NAPCA Convention Hears of Need for More Gathering Pipe

August 2015, Vol. 242, No. 8

Pipeline & Gas Journal Staff Report

The 51st annual convention of the National Association of Pipe Coating Applicators (NAPCA) was held April 15-18 at The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, AZ Gainey Ranch, with over 200 attendees.

The convention’s business sessions heard updates from several speakers, including Rich Hoffman, executive director of the INGAA Foundation, who stressed to the group that “even in a downturned economy, safety has got to be the most important thing that we do.”

Hoffman said while the distance covered by new pipelines in the last 10 years has become shorter, that is largely because the Marcellus and Utica shale plays “took away the need to transport to the East.” He pointed to the ongoing need for “a tremendous amount of gathering pipe” and concluded “there’s still a lot of coating to do out there.”

Hoffman said that unlike in years past, pressure from environmental groups was proving to be a prime concern among those who determine whether projects can go forward. Pointing to a photo of a recent protest outside the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission office in Washington, DC where he worked from 1973 until 2007, he said, “When I was at FERC, nothing like this ever happened.”

Using Bentek Energy projections for support, Hoffman said production is much larger at the moment than the projected demand of the next five years, largely due to the Marcellus. He said 85% of the projected growth for the year has already taken place, so activity appears to be slowing down for the rest of 2015.

Another speaker, Michael Ratner, a specialist in energy policy analysis at Department of Energy, discussed the rise of gas production by 34% since 2007, attributing much of that to growing industrial use. He said, however, increased use of underutilized pipelines may mitigate the need for additional pipelines.

He added that, “The shale revolution happened in the United States [and not other countries] due to our vast infrastructure.”

Social events in the evenings were well attended, with the convention’s “Arizona Fiesta” banquet inspiring creative Mexican and Southwest attire and an active dance floor fueled by a live band.

NAPCA’s 2016 convention will be April 19-22 at Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, CA.

Michael Ratner of Department of Energy, cited the increased use by producers of underutilized pipelines.

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