Hundreds Attend Successful Virtual Pipeline Opportunities Conference

By Maddy McCarty, P&GJ Digital Editor

Hundreds of pipeline industry professionals attended the 17th Annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference online Tuesday to learn about pressing issues and new developments within the industry.

INGAA President and CEO Amy Andryszak, top right, discusses President Joe Biden's personnel picks at the 17th Annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference on Tuesday.
INGAA President and CEO Amy Andryszak, top right, discusses President Joe Biden's personnel picks at the 17th Annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference on Tuesday.

“The 17th Annual POC virtual conference was a tremendous success,” said Andy McDowell, Gulf Energy Information’s Vice President of Upstream and Midstream. “Even under these unique circumstances, we were able to host over 600 delegates who learned about the future of the midstream industry in North America.”

Something industry professionals will continue seeing in the future is that companies are now focused on returns and net growth rather than over-investment, said Bruce Bullock, Executive Director of the Maguire Energy Institute. But the entire industry is coming out of the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and commodity prices have stabilized higher than expected, he said.

The midstream industry should pay close attention to changes in the upstream sector, Bullock said.

“Speaker quality was top-notch,” McDowell said. “They covered a variety of topics including industry outlooks, M&A activity, cybersecurity and hydrogen pipeline opportunities.”
One of the most-attended sessions was with INGAA President Amy Andryszak, who gave an update on national policy from an industry perspective.

President Joe Biden likely knows it’ll be difficult to achieve his climate goals — which include having carbon-free electric energy generation by 2035— through legislation, so he will need to move regulations through federal agencies and utilize executive actions, she said. INGAA aims to ensure federal energy policies acknowledge the role natural gas transmission plays in delivering affordable, reliable, cleaner energy, Andryszak said.

Aaron Blomquist, Managing Director of Investment Banking at Tudor, Pickering, Holt and Co., said during a session focused on mergers and acquisitions that they were overall slow in 2020.

A difference in demand and supply will influence the future commodity prices, Blomquist said.

Demand has picked up and is getting closer to historical levels, Blomquist said. Upstream public company investors are not pushing companies to grow production and more focused on return of capital, so supply will come back slowly and should result in higher commodity prices, he said.

Meanwhile, the Pipeline Research Council International has focused on researching emerging fuels and global considerations for hydrogen pipeline transportation, said Gary Hines, the Vice President of Operations for the council.

As climate change becomes more of an interest from a society perspective, the council wants to be part of the solution and advance pipeline systems for the next generation while making sure the systems make migrations quickly, safely and economically, Hines said. Significant existing pipeline infrastructure in North America has large potential to contribute to a solution.

The Pipeline Research Council International did a state-of-the-art gas analysis on hydrogen pipeline transportation, which found that the transition from methane would impact everything, Hines said, noting it is not one minor change. That study is available for purchase here.

The Pipeline Opportunities Conference was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jason Lopez of TC Energy and Bill Olson of Gulf Interstate Engineering spoke about how their companies efficiently handled changes brought on by the pandemic and kept operations safe.

Other speakers included Niyo Little Thunder Pearson of ONE Gas who spoke about cyber security and James Coleman, an associate professor of law at Southern Methodist University who spoke about challenges on our energy system and the environmental impact of our energy sources.

All of the sessions are now available on demand by clicking here. It will be available for one year.

“We look forward to next year’s event, where we will welcome pipeline owners/operators, pipeline engineering and construction firms back to our 18th annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference to be held in Houston, Texas, on March 31, 2022,” McDowell said.

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