Tulsa’s Pipeline and Energy Expo focuses on revitalizing Oklahoma’s energy market

Oklahoma is a leading energy producer, specifically oil, natural gas and wind energy. The state currently ranks 6th in the U.S. in total energy production.

The Pipeline + Energy Expo is the premier energy event in Tulsa. In its seventh year, the two day conference connects professionals from Oklahoma, the surrounding states and Canada.

This year’s conference is co-located with Natural Gas Vehicles Oklahoma (NGVOK), making the energy expo the most comprehensive energy event in the region.

The PennEnergy staff is scattered throughout the expo - visiting exhibitors, gathering information and sitting in on the sessions with distinguished guests and industry leaders.

Oklahoma is a leading energy producer, specifically oil, natural gas and wind energy. The state currently ranks 6th in the U.S. in total energy production.

Tuesday morning, the expo kicked off with a riveting talk given by five pros in the energy industry. The panel discussed new opportunities to help better support Oklahoma’s businesses by enabling access to a global supply chain.

Moderator Bill Solomon, president of Vacuworx lead the panel, comprised of: Abdel Zelou, market development director with T.D. Williamson, Taylor Shinn, commercial inititatives manager with GE Global Energy Research Center, Adam Wilmoth, energy editor for The Oklahoman and Brian Busch, director with Genscape.

The hot topics in the room were hydraulic fracturing, EOR, the future of energy, storage, and rail vs. pipeline.

But the elephant in the room was the price of oil and what the experts predict for the end of the year.

The message was loud and clear: It’s not going up for a while, and we all might as well get used to it and adjust. It’s a new era of oil prices. Gone are the $100 barrel days.

“There is a new reality of oil prices,” Shinn remarked. “The recovery of hydrocarbons is getting better and better across the board.”

Zelou stated, “We have the ingenuity to cope with $30-$40 oil,” with Solomon chiming in, “Things aren’t as bad as they seem. At $35-$40 a barrel, we have the technology to do this profitably.”

The outlook seems dismal on most days, but today, in this room, the vibe was positive.

Later in the morning there were talks about the effectiveness of pipeline safety and integrity strategies, the impact of emerging tight oil on transportation and refining, and what fate oil prices hold for the midstream sector.

 The surge in U.S. production of tight oil from advances in fracking and horizontal drilling has raised concerns on how pipelines and refineries might accommodate the increased volumes of domestic light crude.

Dwijen Banerjee, senior advisor at the University of Tulsa said, “Tight oil technology is expanding rapidly, so fast that we are seeing infrastructure and manpower issues.

“But, the quality of oil has the biggest impact on refinery performance,” Banerjee continued.

Oklahoma is a leading energy producer, specifically oil, natural gas and wind energy. The state currently ranks 6th in the U.S. in total energy production.
Dwijen Banerjee, senior advisor at the University of Tulsa

There are several possible solutions to the refinery and transportation issues created by increased tight oil production. Those solutions include building the Greenfield refinery, lifting the 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. produced crude oil and creating additional pipelines.

The keynote luncheon featured talks by Congressman Jim Bridenstine, the vice chair of Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Dana Murphy, and Betty J. Simkins, Williams Companies chair of business and professor of finance for OSU’s Spears School of Business.

The afternoon ends today with a five-person panel from T.D. Williamson on pipeline pigging and the purpose and benefits of pigging.

Pigging is an essential component of pipeline operation and maintenance and is integral to an operator’s integrity management program. There are a variety of factors which determine the success of a regular pigging program, including pipeline operational conditions, features of the pipeline system, and pig selection.

Over on the NGVOK side of things, the day consisted of talks regarding CNG fleets, CNG stations, expanding the footprint of retail fueling and the strategic plans for growth and new technology in the CNG fueling market.

Wednesday’s top topics will be presented by equally impressive speakers from the industry, and will include a keynote given by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

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