In the following session, Carly Voigt, quality management at GTS, focused on quality control and assurance for gas pipeline construction and practical tools to achieve a high level of performance.
Also, energy attorneys Catherine Little and Robert Hogfoss of Hunton & Williams LLP, spoke on topics that included the Pipeline Safety Act, infrastructure expansion, regulatory compliance and environmental issues.
Keynote luncheon speaker Charles Nevle, manager, Energy Analysis BENTEK Energy, discussed the energy revolution and how it could be sustained. He focused on the nation’s growing energy production and demand as well as the challenges involved in building the infrastructure to handle the increasing production of crude oil, natural gas, NGLs and LPGs.
On the transport of crude oil by rail versus pipeline, Nevle said there were advantages to both modes of transport. “Rail projects are usually scoped out in terms of months while pipeline projects are scoped out in years,” he said. The BENTEK official said railcar transport involves a much lower initial capital outlay versus a pipeline project.
He said, “If you are a refinery on the West Coast looking to source feedstock by rail for your refinery, you have many options. You can look to the Bakken play, sourcing crude out of the oil sands of Canada, the Rockies or the Permian Basin.
“If you build a pipeline you’re simply marrying yourself to that option,” he said. “Also, considering the terrain to move crude to the West Coast market by pipeline can make rail a very attractive option.”
Nevle was quick to stress that does not mean pipelines are out. Instead he called attention to the number of recent railcar accidents and said this could eventually bring about regulations that could make railcar transport unattractive.