Department: Editor's Notebook

No Surprise that Keystone XL’s in Jeopardy

August 2017, Vol. 244, No. 8

President Trump loves whining about “fake news” but he unwittingly gave our industry the biggest fake news story of the year in March when he grandly signed off on the Keystone XL pipeline project. That was a nice photo taken at the White House at which TransCanada CEO Russ Girling was in attendance. Girling may have been smiling on the outside, but I wonder if that masked how he really felt. Before you can build a pipeline, you have to go through this process called an open season in which your would-be customers – the […]

Russia Seeks to Stop America’s Booming Energy Industry

July 2017, Vol. 244, No. 7

The next time Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits President Putin in the Kremlin, he should ask his former buddy something that’s bothered me for years: what are the Russians up to in attempting to sabotage our energy industry? First, let’s understand that energy has always been used as a political tool, even by Washington. During the mid-1980s, at the request of President Reagan, the Saudis ramped up their oil production to over 10 million barrels per day, causing the price to crash to below $10. The singular goal was to wreck the already tottering […]

The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

June 2017, Vol. 244, No. 6

I’m staring at the bare walls of my office, bereft of my autographed photos of Mickey Mantle, Muhammad Ali, Simon & Garfunkel, Ronald & Nancy Reagan, Al Capone, and my most treasured piece, a personally signed photo of Jennifer Aniston. We’re getting ready for the Big Move. As you know, Ollie Klinger sold the company along with its rich legacy to Gulf Publishing Co. Oildom was a family-owned New Jersey-based energy publishing company begun by his Ollie’s grandfather in 1908. Through the years the company largely focused on pipeline construction until Ollie III bought Pipeline […]

America Needs Tough Pipeline Regulations

April 2017, Vol. 244, No. 4

Ray Galvin wouldn’t be too pleased with what’s been going on in Washington, D.C. as it relates to the environment. Ray was president of Chevron U.S.A. Production Company when I interviewed him in November 1994 for my book, The Oil Makers. He was a brilliant, thoughtful man who had worked his way into a top position with the widely respected oil petroleum company. In fact, with a little more support from his bosses, he may have been the one who unlocked the hidden mysteries of fracking, writes Bryan Burrough in his excellent book, The Frackers. […]

The Oil and Gas Industry Lost a Good One

February 2017, Vol. 244, No. 2

Getting older we tend to wander to the obituary page to see who passed away that we have known. As time moves forward, there is a greater chance of making that sad connection. It happened last month when I read of the Jan. 12 death of Glenn H. McCarthy Jr., son of the legendary wildcatter/hotelier and a pretty good oilman in his own right. Glenn was 78. I had not seen him since I interviewed him in 1996 to work on a book of his late father, which never materialized. McCarthy was one of the […]

What the Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Aren’t Telling You

January 2017, Vol. 244, No. 1

With the help of celebrities and professional activists, protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota have attracted international attention. The shouting and violence have drawn sympathy from people who are hearing only one side of the story — the one told by activists. Were the full story to be heard, much, if not all, of that sympathy would vanish. The activists tell an emotionally-charged tale of greed, racism, and misbehavior by corporate and government officials. But the real story of the Dakota Access Pipeline was revealed in court documents in September, and it […]

If You Can Make It in Pipelines, You Can Make It Anywhere

December 2016, Vol. 243, No. 12

So, what on earth is professional wrestler Gorilla Monsoon doing to the future editor of P&GJ in this 1975 photo taken at the Philadelphia Arena? It’s a compelling, somewhat poignant story that ultimately ties into the pipeline business. I will turn the story over to my alter ego, a wannabe sportswriter who met many interesting folks and hoped for a career that never happened. My first brush with sports figures occurred in 1969 at a high school baseball game I covered for my school paper. The Yankees sent a scout, a former pitcher named Randy […]

Dakota Access Pipeline Protests: Not So Peaceful

November 2016, Vol. 243, No. 11

On the weekend of Oct. 15-16, criminals using the guise of “peaceful protesters” again torched millions of dollars of equipment involved in the multi-state Dakota Pipeline construction. This time the crime took place is Reasnor, IA, along the construction route. In early September the criminals destroyed millions more in heavy equipment at a site in North Dakota, which has been the focal point of the illogic protest against the permitted pipeline. One may ask why the equipment wasn’t better protected. One might ask why the lead developer, Energy Transfer Partners, wasn’t better prepared for  potential […]

Building New Pipeline Infrastructure: Always About the Politics

October 2016, Vol. 243, No. 10

It’s always been about the politics. If only we could return to those peaceful days of yesteryear when we dutifully met all of the requirements to build a pipeline, constructed it without incident, and covered it up never to be seen again. This is no longer the case. With climate change as their mantra, a small but dedicated, well-organized and misinformed cadre of anti-fossil fuel activists has turned its attention to the pipeline industry in an effort to block future and even ongoing projects, as we’re seeing with the Dakota Access furor. Never mind that […]

Editor’s Notebook: Transporting Renewable Natural Gas Could Be in Pipelines’ Future

September 2016, Vol. 243, No. 9

Renewables and natural gas: Can it get any better than this? For President Obama, who has professed appreciation for both, this would have to be a win-win situation. As I write this column, folks are preparing to complete a unique energy experiment near St. Louis, MO. They plan to produce what they say will be the first Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from the largest livestock manure-to-energy project of its kind. What really makes this worthwhile is that they will be able to deliver the RNG into the national pipeline grid. I haven’t asked NACE, INGAA, […]

Editor’s Notebook: Mourning the Loss of a Great Man

August 2016, Vol. 243, No. 8

During these troubled times every day when I go to work it seems our flag is at half-staff. On this day, my heart was at half-staff as I learned that Phil Burguieres died June 30. He was a very special businessman; he was a very special man. Burguieres had two careers that led him to prominence in Houston. For years he was CEO of several energy companies including Weatherford International, Panhandle Eastern Corp. and Cameron Iron Works where he became one of the youngest CEOs to lead a Fortune 500 company. It was a job […]

You Shouldn’t Have to Worry About a Structurally Sound Pipeline

June 2016, Vol. 243, No. 6

NEW HOPE, PA–“Jeff,” she whispered huskily into this sleepy head, interrupting a most pleasant dream. “Did you hear something in the room? Do you think it might be Emily?” “I really don’t know Janet,” I quietly mumbled to my jittery wife, who often awakes at the slightest touch or sound. You’d think that after 11 years of living with me, she’d be used to anything. But no….“Call Ghostbusters or go back to sleep and I’ll check it out in the morning.” “No,” she answered. “I’m scared. You need to get up right now and properly […]

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