Back To Reality

By Robert Carpenter, Editor | November 2010, Vol. 65 No. 11

In this issue, Managing Editor Rita Tubb provides a round-up of oil, gas and product pipeline construction currently under way or projected around the world. It’s a reduced number, as expected, compared to recent years. However, it is a very realistic number as the “pipe-in-the-sky” projects that are inevitably thrown about during boom times have been dropped. The remaining projects are considered solid with a strong chance of coming to fruition. The numbers lead us to anticipate a reasonably healthy pipeline market going forward.

That will especially be true once we finally overcome economic doldrums and the world starts building again. This bodes well for the gas distribution market as well.

Unfortunately, the BP drilling platform disaster and extended timeframe for capping the well this past summer gave justification for extreme action from an administration and Congress already considering anything remotely related to petro carbons as toxic. And, with the San Bruno explosion in California, our Washington Editor Stephen Barlas reports that Congress is going to ponder a flurry of new integrity management proposals. Stay tuned for continued updates as the oil and gas pipeline industry braces for impact.

Understanding nature

When the scope of the oil leak from the busted well in the Gulf of Mexico was fully realized, I saw national news reports comparing the environmental impacts to those in Alaska when the Exxon Valdez ran aground at Prince William Sound. Purported “experts” and “informed” reporters readily pointed out how the Exxon Valdez virtually destroyed a pristine environment in Alaska and, since so much more oil was being leaked into the Gulf, the environmental impacts would be many times greater.

I hadn’t seen such irresponsible journalism since the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing when Connie Chung of CBS made the observation that the OKC Fire Department and Emergency Response Team was woefully ill-prepared and inadequate to deal with that disaster. The truth was, due to the area’s constant threat of tornadic activity, the OKC teams were widely considered among the nation’s best equipped and trained in emergency disaster response and, in fact, were widely praised for their quick efforts to react and contain the situation, resulting in the preservation of many lives.