East Meets West At 46th IPLOCA Convention

November 2012, Vol. 67, No. 11
2012-13 IPLOCA Board of Directors

The 46th Annual International Pipeline and Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA) Convention convened recently in Istanbul, a dynamic city where East meets West and the past and present collide. The venue was perfectly suited as the 680 delegates from around the globe.

The program kicked-off with welcoming remarks by Osman Birgili, outgoing president of IPLOCA and senior vice president of Tekfen Construction.

Birgili joined Tekfen as an engineer almost 35 years ago because he sought the international experiences that the company offered while allowing him to remain in his hometown of Istanbul. He started attending IPLOCA meetings 15 years ago, initially with the purpose of networking, but soon learned to appreciate the IPLOCA family not only for the business opportunities but also for the interesting people. “I like eating and drinking as well,” joked Birgili.

This is the third time that Birgili has served on the IPLOCA Board. As president, he is proud of the Pipeline Construction Safety Instructors Tool which has been made available to members this year as well as getting Onshore Pipelines: The Road to Success online and starting the third edition. Unfortunately, Birgili echoed the frustration of the two previous presidents stating that IPLOCA needs more dedication from its members and increased participation in committees and workgroups.

First-time sponsors' representatives included, left to right : Jim and Catherine Watkins, Pipeline & Gas Journal magazine; Christy and Bill Solomon, VacuWorx Global.

The convention speakers that followed Birgili’s introduction also reflected the diversity of place and time, opening with an historic overview of Istanbul and its population by Prof. Ilber Ortayli, the former head of the Topkapi Museum, and continuing with a forward-looking presentation by Suzanne Minter of BENTEK Energy on the importance of shale gas.

Minter attributed the phenomenal growth of U.S. shale finds to technology development, pointing out a rig efficiency rate improving 610 percent compared to five years earlier. She emphasized the positive impact on drilling rig counts, with about 12 rigs added every month for the past year, the potential investment of over $15 billion in pipeline projects in the U.S. in the next five years and an estimated 4.1 MMbd due to increased rig counts for 2011-2016 in the lower 48 states.