January 2016, Vol. 243, No. 1


49th IPLOCA Convention Convenes in Singapore

Catherine Watkins, Contributing Editor
The IPLOCA directors for 2016.

SINGAPORE – The parallels between the pipeline industry and the island country of Singapore may not be obvious but after a few days in the city-state, one observes the efficiency, the diversity and the innovation of this unique city – all traits reflected by both the pipeline industry and the International Pipe Line & Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA).

Singapore is multiracial and multicultural with four official languages, many ethnic groups and religions. As the former prime minister of Singapore stated, Singapore doesn’t fit the traditional description of a nation, as Singaporeans don’t all speak the same language, share the same religion, or have the same customs; the IPLOCA convention, too, gathered 510 attendees from 32 different countries, also manifests many races, languages and cultures. This heterogeneous group is not only tolerant of this diversity, but seems to embrace and relish it.

Unfortunately, the under-representation of women in positions of leadership in politics and business in Singapore is also mirrored in the pipeline industry as a whole, as well as at the IPLOCA convention where only nine delegates were female.

Other parallels include Singapore’s influence and economic impact, which are disproportionate to its size, not unlike the pipeline industry within the broader oil and gas sector. Just as moving energy and raw materials safely and efficiently from the oil fields to the economic engines of our world is a critical part of the larger oil and gas industry, so Singapore has become a leading financial center, refining and petrochemical hub, oil-rig producer and one of the largest container ports in the world.

However, just as Singapore is facing the problem of an aging population and seeking new ways to attract human resources, so too, the industry and IPLOCA face the challenge of attracting young talent. And to conclude the analogy, both IPLOCA and Singapore were founded about 50 years ago with Singapore celebrating its five decades last summer while IPLOCA will celebrates its 50 years this year in Paris!

The annual general meeting kicked off with welcoming remarks by Jean-Claude Van de Wiele, outgoing president of IPLOCA and managing director of Spiecapag. Van de Wiele joined Spiecapag as an administrative assistant while still in university as a summer job, eventually climbing his way up through procurement and project management into top management.

As president of IPLOCA for 2015, Van de Wiele was able to mobilize the board to move forward on several issues. Members finalized the scholarship program for dependents of member companies, completely overhauled the association bylaws and moved toward the inclusion of operators as corresponding members.

The open general meeting began with a presentation by Ricardo Markous of Techint Group on the feasibility of new pipeline projects in the new macroeconomic environment with increasing capital expenditure costs. Focusing on Techint’s past experiences in Latin America, Markous expressed a need for loosened regulations and better community communications in order to cope with current cost pressures. Industry presentations that followed included a refreshingly upbeat talk by Jonathan Green of Addax Petroleum on trends in international upstream M&A and the price of oil.

Presentations followed by Van Oord Offshore, ILF Consulting Engineers and Saudi Aramco, all highlighting the industry’s ability at overcoming obstacles and successfully completing projects in geographically diverse areas.


 The 2015 IPLOCA Health and Safety Award sponsored by Chevron was presented in recognition of a significant achievement. Bruno Maerten, IPLOCA HSE Committee Chair, reviewed the past year’s Health and Safety record before presenting the award to Max Streicher in recognition of its belt system to keep ladders from slipping. IPLOCA recognized two runners-up: Michels Corporation for its “Promise Me” campaign and Spiecapag for its “Finish Strong” initiative.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Award sponsored by Total was presented in recognition of an initiative aimed at improving the quality of life of communities impacted by pipeline industry work. The committee presented the award to Technip in recognition of its “Encouraging a Fair Return for All” policy. IPLOCA recognized two runners-up: Saipem for its promotion of entrepreneurship opportunities and Spiecapag for its Community Capacitation program.

The New Technologies Award sponsored by BP was presented in recognition of an initiative aimed at recognizing significant achievement in the development of new pipeline technologies. The committee presented the award to Denys and Selmers for its work on onshore automatic vacuum field-joint blasting. IPLOCA recognized two runners-up: Herrenknecht for new drilling tools to improve HDD performance and PipeSak for its PipePillo Structural Pipeline Pillow.

At the final banquet, the association raised about $20,000 for Van de Wiele’s chosen charity through the lottery of a car sponsored by CCC and NPCC to benefit Centre ISALA, a breast cancer clinic in Brussels, Belgium.

The Association also elected the following to the 2015-2016 Board of Directors:


President: Atul Punj (Punj Lloyd Group)

Treasurer: Jan Koop (Bohlen-Doyen)

1st Vice President: Ruben Kuri (ARENDALl)

2nd Vice President: Andrew Ball (Land and Marine)

Immediate Past President: Jean-Claude Van de Wiele (Spiecapag)

Regional Directors


Jan Koop (Bohlen-Doyen)

Mesut Sahin (Technip)


Iosif Panchak (Stroygazmontazh)

Haldun Iyidil (Limak)


Oliviero Corvi (Bonatti)

Bruno Guy de Chamisso (Spiecapag)


Andrew Ball (Land and Marine)

Adam Wynne Hughes (Pipeline Induction Heat)


Ruben Kuri (ARENDALl)

Ebbo Laenge (Conduto)


Georges Hage (The C.A.T. Group)

Najib Khoury (CCC)


Atul Punj (Punj Lloyd)

Ma Chunqing (China Petroleum Pipeline)


Larry Bolander (Fluor)

Scot Fluharty (Mears Group)

 Directors for Associate Members

Marco Jannuzzi (Caterpillar)

Steve Sumner (The Lincoln Electric Co.)

Doug Fabick (Pipe-Line Machinery International)


Doug Evans (GIE)

Willem Maats (Maats)

Jim Frith (Mc Connell Dowell)

Bruno Maerten (Entrepose)

John Tikkanen (ShawCor)

Executive Secretary: Juan Arzuaga

Written by Catherine Watkins, Contributing Editor

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