IPLOCA – a pipeline odyssey

The IPLOCA Convention was an action-packed event with many business sessions, social functions and awards ceremonies to attend.

The open general meetings included a range of interesting topics, covering both onshore and offshore pipeline developments and initiatives. Speakers included representatives from across the pipeline industry such as suppliers, contractors, consultants and owners, as well as research and educational organisations. Collaboration, diplomacy, safety and the environment were common themes.

Health and safety initiatives

John Truhe of Chevron gave a thought provoking presentation on the “˜Chevron Pipeline Company Contractor Safety Program’ which was followed by the presentation of the 2007 IPLOCA Health and Safety Award, sponsored by Chevron. This year the award went to Bonatti, in recognition of its great work in the Sicilian Gasline, Montalbano – Messina Tranche.

Three further awards were given to runners-up, in recognition of their commitment to health and safety. These were:

  • McConnell Dowell, as part of the Southern Regional Water Pipeline Alliance, for its excellent safety outcomes;
  • Heerema Marine Contractors, for its safety culture change program; and,
  • Tekfen Construction and Installation, for its journey management system and reduction in road traffic accidents.

Interestingly, as a condition of IPLOCA membership, all companies are required to submit their annual safety statistics so that aggregate statistics for the industry can be monitored.

Environmental best practice

Knud Petersen of Shell addressed the members of the audience on moving “˜Towards a Responsible Energy Future.’ This address was followed by the presentation of the biennial IPLOCA Environmental Award, sponsored by Shell. The committee awarded it to Spie Capag, in recognition of its great work in the management of non-hazardous and hazardous waste in Yemen.

Three further awards were given to runners-up, in recognition of their commitment to the protection of the environment. These awards went to:

  • Caterpillar, for its overall concrete actions toward the protection of the environment;
  • J. Ray McDermott, for its work in spill prevention and control, and waste management; and,
  • Techint Engineering & Construction, for its work on eco-efficiency.

Congratulations to all, and let’s strive together with the international pipeline industry to continue to innovate and improve safety performance and the “˜softer’ aspects of project implementation.

Novel construction initiative

IPLOCA’s novel construction initiative aims to provide leadership and direction to the pipeline industry to enable development and delivery of improved technology, equipment and supporting processes. The mission of the initiative is to stimulate innovation in technology and processes required for execution of onshore pipeline projects by engaging all contributors involved in the construction supply chain.

At the conference, updates were received on the work being undertaken by various novel construction working groups.

New Board of Directors

Elections for the new IPLOCA Board of Directors also took place at the Convention. The new President is Bruno de la Roussière from Entrepose Contracting. Of particular relevance, the two directors for the east and far east region, to which Australia belongs, are Andy Lukas (AJ Lucas Group Ltd) and Liu Weimin (China Petroleum Pipeline). Congratulations to Andy on his re-election.

Social events

The Convention is also known for its tradition of well organised social events in fabulous locations. These include first time attendee functions, current and past presidents’ events, lunches, cocktail functions and dinners. The entertainment was varied and of a high standard comprising fireworks, actors, traditional dance troupes, magicians, highly skilled musicians, a fashion show, a marching band and even a cheerleading squad!

The program included visits to ancient sites, museums, and three of the most picturesque islands within easy reach of Athens. And for the sport minded, the annual tennis and golf tournaments provided much energetic fun.

Farewell for now

The final evening commenced with the Fabick cocktail party, followed by the final banquet. Towards the end of the evening, the new President bravely led the delegates and their partners in singing a modified version of the song San Francisco, the location of next year’s IPLOCA Convention.

San Francisco IPLOCA’s song
In the words of Bruno de la Roussière.
If you’re going to San Francisco Be sure to come to IPLOCA’s great fair If you’re going to San Francisco You”˜re gonna meet good pipeline people there For those who come to San Francisco Summertime will be IPLOCA fair In the streets of San Francisco Gentle people with pipelines in their head There’s a gas vibration With new oil exploration Pipelines in motion In the pipe profession Such desire of action Pipelines in motion, pipelines in motion For those who come to San Francisco Be sure to come to IPLOCA’s great fair If you come to San Francisco You”˜re gonna meet good pipeline people there

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