This week’s Pipeliners Podcast episode features Mark LaCour of the Oil & Gas Global Network returning to the podcast to discuss pipeline industry predictions for 2022.
In this episode, you will learn about the predictions that Mark puts together each year for the pipeline industry that are based on market research. Find out why Mark is predicting the beginning of a 10-year supercycle in the oil & gas industry, plus hear about other predictions for the new year.
2022 Pipeline Predictions Summary
- Increase in community pushback.
- Consolidation in sharing of transport.
- Cybersecurity will continue to be a hot topic.
- Increase in executable demonstrations of technology.
- Increase in cost of labor.
- Struggling for the retention of social standing.
- 2022 will be the beginning of a 10-year supercycle for the better.
- Fewer large projects and more, smaller niche projects.
- Increase in cybersecurity requirements.
- Increasing focus on physical security for remote unnamed sites.
- Increase in prices.
- More opportunities for startup pipelines.
2022 Pipeline Predictions: Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms
- Mark LaCour is the editor-in-chief of the Oil & Gas Global Network (OGGN) and co-host of the Oil & Gas This Week podcast. Connect with Mark on LinkedIn.
- modalpoint is the premier oil & gas sales enablement company. The main practice areas are Market Research and Strategy, all solely focused on the global oil and gas industry, and all built upon what truly works and not classroom theory.
- ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) refers to the sustainability movement in oil and gas to continue operating safely, in compliance, and in a responsible manner to do no harm while achieving business objectives.
- Pipeline Right-Of-Way (ROW) is a property in which a pipeline company and a landowner both have a legal interest. Each has a right to be there, although each has a different type of use for the land.
- TC Energy is one of North America’s leading energy infrastructure companies with operations in natural gas, oil, and power industries.
- Keystone Pipeline (KXL) is a large-scale pipeline system designed to transfer oil from Canada to Texas. The fourth phase of the project, Keystone XL, became a hot-button, divisive issue in 2015, which caused delays. The expansion was approved in 2017 by the Trump Administration. However, the project was set on the path to cancellation under the Biden Administration in early 2021. In June 2021, the Keystone XL Pipeline Project was terminated.
- FERC Order 636 – Restructuring of Pipeline Services requires pipelines to unbundle their sales services from their transportation services, including a new unbundled “no-notice,” firm transportation service.
- Master Service Agreement (MSA) is a contract used by oil and gas companies to enter into an agreement in advance with their contractors that specifies the terms and conditions that will govern the contractors’ work.
- SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a system of software and technology that allows pipeliners to control processes locally or at remote locations.
- API (American Petroleum Institute) represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance industry operations. Today, it is the global leader in convening subject matter experts to establish, maintain, and distribute consensus standards for the oil and natural gas industry. [Access episodes with API guests.]
- Hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting of hydrogen and carbon found in crude oil, natural gas, and coal. Hydrocarbons are highly combustible and the main energy source of the world.
- Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refers to a group of 13 of the world’s major oil-exporting nations. OPEC was founded in 1960 to coordinate the petroleum policies of its members and to provide member states with technical and economic aid.
- ILI (Inline Inspection) is a method to assess the integrity and condition of a pipe by determining the existence of cracks, deformities, or other structural issues that could cause a leak.
- Integrity Management (IM) (Pipeline Integrity Management) is a systematic approach to operate and manage pipelines in a safe manner that complies with PHMSA regulations.
- Kinder Morgan is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America. They own an interest in or operate approximately 83,000 miles of pipelines and 144 terminals. Their pipelines transport natural gas, gasoline, crude oil, carbon dioxide (CO2), and more.
2022 Pipeline Predictions: Full Episode Transcript
Russel Treat: Welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast, Episode 214, sponsored by EnerACT Energy Services, supporting pipeline operators to achieve natural compliance through plans, procedures, and tools implemented to automatically create and retain the required records as the work is performed. Find out more about EnerACT Energy Services at EnerACTEnergyServices.com.
Announcer: The Pipeliners Podcast, where professionals, Bubba geeks, and industry insiders share their knowledge and experience about technology, projects, and pipeline operations. Now your host, Russel Treat.
Russel: Thanks for listening to the Pipeliners Podcast. I appreciate you taking the time. To show the appreciation, we give away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener every episode. This week, our winner is Leslie Harris with Whitewater Midstream. Congratulations, Leslie. Your YETI is on its way. To learn how you can win this signature prize, stick around till the end of the episode.
This week, Mark LaCour, editor in chief at the Oil and Gas Global Network, is going to join us to provide his predictions for 2022. I think you’ll enjoy this one. I certainly did.
Hey, Mark. Welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast.
Mark LaCour: Nice to be back, Russel. It’s been a while.
Russel: It has. I think you were in episodes that started with a one.
Russel: When there were two digits. Way back in the beginning.
Mark: Way before the COVID lockdowns, for sure.
Russel: Listen, I always listen to your Oil & Gas This Week podcast. I always get a kick out of listening to your projections. Before we dive into your projections, why don’t you tell the podcast listeners a little bit about how you got into doing projections? Give everybody a little history and context or where you’re coming from to do your predictions. Then we’ll predicate going from there.
Mark: First thing. Everybody’s that’s listening, do not make any financial decisions on anything I’m about to say. I’m not the expert. I’m just a guy that’s been in the industry for a little bit of time, and I talk to a lot of people.
Russel, it started back with modalpoint, my first company, which is still around, which is the market research company for oil and gas. What happened is for our own business, we needed to try to figure out what was happening next year, so we could capitalize that, so we could help our clients sell their products or services to the oil and gas industry. It started off as internal.
Then I shared it with, out of all people, somebody from Chevron, who loved it, who then shared inside of Chevron. It went popular. The next year, people from Chevron were shooting emails, wanting my predictions, so I started shooting video.
I’ve done it for eight years in a row. Sometimes, I get it right. A lot of times, I get it wrong. It’s really me just trying to make my best guess, based upon experience, of what’s going to happen next year in the industry.
Russel: I should say our listeners are a little bit more niche than yours. Yours is oil and gas overall. This audience is more pipeliners. It’s a little bit more of a narrow niche. What were some of the things you got right in your predictions last year?
Mark: Let’s see. Generation Z coming into the workforce. The consolidation of the big tech companies that are selling into oil and gas. Remote working, absolutely. [laughs] I nailed that one.
Russel: Yeah. Right.
Mark: That was luck.
Russel: Looking backward, that looks like that was an easy call, looking backward.
Mark: The emergence of hydrogen as a viable product for the oil and gas industry for fuel, I think I got that one right. The change in our culture because of the perception of our young people here and in Europe. Young people don’t want to come work in our industry. Our industry is dependent on engineers and project managers. We have to hire them from somewhere.
If we can’t hire them from the U.S. and Europe, we’re going to hire them from countries like Russia and Africa, who think about the oil and gas impact to mankind differently. There are also different cultures in the Western culture, so I think I got that right, too. I got quite a few of them wrong.
Russel: I wanted to ask you about that question, too.
Russel: Before I asked you that question and embarrassed you, I wanted to talk about what you got right. [laughs]
Mark: So, the wrong predictions. I thought what was going to be really big last year was the ability to trace hydrocarbons based upon DNA from reservoir to consumer. I thought it was going to be a big driver for ESG. Nobody even cares.
Mark: It didn’t even show up on the radar. The other thing that I say is a draw is I thought last year was going to be a lot of the distributors, a lot of the middlemen for parts and pieces, were going to disappear and the service companies were going to buy directly from the manufacturers.
That happened a little bit but not to the degree that I thought. All these distributors that worried about their jobs and their companies, I don’t think you [laughs] need to worry. I’m going to say that one was a draw.
Then the other thing is I thought last year was going to be a great year for the Canadian oil and gas industry. Based upon U.S. politics, we need heavy complex crudes. We’re obviously struggling to get that from the Middle East. We’re not getting it from Venezuela.
The only other place to really get it from was Canada. I thought it was going to be a boom for their industry, but their politicians are as wacko as ours. They kept that boom from happening. I missed that one, too, the re-emergence of the Canadian oil and gas industry.
Russel: I think the jury’s still out on that would be my opinion.
Mark: I don’t know what you’ve heard, I’ve literally had companies that I’ve never spoken to reach out to me personally, looking for anybody that’s breathing to go work in the Canadian oil field right now. They can’t hire enough people.
I don’t know if that’s going to affect their ability to produce and distribute hydrocarbons. It’s a little bit too early for that. I bet during these conversations, we’re going to talk pipeline at some point, which is a big factor in that.
Russel: Actually, let’s go ahead and make that transition. What are your predictions for the pipeline industry in 2022?
Mark: For the first time, since I’ve been around, people don’t want pipelines in their backyards, in their right-of-way. When I was younger, I grew up in a rural part of Louisiana. We had a company buy a right-of-way. We had 140 acres, and a company bought a right-of-way and put a pipeline in. When they were finished, you couldn’t even tell the pipeline was there. The cows went back to graze and everything.
My dad was so happy because he got that monthly check. It was a benefit to him and his family that the pipeline was on our property. Public perception has changed.
This is crazy. I’m seeing pipeline companies do all the work, secure all the right-of-ways to build a pipeline. They go into construction and local communities push back. They have to reroute the pipeline because of public perception. That is a huge unknown.
Unfortunately, I think that variable affecting pipeline projects is going to get bigger or worse, however you want to measure, for next year, for the pipeline industry.
Russel: I would have to agree with that one. That’s going to be a continuing thorn in the side of pipeline operators. What I would say is what you’re going to see is fewer of these large projects and more smaller niche projects.
What I think is going to happen is that you’re not going to have the TC Energy’s trying to build a Keystone XL. What you’re going to have is private equity-backed midstream #1 building 100 or 200 miles of pipe and #2 building 100, 200 miles pipe, #3 building 200, 300 miles of pipe. Then TC Energy will come buy them and hook them all together.
Mark: We didn’t practice this, but I swear to God, this is a perfect segue to what I think is going to happen next in the pipeline industry is you could see a lot of consolidation in sharing of transport.
What I mean by that is the old model was a pipeline company recognizes a constraint somewhere. They figure out if the project makes physical sense. They then secure the right-of- ways, do all the legal work. They get letters of intent from the operators at a certain price break point to ship the hydrocarbons. They go and construct and build a pipeline. The constraint is met. The pipeline company makes money off with operators to get the hydrocarbons to market.
I think that model is changing. You see cooperation between smaller pipeline companies themselves, so that you have multiple pipeline operators on that one route instead of a single pipeline company owning that one route.
You can see more collaboration in a part of the oil and gas industry that used to hate to collaborate. When I say that, Russel, I don’t mean it’s going to be wide open in 2022. I mean, it’s the beginning of the trend.
Russel: That’s interesting. If you’re familiar with FERC Order 636, it came out and deregulated the big gas transmission lines. They turned the transmission lines into open carriers. They created a whole new market for transmission marketing guys that would market transition from Portal A to Portal B and dealt with moving it through the network.
I think you’re right. That classically has not been what you see in fuels, pipelines, and refined products pipelines, and what you see in crude oil pipelines. They tend to be more fully operator-owned/point to point, but I could certainly see that changing. That happens through Cushing already and some other key areas.
Mark: We don’t need to talk about cybersecurity. Obviously, if your audience knows the importance of that to the pipeline community, it’s become a hot topic for several reasons. That trend will continue, and it should continue.
That trend is also a byproduct of the adaptation of newer technologies by the pipeline industry. It’s good because it gives you unbelievable control over moving products on detecting leakage, on looking at predictive maintenance versus, “I need it. It’s leaking right now,” type stuff, but as you bring in these new technologies, you’re also bringing new doors for the bad guys to enter.
Unfortunately, in a cybersecurity world right now, it’s not some bored kid in Florida that’s having fun with his friends. It’s state-sponsored attacks.
The cybersecurity part is enormous. It’s so big and so important that the people that are in the know don’t want to talk about it for security reasons. It’s almost under the radar unless you’re in the industry. It’s an enormous deal. There’s new technologies, I think, that also drive new ways of making revenue in the pipeline industry, things like blending in the pipe.
Russel: Yeah. No doubt about all that. What I would say is that the vendor community to the pipeline operators are going to start seeing cyber requirements that are quite robust showing up in their MSAs.
If you’re a vendor to pipeline operators, if you’re a service provider to pipeline operators, put on your big boy pants because you’re getting ready to play the cybersecurity game. For those vendors and service providers who can’t play the game, they’re going to get eliminated and cut out of the business because the operators will not be willing to accept the risk.
Mark: Yeah. It should be this way. It really should.
Russel: I agree.
Mark: I remember the days when if you wanted to hack a pipeline, you’d just drive out to the pipeline, open the gate, which probably didn’t have a lock on it, open one of the boxes of wiring, scrape the insulation off the wires, attach your alligator clips. You’re looking at analog data over a SCADA circuit.
Now it’s not like that at all. It’s good. Our industry needed to advance the technology that’s monitoring and controlling these pipelines.
Russel: I think there’s going to be an increasing focus in pipelining on physical security for those remote unmanned sites. That’s a big challenge. It’s a real, big challenge.
Mark: I don’t know how much we want to talk about technology, because I could talk about pipelines and technology all day long because it’s changing. It’s cool. We talked about vendors early. The vendors promised a lot of stuff with big data analytics, machine learning. The reality was they couldn’t deliver on a lot of it.
IBM is one of our sponsors. Even Watson, who I thought had high hopes. At one point, I was telling people, “Don’t let your kids become geophysicists or petroleum engineers because Watson’s better than all of them.” In some ways it is. The thing is, it didn’t pan out in the real world.
What’s happened in the pipeline industry, I’ve seen a lot of people do this, I’ve seen chief technology officers and CIOs and security officers, now there’s this backlash against the vendors. The vendors promised all this stuff that technology they couldn’t deliver on. Now, the pipeline industry, the people that are looking at technology to solve problems are going, “Show me.”
Another trend is going to be the boots on the ground, rubber hit the road executable demonstration of technology to the pipeline industry, not the academia demo, 30 slides, that sort of thing.
Russel: Yeah, what’s interesting is I think what the pipeline operators did is they modernized their leadership, and their IT, and their CIOs. These guys were used to big data. They’re used to spending money on information projects. Pipeline operators, because of their risk aversion, and for good reason, moved much slower.
What we had was a whole bunch of people promising things based on what they’ve done in manufacturing or in logistics, or so forth, and then they got into pipelining and all of a sudden, “Yeah, buddy, these guys are pretty high tech.” There are reasons they move slow.
You’re absolutely right, what happens often, and particularly in the pipelining world, you see this in other areas of heavy industry, where the distance between proof of concept and production rollout is 10 times what it would be in other industries.
Mark: Yep. That’s a good way to put it. That’s a very good way to put it.
Russel: That’s a very valid thing. What else do you see coming?
Mark: Do I need to talk about skilled labor shortage? Do we even need to talk about it? Finding welders, and pipefitters, and machinists, and scaffolding builders is unbelievably hard. It’s gotten even worse post-pandemic.
Some of these projects, they’re costing you a lot because the cost of labor is going to go up because there’s a shortage of people that have those skilled trades. That’s going to affect the viability of some of the projects, which, when I hear that come out of my mouth, sounds silly because when I was younger everybody wanted to go work on a pipeline job.
It was good money. You got per diem. It was hard work, but you made really good money. To think that nobody wants to weld a pipeline anymore sounds weird, but I’m seeing this enormous labor shortage already.
Russel: Part of it is, the lack of skilled labor. The other part of it is that skilled labor wants to work someplace else other than oil and gas. That’s a cultural thing more than it is an available skills thing.
We as an industry have been getting a really, really bad rep. I say all the time, that in pipelining, it’s like being an offensive lineman in football. The only time your number gets called on the PA is when you screw up.
Mark: That’s so true. [laughs]
Russel: You could be a pipeline operator and move millions and millions of barrels of crew today. You have 100 barrels spill, and it’s going to be all over the national news. That is the environment we’re in. Social media and others in the 24 hours of news cycle, and all that, lends itself to that. What I would say is that pipeliners are going to struggle to retain their social license.
Mark: A lot of them have lost their social license, quite frankly, because they waited too long to act. Then when they decided to act, the way they chose to address this negative public perception is through the trade organizations, API, and that stuff. At some point, those organizations did a good job representing our industry to the public, and at some point, they quit adapting to modern times.
I had a knock-down, drag-out fight with the past president of API seven or eight years ago because they spent a couple of million dollars for a Super Bowl ad. It’s, “Jack, nobody’s watching the ad. If they watch it, the first thing you think of is big oil marketing. They don’t get the message. You could’ve spent $2,000 on a Twitter campaign and got 10 times the results.”
In the pipeline industry, and the oil and gas industry as a whole, we kept our head in the sand for too long. We thought it would just blow over. This whole social media thing, we thought probably was a trend or something. Now that one person on social media can have the ears of millions, it’s a real problem.
You’re starting to see some companies address it properly. Still, as an industry, I don’t think we figured out the best way to…I don’t want to say fight this battle because it shouldn’t be a fight. It’s really an education. How do we educate the public, especially our world’s young people, on the value of pipelines?
It’s the safest way to move anything. Forget hydrocarbons. It’s the safest way to move water. It’s the safest way to move palm oil. Yet, we’ve got it to the point now where people think that we’re destroying the planet. We’re not. We’re making the planet a better place. How do we help educate our world’s young people about that?
If we don’t educate our world’s young people, this is going to continue to haunt us and continue to drive prices up to the point that projects that normally would be viable aren’t going to be viable anymore. Our industry won’t ever go away. We just don’t need added costs and added legal constraints on us.
Russel: Our industry, the pipeline industry, I believe, has focused on doing a good job, being good community participants, and staying out of the limelight. We’re happier when nobody knows we’re there. That means we’re doing a good job.
Mark: That worked in the past.
Russel: Yeah, it worked in the past. It worked well for a long period of time. We’re in a new reality where we don’t have that luxury. There is no hiding.
There’s always some group somewhere that has an agenda and wants to get coverage and is going to put it out on social media. Some of it’s going to get picked up. We have not yet caught up with how to participate in that conversation effectively, but we’re not alone. [laughs]
Mark: No, exactly.
Russel: That is a macro trend. That’s pretty much anybody. The only people that have figured out social media and making it work for them are pointing their fingers and being angry.
Mark: A lot of truth to that. One of the problems with all of this is that if we can’t educate the world on what we do, it’s only going to hurt us worse. The problem with hurting the pipeline industry is that the pipeline industry is a low-margin business, to begin with, right?
Mark: What we don’t want is people having to pinch pennies because of this negative public perception and maybe buying the cheaper gasket or may not getting the guy trained on how to operate the forklift. Eventually, if we’re not careful, it’s going to hurt our industry in ways besides just profits and public perception. We don’t need any more of that as an industry.
Russel: First, I’ll tell you what I think the situation is. The nature of media, social media, and all of that, and the speed at which it is evolving is very similar to cybersecurity. People will ask me about cybersecurity. I’m pretty knowledgeable in that domain, but I’m by far not an expert. To be an expert, you’ve got to live in it all the time, read the trades every day. If you’re out of it for two weeks, you’re not current anymore.
Russel: The same thing’s true in the whole social media world. We, as a business, don’t move at that speed. We move much slower and much more deliberately. Building that kind of capability and competency is going to be a challenge. What I would say is you’re going to start seeing some of the larger companies try to figure that out.
Mark: They’re already starting to try to figure that out, not fast enough for my taste, but at least they’re moving the needle in the right direction.
I’ve got two more left, Russel.
Russel: Good, let’s go.
Mark: Next one is I think this year, 2022, is the beginning of an oil and gas 10-year supercycle for the good. We just came out of hell for the industry in the last five years, but I think the global demand for hydrocarbons is going to continue to grow, continue to grow up.
There’s a constraint on the ability to produce and move those hydrocarbons, so I think, for the next 10 years, this industry’s going to boom no matter what our politicians try to do. With all that said, we’re going to be short-staffed. We’re going to be overworked. We’re not going to be able to get the parts and pieces we want to get.
The industry is going to go through a very big boom, and I think it’s good for everybody, especially the pipeline side of the house. All the different ways you can move fluids, all the ways you can protect the environment from things like produced waters, all that is pipelines.
There’s going to be a massive need. I just don’t think we’re going to have the materials or the labor and the blessing of the public to be able to complete these projects either at all or on time and on budget, but I think we’re getting ready to hit a 10-year supercycle.
Russel: If you’re correct about that, then you’re going to see prices for everything go way up.
Mark: Yup. That’s happening now. [laughs]
Russel: It just means that if you think prices are up now, hold on.
Russel: As the rollercoaster ride goes, we’re still clicking up to the summit.
Mark: 100 percent. Then my last one is unfortunate. I really hope I’m wrong about this. I think you’re going to see a huge increase in energy theft.
Right now, people hot tap pipelines in Mexico or Venezuela. They’re literally refining, they’re literally boiling their own crude they’re stealing to make back door gasoline to run their cars on.
I think you’re going to see that grow to company levels, maybe even state or country levels. I think you’re going to see more hydrocarbon theft happen this year, unfortunately, than has ever happened before. The bad thing about that, number one, it puts people in danger. If you’re a trained expert, you don’t want to be hot tapping a pipeline, right?
Mark: Nobody wants to be your friend. If you’re not a trained expert, that is one of the most dangerous things I can imagine you trying to do. Not only that, but when you steal hydrocarbons and you spill it, and you don’t report it, it’s also going to be horrible for the environment.
I think one of the things that OPEC’s going to struggle with is keeping their member nations honest. Not that they’ve ever been 100 percent honest about what they produce and what they put on the black market.
I think you’re going to see a lot more of OPEC’s production and also Russia’s production hit the black market, and that’s not good for anybody. I really hope I’m wrong about this whole energy theft thing because it’s not good for the people.
Russel: I hadn’t thought about that, Mark, but I think you’re probably absolutely right. If you look back, the last time that oil was getting up around 100 barrels or better, there were all kinds of things going on, even in the U.S. People were doing biodiesel in their garages.
They were going out to the fry places that used to pay to get their grease hauled off. They were grabbing all the grease out of the fry places to the point they started locking those things up and selling it.
Russel: People were taking it home and making diesel because it’s like printing money. I think you’re right. I think prices are headed up. I think we’re going to see more of that. What I would say is, for the companies that understand how to drive effectiveness and efficiency, particularly efficiency around reduced requirements for labor, you’re going to see those companies really do well.
Mark: We have to. It’s really interesting. I was having this conversation this morning. Just 15 or 20 years ago, you would judge a roughneck’s experience by how many fingers he was missing. When I tell young people that, they think I’m crazy. It was not that long ago that was common.
Russel: Oh, yeah!
Mark: Russel, we’ve fixed that. I know accidents still happen, but roughnecks still don’t lose their fingers like they used to.
Russel: It’s super unusual now.
Mark: I think that same maturity is going to happen in the pipeline industry, to your point, with companies that are able to replace…I hate to say replace people because people aren’t going to lose their jobs.
Russel: No, no. In fact, there are going to be more jobs.
Mark: Yes. Using technology to augment the people in the right way to make it safer for them to work, to make it easier for engineers to make smart business decisions. To your point, I think there’s companies out there that are looking ahead, that are using technologies in a way that makes their workplace safer. It makes their impact to the environment better. It adds to their shareholder value.
Unfortunately, there’s some companies that aren’t doing that, that aren’t jumping on the bandwagon. They’re going to get left behind and eventually disappear.
Russel: I would agree with you. I would say that there’s going to be an opportunity for smaller pipeline startups that can come up with a new business model, a new way of doing things where they can build, from the ground up, their operation systems, their management systems.
I’ll make a five-year prediction because I don’t think this is going to happen next year, but I think we’re going to see a major move in five years. That is the pipeline world over the last 20 years has spent a huge amount of resources and done an immense amount of improvement around its robotics technologies, its inspection technologies, and its integrity management programs.
I think you’re going to see that effort is going to be less focused on the pipe, not that we’re not going to continue to do that. We will. We always will, but you’re going to see a lot more focus on aerial imagery and what you can do with drones, advanced imagery capture, and advanced imagery analysis, number one.
The other thing I think you’re going to see is a lot of attention to management systems. Pipelines tend to exist in domains of technical expertise. I’ve got my ILI department. I’ve got my integrity management department. I’ve got my damage prevention department. They work across the entirety of the pipeline system.
I think we’re going to see those begin to become teams that focus on asset optimization. To do that, you’re going to have to have standards across the entire system that are followed by teams that have less direct leadership. That means you’ve got to have really good management systems. I think we’re going to see a big movement in that domain in the next five years.
Mark: You just rattled something off that is important to make a point of. You talked about pipeline startups. Russel, it was not that long ago that there was no such thing as a pipeline startup because Kinder Morgan was not going to buy from a company that may go out of business next year.
Now, Kinder Morgan knows that if it wants to compete in the future, it’s going to have to look at technologies invented by two guys from Chile or a startup that was spun off by Amazon. I love the fact there are pipeline startups, the fact they even exist.
They’re moving the needle in lumps, in jumps. A lot of them are using existing technologies in different ways to solve problems that we struggled with for 100 years, and I love it. I hope there’s more pipeline startup companies that are being formed out there. It just is a beautiful thing.
Russel: I agree. Hey, this has been fun. I think in the show notes I’m going to summarize your predictions so that I can get you back a year from now and we can compare notes and see how we did.
Mark: I would love to do that. That’d be a blast.
Russel: I want to shout out to you, Mark. When I first started this whole podcasting adventure back in 2017, and to the best of my knowledge, I was the first guy to do any kind of podcasting in pipelining, I had no idea if anybody was going to listen. I didn’t have any ideas how to do it.
I was out to dinner with a guy, and we were talking. He said, “Hey, have you heard of this oil and gas podcast, this Mark LaCour?” I’m like, “No!” I had no idea. I took your name down, found you on LinkedIn, reached out, and said, “Hey, man. I’m thinking about starting a podcast. Would you be willing to talk to me?”
You’re like, “Yeah, sure.” Within a day or two, we were on the phone. We had an hour-long conversation. I got tons of great input and all of that. You’ve really been a help to me in terms of being able to do this and do it well. I just want to recognize you for doing that. You have no benefit other than just being a good guy for doing that, so I really appreciate that.
Mark: You’re very welcome. Your show is incredible, and I wouldn’t tell you that if it wasn’t true. I would tell you if it sucked. It’s actually really good. In fact, we had some third-party validation on how good your show is a little while ago.
I see all the oil and gas and energy podcasters out there as family. We’re not competitors. The market is so enormous, and we’re at the tip of the iceberg. If I can keep you from making half the mistakes I’ve made, because I’ve made them all, I think that helps the industry as a whole and helps the podcaster community. I love this.
Russel: We’re all working to raise the water level and lift all the boats.
Mark: 100 percent.
Russel: All of us are trying to make the energy, the oil and gas business a better place to work, easier to learn, more of a family, more of a community.
Kudos to you and to your team and all the things you’re doing. For my listeners, I would encourage you, you ought to listen to Oil & Gas This Week, and you should send notes to Paige about giving Mark a hard time.
If you don’t know what that means, just listen. You’ll figure it out. [laughs]
Mark: It’s really funny the people that are writing in around that. If anybody wants to listen, it’s oilandgasthisweek.com. We also have 14 other oil and gas energy shows. Just go to oggn.com. You can find them all there. Russel, always, man. This is awesome. I love talking to you. We’ve got to do this more often.
Russel: I agree. In fact, we ought to actually meet in-person. Damn the COVID, full party ahead.
Mark: Dude, I’m not worried about COVID. I spent four years drinking out of a frickin’ Marine water buffalo. [laughter] If that can’t kill me, nothing else will. Seriously, now that the conferences are looking like they may be opening up again, maybe we’ll get together, do a live podcast at one of the conferences this year.
Russel: That’d be great. We’ll talk about that off-mic. Thanks for coming on board, man. It’s always fun.
Mark: Appreciate it, man. Stay safe.
Russel: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast and our conversation with Mark. Just a reminder before you go, you should register to win our customized Pipeliners Podcast YETI tumbler. Simply visit pipelinerspodcast.com/win and enter yourself in the drawing.
If you’d like to support the podcast, the best way to do that is to leave us a review. You can do that on Apple Podcast, Google Play, Stitcher, SoundCloud. You can find instructions at pipelinerspodcast.com
Russel: If you have ideas, questions, or topics you’d be interested in, please let me know either on the Contact Us page at pipelinerspodcast.com or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.
Transcription by CastingWords