Pipeline Opportunities Conference Draws Record Crowd

By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | June 2009 Vol. 64 No. 6

The fifth annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference, sponsored by Pipeline & Gas Journal and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), was held March 11 in Houston. The single-day conference drew a record 519 attendees who came to hear 15 top industry executives discuss new and ongoing pipeline projects, technological advancements to help natural gas and product pipeline operators, and a member of Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin’s pipeline team presented an overview about the long-planned Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Project.

Other topics covered at the event included presentations by Scott Thetford of Pace and Ken Medlock of the Baker Institute for Public Policy who discussed the growth and challenges of the North American and international natural gas markets. Panelists representing transporters provided a lively and informative perspective on the challenges of transporting massive equipment plus the many miles of pipe sent to construction sites.

Doug Foshee, president and CEO of El Paso Corp., gave an upbeat keynote address during lunch on his company’s plans. El Paso owns North America's largest interstate natural gas pipeline system and is one of North America's largest independent natural gas producers.

Jeff Share, conference organizer, said it was reassuring to see such high attendance despite the weakened economy.

“Everyone is concerned about the state of the industry, especially after a prolonged boom period that many thought would never end. We can’t make any predictions but at least we could offer the speakers who have the best information available,” said Share, editor of Pipeline & Gas Journal.

In the opening address, INGAA President Don Santa, a Washington insider and a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, cautioned that it is too early to get a handle on the new administration and that many pieces still have to fall into place in order to anticipate what any new changes will mean for the natural gas pipeline industry.
He did, however, provide the following preliminary observations:

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