Joint DCA/AGA Workshop Bolsters Contractor/Operator Relationship

June 2014, Vol. 69, No. 6

Gas utilities and the contractors that work for them, together build the infrastructure that delivers safe and reliable gas to countless American’s every day, in a cooperative process that requires experience, trust and continuous communication.

According to the American Gas Association (AGA), of the 71 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., 92 percent, or 68 million customers, receive their gas from AGA members. Building the infrastructure needed to meet that capacity requires strong working relationships between operators and contractors alike. While these relationships currently exist in the gas distribution industry, improvements in communications and operations can always be made, thereby strengthening cooperation even further.

On April 29-30, the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) held a Utility Contractor Workshop with the American Gas Association (AGA) in Chicago, for what turned out to be a packed day-and-a-half forum featuring speakers, moderated panels on a variety of subjects, breakout sessions and open discussion among some 130 representatives of gas utilities, contractors, manufacturers, labor unions, industry experts and the federal government. While a broad range of topics were discussed and progress was made on a host of issues, one thing was clear in the end: this forum is only the beginning of what will hopefully lead to a regular industry event.

Vast construction workload predicted

The workshop was kicked off by an informative presentation by Mark Bridgers of the Continuum Advisory Group, which provides management consulting to energy stakeholders involved with development and capital asset construction. The presentation focused on the past and expected investment in pipeline infrastructure from 2008 through 2031 and the drivers behind this investment. A geographic description was provided about the job creation and economic benefits that are resulting from the shale energy boom, including the current renaissance in American manufacturing, and how operators and contractors must be prepared to meet the rising demand.