Co-hosted with the American Public Gas Association and the Carolinas Public Gas Association, SGA’s Spring Gas Conference and Expo met last week in Charlotte, North Carolina. This regional conference provided localized technical training, workshops, classes and seminars to help better prepare the workers in the natural gas industry for the challenges faced on a daily basis.

The 2017 Spring Gas Conference and Expo offered 31 different opportunities for attendees to gain valuable training with leading industry content and best practices. Classes and workshops ranged from accounting roundtables to visual welding inspection courses. More than 800 natural gas workers participated. Conference attendees were also able to visit with 85 exhibitors to learn about the latest updates to goods and services available to the industry.

See the highlights from the conference below, and mark your calendar for next year’s conference on March 19-21 in Columbia, South Carolina.

SGA would like to especially recognize the following companies for their time and support to help make the 2017 Spring Gas Conference & Expo such a success:

Conference Co-Hosts

Participating Conference Sponsors

 

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Today, the Southern Gas Association observes the national Gas Utility Workers’ Day.

This is the second year in which Gas Utility Workers’ Day has been officially celebrated across the country. This day of recognition is a time when communities such as ours give recognition to the employees who provide one of their most valuable assets—their natural gas utility.

The official Gas Utility Workers’ Day is March 18 because that is the date of the New London, Texas school explosion in 1937 that led to the widespread odorization of natural gas and an increased emphasis on safety.

Safety is a vital aspect to natural gas distribution, and the employees of distribution companies endeavor to make natural gas delivery as safe as possible.

This annual nationwide event is intended to build public awareness about the hard work done by the employees of natural gas utilities.

SGA looks forward to continuing to partner with our members to help them bring safe, reliable natural gas into homes and businesses.

We also hope you join us in supporting natural gas as a premier energy source for our country.  As the cleanest burning fossil fuel, natural gas can help us achieve energy security and build a more competitive economy.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of natural gas, please contact us at memberservices@southerngas.org.

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The March issue of the Operations & Engineering Newsletter is now available in our Communication Center. To subscribe to the newsletter, visit your SGA profile to adjust your communications preferences.

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The March issue of the Network News is now available in our Communication Center.

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Stacey Atella from POWER Engineers speaking at SGA's Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting & Construction 2017.

SGA’s Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting & Construction met at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina last week. More than 275 natural gas professionals gathered to dig deep on pipeline design and construction. This conference helps paint a better picture of the complicated permitting process and NEPA-related activities, specifically for environmental professionals. If you were unable to make the conference, here are some key takeaways from this year’s presenters:

Building a Better Future with Natural Gas

“Be proud of what you do. Your hard work not only ensures that critically needed energy infrastructure is built, operated and maintained in a safe and reliable manner but also advances our nation’s drive toward energy independence.”

Stanley Chapman, III, senior vice president and general manager, TransCanada Corp., U.S. Pipelines

The Future of Tribal Consultation in Energy Infrastructure Projects

“Working through Section 106 of the NHPA has many opportunities to trip up a project if/when it is not done well.  As we all know, missteps can lead to schedule impacts and cost overtures. Project applicants should engage with folks uniquely familiar with the regulations early.  When engaging with tribal nations, respectful communication early and often is required to start projects off on the right foot. Communication no longer consists of just mailing a letter and checking a box; successful project proponents are increasingly realizing that engaging in dialogue with THPOs and SHPOs must be a priority. The draft guidance from FERC is a must read for all project teams.”

Brian Benito, senior compliance permitting specialist, Kinder Morgan

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Update

“The changes to the Corps of Engineers 2017 Nationwide Permits were mainly ‘clarifications’ from previous guidance and regulations. However, environmental practitioners should pay close attention to the revised General Conditions and each states’ forthcoming Regional Conditions and Section 401 Water Quality Certifications.”

Matt Stahman, principal, SWCA Environmental Consultants

Social Ecology: Knowing the People & Community Dynamics of the Industry

“In order to avoid formalized methods of citizen engagement which tend to polarize and give undue influence to more extreme voices, it is more useful to ‘match the culture’ at the community level. That means we want to get into the routines of the community, to identify and work with informal networks that operate everyday for routine survival and to communicate about the project within that mode. Finding the ‘caretakers’ and ‘communicators’ – those people whose names come up often with the question, ‘Who else should I talk to about this?’ grounds you in the local culture and gives you assurance that you won’t be surprised later. Responding to emerging citizen issues, when they are the cheapest and easiest to resolve, is the single best way to build a ‘moderate middle’ capable of forestalling the influence of opposition groups.”

Kevin Preister, executive director, JKA Group

See the highlights from the conference below, and mark your calendar for next year’s conference on February 20-22 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

SGA would like to especially recognize the following companies for their time and support to help make the 2017 Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting & Construction such a success:

Participating Sponsors

 

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Last week, SGA’s Supply Chain Management Conference (SCMC) met in Austin at the Omni Barton Creek Resort.

This one-of-a-kind annual meeting brings together supply chain professionals from natural gas pipelines, midstreams and LDCs, along with companies who provide goods and services to the industry.

This year’s conference content focused on strategic supply chain and project development issues impacting the industry—including an industry outlook discussion, “A View from the Top” featuring a panel of executive management leaders—technology updates and networking opportunities. SCMC also featured a golf scramble, hill country barbecue and wine tasting tour and casino night.

See the highlights from the conference below.

SGA would like to especially recognize the following people and companies for their time and support to help make the 2017 Supply Chain Management Conference such a success:

Industry Outlook: A View From the Top Panel

  • Kimberly Watson, president, north region pipelines, Kinder Morgan
  • Tanya Andrien, vice president, strategic development, Drillinginfo
  • Mack Brothers, chief consulting officer, Forrester Research
  • Bill Cantrell, president and chief executive officer, Southern Gas Association

Participating Sponsors

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At SGA’s Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting and Construction next week in Tampa, FL, the keynote address will attempt to un-complicate the macroeconomics of the energy industry. We’ve got a preview for you below:

The Macroeconomics of the Energy Industry … It’s Complicated

Natural gas is an essential commodity. After water, it is probably the most important natural resource of the 21st century. Yet, an aggressive political movement insists our global civilization must immediately halt all exploration and production of ‘fossil fuels’ in order to stave off an environmental catastrophe that will doom the survival of humanity.

Fortunately, more thoughtful observers question the logic of these doomsayers. They understand that natural gas, and other hydrocarbons, are—and because of scientific fact must always be—vital tools to lift humanity out of poverty, ignorance, disease, and other forms of suffering. Whether one applauds or opposes the Trump Administration, it sits on the more thoughtful side of this debate.

President Trump has also made an unequivocal commitment to reenergize U.S. manufacturing, especially autos, steelmaking, and metals-intensive consumer products. This commitment implies a strong uplift for industrial demand for natural gas and other hydrocarbons. These positions in turn show that the Trump Administration believes that both supply and demand of U.S. hydrocarbons will, and should, increase substantially over the coming decades. In concert with these views, President Trump has reversed President Obama’s blocking of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The new president also favors expanding U.S. natural gas pipelines into the consuming regions of the East.

At the same time, President Trump promises to erect physical and financial barriers with Mexico, the largest destination for U.S. natural gas exports. He also threatens to impose punitive tariffs on China, the most natural customer for growing exports of U.S. natural gas and crude oil. Unpredictable tweetstorms and other combative statements risk undermining whatever benefits might come from Trump’s policies on tax relief, cash repatriation, and infrastructure investment. These conflicts seem to threaten the business models of many natural gas producers.

And so: the session at SGA’s Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting & Construction in Tampa examines four scenarios for how the U.S. natural gas market may evolve over the next few years. The first, The Detroit Dent, envisions how a financial crisis stemming from the US auto sector might spill over into Venezuela, Mexico, and Asia, with significant consequences for US natural gas. The second, The Big Dig, plots how far the much ballyhooed infrastructure spending could propel natural gas demand and prices. A third scenario, Blowout, looks at how the unexpected arrival of the next economic recession could cause natural gas demand and prices to crater within the next fifteen months. A final scenario, Blizzard, enumerates several kinds of unexpected disruption that hold the potential to force natural gas risk to zig-zag suddenly.

Written by Colin Fenton, managing partner and head of research at Blacklight Research, LLC.

If you’re interested in attending the Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting & Construction, visit the event page for more information.

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The February issue of the Network News is now available in our Communication Center.

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The February issue of the Operations & Engineering Newsletter is now available in our Communication Center. To subscribe to the newsletter, visit your SGA profile to adjust your communications preferences.

Continue reading

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The Last Supper

Yesterday, the Southern Gas Association said one last goodbye to a good friend and passionate leader, Mike Grubb.

He has been with the organization for two decades and served as president and CEO for the last eight years. His ideas brought about thoughtful change within the organization, and his contributions will continue to positively impact the membership as well as the industry well after he is gone.

While we know he is excited to sail away into retirement, the SGA staff couldn’t let him go without just a few more parting words…

  • “Mike, thank you for always showing up with a smile and a funny story!  You will be missed. All the best for you and Amber.”  – Jane Butler
  • “Mike, my advice as you depart SGA…Don’t hit anything!! You’ll know why I picked that. Priceless – and from a great man who originally said it.” – Gary Hines
  • “Mike, it has been an absolute pleasure being your Work Partner the last three years. Thank you for making me better and for investing in my career and life. May God’s blessings continue to be upon you and Amber in this new and exciting journey!” – Amanda Morgan
  • “Bye, and have a nice day (retirement). I have enjoyed the time that I got to spend with you and Amber.  Best wishes, always.” – Debbie Krawzik
  • “Mike, you’ve built such a great team here. Thank you for making me a part of it. Best wishes to you and Amber on all your adventures yet to come!” – Ashley Brazell
  • “Mike – You Da Man!” – Jake Wagner
  • “Thank you for being so welcoming, it was a pleasure to work with you. Have a happy retirement and try not to schedule too many conference calls in between! Best wishes!” – Amanda Campos
  • “I want to thank Mike for his leadership, his friendship and for his passion for our industry. Happy trails to Mike and Amber!” – Bill Cantrell

Wishing you all the best, Mike, and please don’t be a stranger!

-Team Southern Gas

 

 

 

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