Shale Plays Remain Key To Nation’s Economy, Jobs And Energy Security

By Rita Tubb, Executive Editor, and Kate Permenter, Pipeline Editor | June 2013, Vol. 68, No. 6

Pipeline & Gas Journal, in partnership with the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), held its 9th annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference on March 26, at the JW Houston Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Houston.

Among the topics discussed at the conference were oil and gas prospects for 2013 and beyond, the shale gas boom, prospects for LNG exports and pipeline infrastructure to satisfy new supply sources.

In the first session, Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) President Cliff Johnson and Richard McNealy, program manager-operations and integrity, provided overviews of PRCI’s partnership with the natural gas industry and its research focus on an industry wide goal of zero leaks and the industry’s top 10 research and development needs.

Johnson also discussed the establishment of PRCI’s Technology Development and Deployment Center that opened in Houston in 2012. He explained that PRCI has been progressively building a unique, world class repository of pipeline damage samples to support technology development and educational opportunities.

Other highlights of the session included speaker McNealy’s overview of PRCI’s project to evaluate data and establish the reliability of in-line inspection (ILI) crack detection tools. The project will include a complete and comprehensive study of existing ILI and NDE/in ditch data that is available from pipeline operators to establish the performance reliability of detecting, identifying, and sizing/characterizing cracking and crack-like features in pipelines.

In the Oil and Natural Gas Outlook session, BENTEK Energy’s Director-Energy Analysis, Jack Weixel, provided an informative forecast for each commodity.

According to Weixel, there is a robust market emerging for natural gas. “There is more demand, more supply and natural gas is becoming a larger piece of the energy solution for the U.S.,” he said.

On gas prices, Weixel said, “It’s going to be a new game going into this summer vs. last. We’re entering the summer with a higher gas price which is going to have some impact on supply and demand going forward.

“Price-wise, we’re anticipating April prices to settle out at $3.76, which is nearly double the price of gas as we entered last summer. Higher prices will make gas less attractive, particularly for the power utilities, but good for production.”

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