second Vice President: Ruben Kuri (Arendal)
Immediate Past President: Najib Khoury (CCC)
Harald Dresp (Max Streicher)
Mesut Sahin (Technip)
Haldun Iyidil (Limak Construction Industry and Trade)
Iosif Panchak (Stroygazmontazh)
Jean-Claude Van de Wiele (Spiecapag)
Roberto Castelli (Bonatti)
Andrew Ball (Land and Marine)
Jan Koop (Bohlen-Doyen)
Ruben Kuri (Arendal)
Ebbo Laenge (Conduto)
Middle East & Africa:
Georges Hage (C.A.T)
Aqeel A. Madhi (NPCC)
East & Far East:
Atul Punj (Punj Lloyd Group)
Jim Frith (McConnell Dowell)
Larry Bolander (Fluor);
John Tikkanen (ShawCor)
Directors for Associate Members
Gerald T. Grothe (PLM), Marco Jannuzzi (Caterpillar) and Steve Sumner (Lincoln Electric)
Doug Evans (GIE); Wilhelm Maats (Maats Pipeline Equipment); and Bruno Maerten (Geocean), Adam Wynne Hughes (PIH), Ibrahim Zakhem (Zakhem)