5 memorable insights from the International Pipeline Conference

Last week in Calgary, pipeline professionals from around the world gathered together to talk about leadership and innovation.

The 11th International Pipeline Conference was an opportunity for engineers and scientists to share advancements in areas like safety and the environment , and for people to learn about the technologies that are helping make pipelines safer and more sustainable every day.

Although much of the conference focused on complex science and technologies, there were also panels and keynote speeches for those of us with a less scientific perspective.. These ranged from environmental assessments to safety, to communication. Here are some of the most memorable insights from those sessions:

The role of communications

The industry recognizes that people need facts in order to make informed decisions, but connecting on shared values and listening to other perspectives is equally important:

What we have to do is be fully transparent, let everyone be heard and then make decisions based on what we heard.

– Ken Paulson, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer – BC Oil and Gas Commission, speaking on the Executive Panel

Focusing on sustainability

Oil and gas companies invest heavily in making their operations more sustainable, and also in green energy research. It’s important that the industry commits to a secure, prosperous future.

People believe that the safety and security of their children depends on transitioning away from fossil fuels. They don’t consider that fossil fuels are currently ensuring that safety and security.

(Comment from the ‘Environmental Factors Influencing Pipeline Design’ panel session)

The next generation

Last week we saw the calibre of the young men and women entering the field, and witnessed the quality of their work. We also saw the hopes and dreams they have for a more sustainable industry:

If an environmentalist wants to work on a solar farm, that’s fine. But wouldn’t it be better to transform an industry that already exists [like pipelines], with innovation?

-Karen Radford, Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, Enbridge Inc., on the Young Pipeliners Panel

Demonstrating innovation

As an industry we strive for safer, more sustainable operations. Thanks to research and innovation we get closer to our goal of zero incidents:

One of the key focus areas for us is looking at technology. Our whole industry is around change, it’s around continuous improvement and a key aspect of that is technology.

– Patrick Smyth, IPC vice chair and vice president, safety and engineering, CEPA,  speaking at a media session

Being leaders

One of the consistent themes of the conference was being focused on continuous improvement, and the leadership that’s required to move the industry forward. Leadership for the pipeline industry is about looking to the future, being  willing to invest in research and development, and working together to create a safer, more prosperous planet for all:

It’s more than collaboration, it’s about accountability to innovation.

– Walter Kresic, Vice President of Pipeline Integrity, Enbridge, speaking on the Executive Panel

Over the next few months we will be expanding on some of the amazing information shared at the conference. Stay tuned for posts on such topics as drones, the 100-year old pipeline, young pipeliners and much more.