A notable, five-year anniversary was reached recently for a benchmark industry damage prevention program. And while it received some publicity, perhaps the program didn’t get as much attention as it deserved, especially when one considers the benefits – including health and safety – that have been credited to a simple three digit number: 811.
As last summer’s drought conditions wore on, I learned that there is a condition even worse than “extreme.” There is an “exceptional” drought category, which essentially means “pending devastation if you don’t get rain fast.” The impact of this drought, when finally broken, will be felt for years.
In reading your excellent editorial on the above subject, it stirred my memory back to the 50s when I, as a young pipeliner, was in Alaska Territory, involved in the building of an eight-inch fuel line from Haines to Fairbanks.
It was the “political punt” heard around the energy world. Rather than making a final determination regarding the fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, President Obama effectively sidestepped making a decision. Instead, he opted for an unprecedented fourth environmental impact study that would explore alternate routes to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region and Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska.
The oil industry is a market full of intangibles, plenty of knee-jerk reactions from investors and a dynamic that often defies logic and clear-cut forecasts. For the U.S., there are several constants that continue to influence the industry. Perhaps the most notable is that the majority of our oil continues to be imported.
There are many types of awards or special recognition bestowed annually in our industry -- the underground infrastructure construction and rehabilitation market. Most are well-deserved and for the right reasons (though there does seem to be a lot of “political” thinking involved in some of that recognition – but that’s a conversation for another day).
On Tuesday, Aug. 30, the National Transportation Safety Board issued their final report on the pipeline explosion in San Bruno, CA, that occurred on Sept. 9, 2010. A 30-inch diameter natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) ruptured in this residential area, killing eight people.
Extreme economic hardships for many municipalities are pushing some cities to consider extreme actions – such as the rarely occurring municipal bankruptcy. Consider the case of Birmingham/Jefferson County, AL.