Sometimes you see the negativity surrounding the energy industry in North America and start to lose heart. Professional protestors obstructing new projects, governmental delays, misinformation in the news — it gets to be too much sometimes. That’s why this issue feels like a breath of fresh air.
Throughout this issue runs a theme of the oil and gas pipeline industry’s strength. There are stories of rapid production growth in places like North Dakota and Pennsylvania. That growth is driving the development of new pipelines to get that product to market.
The PennEast and Columbia pipeline initiatives are two major projects originating from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays that have recently been announced, and we’re still seeing steady activity via our monthly Project Roundup.
As pipeline infrastructure expands, there are concurrent initiatives to make sure those assets are protected via security systems and innovative technology to improve integrity.
Our cover story focuses on security measures in the industry. While North America is thankfully less volatile than other parts of the world, protecting pipelines from third-party damage or illegal hot taps is a growing concern. We look at methods and trends in securing these vital conduits.
Furthermore, we take a separate look at how innovation is improving integrity management through the use of 3D printers, which some companies are using to develop prototypes and testing models for the industry. See how this technology is being used to create better inline inspection (ILI) tools and other components.
Finally, we feature one company’s journey back from disaster. As we all know, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has been under heavy scrutiny ever since the 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California. Now, the company has secured two certifications that show its improvement regarding gas operations. Although PG&E still faces a number of legal challenges, its steady rebirth is evident. Assistant editor Mike Kezdi has the story here — don’t miss it.
It’s these kinds of stories that make covering the oil and gas pipeline industry such a pleasure. There may be challenges along the road, but the destination on the horizon looks hopeful.