The American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) closed out the year 2016 stronger than ever and with a high level of optimism for the energy policies of a new president and administration.
“Over the past 12 to 18 months, APCA members were involved in building the majority of new natural gas infrastructure projects to support LNG export facilities along the Gulf Coast, as well as several flow reversal projects, which generally consist of taking older pipelines that were initially built to transport natural gas from the Gulf Coast to the Northeastern markets,” said Sean Renfro, APCA president. “Later, flow design was reversed to enable the gas flow from the Utica/Marcellus Shale plays to the LNG export facilities along the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana and Texas.
Also, several of the APCA member companies have been involved with improving the nation’s energy infrastructure by building several hundred miles of new pipelines and compressor/pump stations that will supply gas and oil to existing manufacturing plants, and will also be used to convert some older existing power plants to natural gas as a fuel gas source.
“In addition to all of the new infrastructure being built throughout the United States,” Renfro said, “our members always are heavily involved in improving the pipeline and facility owners’ assets with enhanced integrity management programs, and by providing maintenance and construction crews to improve the infrastructure’s integrity.
“Finally, there were a few projects built by APCA member companies to supply gas to growing Mexico markets.”
APCA continues to participate actively in its alliance with OSHA, which is a vehicle for APCA and OSHA to provide association members and others in the pipeline construction industry with information, guidance and access to training resources to help protect the health and safety of employees. It also acts to reduce and prevent accidents related to the operation of equipment such as bulldozers, excavators and trenchers, and from hazards of hydrostatic testing.
APCA makes this information available via its website and other outreach programs.
“Safety professionals from our regular members and associate members,” he continued, “meet quarterly to discuss best practices, industry challenges and new regulations and initiatives. They are then either communicated to others in the industry or further discussed with OSHA.”
Looking ahead, Renfro said he believes President-Elect Trump and his incoming administration will support and promote domestic growth initiatives in the energy sector for which APCA regular members and associate members provide services.
“I think the uncertainty in the industry related to the prior administration will be challenged by the new administration,” he said. “This will encourage domestic production for the United States to become self-sufficient and less dependent on foreign production to fulfill our nation’s needs for oil.”
Renfro said attendance at the 2016 APCA annual convention in San Diego set a record, and a strong turnout is expected for the 2017 convention at Aruba in March. His two-year term as president will end at that meeting for Renfro, who is senior vice president of Sunland Construction Inc. At that time, William Schettine, CEO of Meridien Energy, will assume the APCA presidency.
APCA was established in 1971 as a regional alliance of seven contractors for the purpose of promoting mutual interests and addressing concerns of the pipeline industry. It has evolved into a national association of merit shop pipeline and station contractors dedicated to promoting the mutual interests of its contractor and associate members, and the pipeline industry.
J.D. Lormand is association executive director. Information on APCA and its programs are available at americanpipeline.org.