November 2019, Vol. 246, No. 11

Editor's Notebook

PGJ: A Shared Pipeline Experience


By Michael Reed, Editor

This being my first column as editor of Pipeline & Gas Journal, my immediate inclination was to tell you some of the history of the publication and a little bit about myself.

After sitting at the keyboard for several minutes, though, I realized that hitting on the high points of a magazine that was already more than 150 years old when I joined the staff seven years ago – and has grown to be so much more than a magazine in the digital age – would be a fool’s errand for a couple of reasons. 

For one thing, I am not a good enough writer to do justice to PGJ’s many successes over the decades in a mere 700 words. Secondly, everyone – at least those in the world of midstream and pipelines – seems to know a lot about the publication. In fact, as I discovered in early 2013 when I joined the staff after many years in the newspaper business, oil and gas professionals already understood the significance of the publication to a surprising degree.

I live in Houston, where PGJ is headquartered, as are – to put it mildly – a whole lot of other pipeline and energy-related companies. Even taking that into consideration, the response I received whenever the topic of my new employer came up was stunning. 

“I read that at our office all the time. I go grab it off my boss’ desk whenever I have a chance,” was a not-quite verbatim response I got from a chemical engineer, whom I met at an auto repair shop. He had noticed I was carrying a Schlumberger promotional bag and excitedly asked if I worked for the giant oilfield services company. His excitement did not diminish when I said I was with PGJ either.

Frequently, such encounters would be followed by a flurry of questions about pending pipeline projects, regulatory changes and a never-ending array of acronyms, some of which I understood: FERC, PHMSA, ROW, and others: DIMP, PLSV, SSFP, that left me scratching my head and checking in with Google shortly afterward. Obviously, I had a lot to learn – and I’m still getting quite an education.

A few years back, I pointed out how much I still had to learn to the incredibly gracious Ray Lewis, who has since retired from ROSEN after 70-plus years of service as the ultimate expert in pipeline pressure testing technology. (Yes, you read that right – seven decades.) 

His response took me aback, but in retrospect, it probably should not have. It’s a good thing to recognize, Mike, I recall him saying. I still have a lot to learn, too. There’s something new in this business to sort out every day. There always will be.

On that note, I’d like to promise Ray and our readers that I will continue to learn, as will the rest of our staff, and report back to you on what we’ve found out. In this way, through our newsletters, special reports, featured magazine articles and daily content, we will help you to sort out all the changes caused by forces inside and outside the industry.

Oh, yes, now for that little bit about my background that I promised a few hundred words ago:  As I said earlier, I have a background in newspapers as an editor and reporter, mostly in oil country, including a few years at the late, occasionally great, Houston Post

I must confess, however, I grew up in Illinois, where my exposure – at least my overt exposure to the industry was minimal. In fact, I believe I was in my late teens and visiting in the southern part of the state (I graduated from Southern Illinois University), when I encountered my first oil well. 

It was small, squeaked loudly, and made little impression on me except that the owner of the farm where it was located seemed to be quite happy it was on his land. Then he mentioned something about “mailbox money.” I didn’t know what that meant back then, but I have since learned.

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