Americans hit buried utilities approximately once per minute
THE Common Ground Alliance (CGA) – the US’ leading organization focused on protecting underground utility lines and the safety of people who dig near them – announced in mid-May findings from its first-ever National Utility Damage Assessment, which show that Americans unintentionally damage underground utilities approximately once per minute every year, risking serious injuries and costly service disruptions, fines, and repair costs.
The CGA report is composed of data from its damage information reporting tool (DIRT) that illustrates recent utility damage trends (2006), as well as results from a national public opinion study of ‘do-it-yourself’ householders. This information, along with a series of relevant trend data, raises concerns about a likely increase in digging potentially resulting in an increase in damage for the remainder of 2008 and beyond. According to the Assessment, people who fail to notify a local one-call centre before digging cause approximately 40% of all utility damage, making it the top reason for these dangerous and costly incidents. This statistic jumps to 60% for landscaping and fence building, two types of project that typically occur near homes.
The nation’s 62 one-call centres, located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, contact appropriate utility companies after receiving a call from someone who intends to dig. Technicians from these utility companies then go to the site and mark the approximate location of their lines with water-soluble paint or flags to reduce the likelihood of an excavator striking a line.
The projected growth in DIY projects is of particular a concern because, according to a 2007 public opinion study by CGA, only 33% ‘DIYers’ contact their utility companies through a local one-call centre before digging. “The current level of annual utility damages threatens public safety and reliable access to power, heat, water and communication services, and we’re concerned it could be worse in 2008 with the increase in planned DIY projects,” said CGA President Bob Kipp. “The data in our Assessment illustrate the need for a higher level of public awareness about the risks associated with digging without first contacting a local one-call centre.”
In the US, 811 was launched as a national call-before-you-dig telephone number in May, 2007, as a way to reach all 62 one-call centres with the same, easy-to-remember, phone number. The number earned this designation from the Federal Communications Commission in 2005 at the direction of an Act of Congress in 2002, and Americans have made more than 15 million calls to one-call centres since 811’s launch. However, the data from the Assessment indicate that call volume must rise considerably beyond this figure in the coming years for Americans to achieve a higher level of safety and service reliability. “Having a single call-before-you-dig number that works in all parts of the country has been one of the largest breakthroughs in protecting our underground infrastructure and the people who dig,” said Carl Johnson, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a division of the US Department of Transportation. “The next milestone will occur when all Americans call 811 as the first step in their project planning. If 911 is the number to call to report emergencies, 811 is the number to call to help prevent them when digging around your home.”
7th International Pipeline Conference announces co-chairs…
THE organizing committee of Calgary’s 2008 International Pipeline Conference (IPC) has announced that Gerard Protti, executive vice-president of EnCana Corporation and Sheila Leggett, vice-chair of the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) will co-chair the event, which will be held in Calgary from 29 September to 3 October. Mr Protti and Ms Leggett bring years of experience in the pipeline industry to this event, which has become world-renowned as “the” pipeline conference to attend.
Shelia Leggett was appointed as a temporary board member of the NEB in July, 2006, and in September that year she was appointed as a full board member. In January this year she was designated vice-chair. Before joining the NEB, Shelia Leggett was a board member for the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) which conducts hearings into natural resource development projects in Alberta. She also served as a director of operations for the NRCB.
In his corporate relations capacity Gerard Protti is accountable for EnCana’s corporate-responsibility, environment, and health and safety activities, as well as the company’s energy-efficiency initiative and its environmental innovation fund. In this role, he is also responsible for regulatory services and Aboriginal and government relations. As president of EnCana’s offshore and international division, Gerard Protti is accountable for EnCana’s international exploration and development activities and its Atlantic assets, including the Deep Panuke gas development project offshore Nova Scotia.
Gerard Protti is chairman of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ (CAPP) board of governors, co-chair of the Canadian government’s energy sector ‘Sustainability Table’, and a member of the University of Alberta’s board of governors.
The 7th IPC, one of the largest gatherings of pipeline professionals in the world, will be held at the Hyatt Regency and Telus Convention Centre. Building on the 2006 event, an anticipated 1300 delegates will have the opportunity to listen to over 300 papers in 13 technical tracks, as well as being addressed by international keynote speakers and participate in a variety of panels, tutorials, and poster sessions all pertaining to the future of the pipeline industry. In conjunction with IPC, there will be an accompanying exhibition showcasing the latest in equipment, technology and services. For further details see www.internationalpipelineconference.com and www.petroleumshow.com.
….and Global Pipeline Award 2008 opens for nominations
AS MANY READERS will know, the Pipeline Systems Division (PSD) of the International Petroleum Technology Institute (IPTI) of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) established the Global Pipeline Award in 2005 in order to recognize outstanding innovations and technological advances in the field of pipeline transportation. One Global Pipeline Award is presented each year to the organization that, in the opinion of the judging committee, has been responsible for the most outstanding achievement in the field of pipeline transportation for that year. In more detail, the Award is intended to:
promote progress and international cooperation in the field of pipeline systems engineering
support achievements in pipeline engineering education
encourage the timely exchange of information among researchers and engineers
promote technical activities, including conferences, in the field of pipeline technology
promote safety and public welfare
promote public recognition of the pipeline industry
The Award is judged by an expert panel according to the following criteria:
relevance of the innovation or development to the pipeline transportation industry
effectiveness in resolving the stated problem, and in achieving the stated objective
in the case of a commercial company, the impact on the company’s competitiveness
contribution to efficiency, reliability, operability, versatility and integrity of pipeline transportation systems
impact on public safety and welfare
impact on the environment
The PSD is now inviting entries for the 2008 Award, the closing date for which is 15 September. The award will be presented at a function held during the International Pipeline Conference in Calgary on 29 September – 3 October, and full details of how to enter and other information can be found at the ASME’s site: www.asme-ipti.org/public/PagDBJVL534434423.aspx.
Past winners were TransCanada (2005), Petrobras (2006), and PUC-Rio University (2007).
Journal of Pipeline Engineering: changes and improvements
DURING LAST December, as some readers will know, a survey was carried out by the major UK scientific journal publisher Wiley Blackwell into readers’ opinions of the Journal of Pipeline Engineering. The survey was neither rigorously comprehensive nor necessarily scientific: rather-more, it gave a ‘snapshot’ of the views of a randomly-chosen selection of readers, and of others in the oil and gas pipeline industry.
The overall result of the survey shows – to our pleasure – that the Journal is held in high regard by those who receive it, and that it is perceived as fulfilling an increasingly-important role in providing a forum for scientific papers covering this branch of engineering to be published. As well as these very-positive comments, however, it was clear from the survey that two areas in particular were not measuring up to readers’ expectations.
From its foundation in 2001 (as the Journal of Pipeline Integrity) the Journal has benefitted from the valued advice and support of an Editorial Board the members of which represent a cross-section of interests and experience. However, following the 2007 survey, the importance of the peer-review process to contributors and readers alike had been underestimated. In a similar way, another comment emphasized the fact that the ‘branding’ of the Journal had, in reality, been overlooked.
In order to meet these criticisms, the publishers have now made a number of improvements in the way the Journal is produced, the most important of which are as follows:
The Editorial Board’s membership has been expanded. We have been honoured that the existing membership has been enhanced by a number of new members, a complete list of whom is shown on the inside-front cover. The Board members will play an important role in guiding the content of the Journal and ensuring that the quality of the papers it publishes meets the highest standards; from later this year, we hope that a formal peer-review process will be in place to allow this aim to be monitored and achieved.
The ability to read on-line and download the current and back issues in pdf format
A searchable archive of papers that have been published
An automated system for submitting and tracking new papers offered for publication
On-line processing of subscription dues
Further details of how the new site – to be launched on 1 September – will operate will be sent to subscribers individually.
We trust that these changes will enhance the reputation and quality of the Journal, but we are always interested to receive opinions and comments, and to use these to institute further improvements. The publishers’ details are shown on page 66; please don’t hesitate to make contact.