This week’s Pipeliners Podcast episode features AGA Gas Control Committee chair members Josh Hunkele and Al Musgrove discussing how the Gas Control Committee works, what their tasks consist of, and what they are currently working on. They talk through what is necessary for a functioning gas center and how the main challenge when it comes to gas is its safety during delivery and operations.
In this episode, you will learn how the AGA Gas Control Committee is helping combat safety issues with their new operating philosophy and what it consists of as well as why going back to the fundamentals can be necessary.
AGA Gas Control Committee Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms:
- Josh Hunkele is the Manager Gas Supply Planning and Control Room Operations at Dominion Energy. Connect with Josh on LinkedIn.
- Al Musgrove is the Interim Manager, System Gas Control at Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Connect with Al on LinkedIn.
- Pacific Gas and Electric Company, incorporated in California in 1905, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, the company is a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation. The company provides natural gas and electric service to approximately 16 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California.
- AGA (American Gas Association) represents companies delivering natural gas safely, reliably, and in an environmentally responsible way to help improve the quality of life for their customers every day. AGA’s mission is to provide clear value to its membership and serve as the indispensable, leading voice and facilitator on its behalf in promoting the safe, reliable, and efficient delivery of natural gas to homes and businesses across the nation.
- The annual AGA Operations Conference is the natural gas industry’s largest gathering of natural gas utility and transmission company operations management from across North America and the world. During the conference, participants share technical knowledge, ideas, and practices to promote the safe, reliable, and cost-effective delivery of natural gas to the end-user.
- The CRM Rule (Control Room Management Rule as defined by 49 CFR Parts 192 and 195) introduced by PHMSA provides regulations and guidelines for control room managers to safely operate a pipeline. PHMSA’s pipeline safety regulations prescribe safety requirements for controllers, control rooms, and SCADA systems used to remotely monitor and control pipeline operations.
- Control Room Management is regulated by PHMSA under 49 CFR Parts 192 and 195 for the transport of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, respectively. PHMSA’s pipeline safety regulations prescribe safety requirements for controllers, control rooms, and SCADA systems used to remotely monitor and control pipeline operations.
- PHMSA (Pipeline And Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) protects people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to our daily lives. To do this, the agency establishes national policy, sets and enforces standards, educates, and conducts research to prevent incidents. They prepare the public and first responders to reduce consequences if an incident does occur.
- SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a system of software and technology that allows pipeliners to control processes locally or at remote locations.
- Rupture mitigation valves are remote controlled or automatic shut-off valves placed throughout a pipeline used to close off the pipe in case of a rupture.
- Valve and Rupture Rule is a newly updated PHMSA regulation.This rule establishes requirements for rupture-mitigation valves, such as spacing, maintenance and inspection, and risk analysis. The final rule also requires operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to contact 9-1-1 emergency call centers immediately upon notification of a potential rupture and conduct post-rupture investigations and reviews.
- Valves are used to control the flow of product moving through a pipeline and support the stop/start function.
- In the Valve & Rupture Rule, PHMSA is proposing to require the installation of automatic shutoff valves, remote-control valves, or equivalent technology, on all newly constructed or entirely replaced natural gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines that have nominal diameters of 6 inches or greater.
- For transmission line valves, PHMSA noted in the Valve & Rupture Rule that all onshore transmission line segments with diameters greater than or equal to 6 inches that are constructed or entirely replaced after February 2021 must have automatic shutoff valves, remote-control valves, or equivalent technology installed at intervals meeting the appropriate valve spacing requirements.
- ASV (Automatic Shutoff Valves) are programmed to automatically stop the flow of product using a gauge or sensor in the field. For liquid pipelines, there is concern that the automatic closure of a valve can cause a pressure surge from the liquid traveling through the pipeline, potentially leading to an upstream rupture. For natural gas pipelines, this is typically not the case because of the properties of gas.
- RCV (Remote-Control Valves) are started or stopped using remote control technology from a separate location, typically a pipeline control room. The key is ensuring that controllers are equipped to understand what action to take when there is an event that could potentially require closure of the valve.
- ROC is the use of rapidly changing temperatures to trigger an alarm.
- Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) is a pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas. The quality of RNG is similar to fossil natural gas and has a methane concentration of 90% or greater.
AGA Gas Control Committee Full Episode Transcript:
Russel Treat: Welcome to the “Pipeliners Podcast,” episode 264, sponsored by Gas Certification Institute, providing standard operating procedures, training, and software tools for custody transfer measurement and field operations professionals. Find out more about GCI at GasCertification.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 that appreciation, we’re giving away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener each episode. This week, our winner is Geron Hendrickson with Ironwood Midstream. Congratulations, 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, we speak to Al Musgrove with Pacific Gas and Electric and Josh Hunkele with Dominion East Ohio and talk about the AGA Gas Control Committee and some of the important work they’re doing. Hey, guys. Welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast.
Al Musgrove: Thank you. Good morning, Russel.
Josh Hunkele: Morning, Russel.
Russel: Josh and Alfred, if you would, why don’t you guys give us a quick background, who you are and what’s your background in pipelining. If you don’t mind, Josh, would you go first?
Josh: Sure. Hi. My name’s Josh Hunkele. I work at Dominion Energy. I’m in gas control. I’ve been there for a few years now. I’ve been in the industry for, now, 21 years.
Russel: Alfred, same question.
Al: Awesome, Russel. Alfred Musgrove. I’ve been with PG&E now for 28 years and have spent 26 of them in gas control, in a variety of different capacities. Just like Josh, we’ve both served as chairs, going through them, for the AGA Gas Control Committee. Glad to be here.
Russel: I’m glad you guys are here. We’ve worked hard and done a lot of scheduling flip flops to get us all together at the same time, even though we’re not in the same place. I just got to say to the listeners, for the record, these are my people. I love the gas control guys. I love the gas control community and the pipeline operations community. This is fun stuff.
First off, maybe a good place to start is, what is the AGA Gas Control Committee? What is your charter? What is the Gas Control Committee all about?
Al: I’ll let you go ahead. Josh, you want to go first?
Josh: Sure. Yeah. The Gas Control Committee it’s a great group. You could say we’re a great group of friends. We all have the same problems and we’re all working through them. We get together twice a year in person, and in between we develop relationships while we’re there.
Like Al and I, we talk almost every other day sometimes. I think our text message threads you’re going through, so you do develop great friendships. In this Gas Control committee we talk about numerous different things up to our current problems that we’re having within our control rooms of how we can resolve them, to new industry publications such as a recent one that we’ve seen come out with this whole RMV rule.
That’s one of the hot topics that we’re talking about as we have our conversations and prepare for our next upcoming meetings. Al, I’m sure you could add to that.
Al: Yeah, no I’ve always started all of our committee sessions with the following. I always said that every one of us has the same problems in this room, and no one outside this room knows what the heck we do.
We find that’s true. There’s a lot of assumptions about what gas control is, which is one of the reasons I know we’re going to talk about it. We created what we call a gas control operating philosophy. I echo everything that you said there, Josh.
I think that the strength of this committee is that we are connected. We reach out to each other. We tackle those issues as we come across them, but we don’t do it alone. It’s a great way to network and come together and find solutions that I think the industry cares about.
Russel: Yeah guys, I think that’s really well said. My experience is the gas control committee at AGA is probably one of the most collaborative organizations that I’ve been involved with. Being a guy that started in measurement and moved through my career and landed in the control room, measurement is pretty collaborative as well.
The nature of that collaboration’s different. In the control room, there’s a certain amount of “you that needs your bona fides before you can participate in the conversation.” Because there’s a lot of people, I think, and I’m doing air quotes really handy on a podcast to do air quotes. These guys can see me because we’re sharing screens as we’re doing this.
It’s just there’s a lot of people out there that think they know what gas control does and don’t actually know what gas control does, and don’t actually know what gas control does. Unlike in measurement where I grew up, people either know it or they don’t, and they don’t think they do if they don’t. That’s the distinction. That’s challenging.
The other thing about the gas control committee at AGA as well, and you said this already, Alfred, but it’s the idea that we all have the same problem. The problems are very much shared. Very much shared.
For the listeners, because we talked to all kinds of pipeliners, we ought to talk about what’s unique about the AGA gas control and the nature of that operation. What is the nature of the operation that folks participating in the gas control committee are doing?
Al: If you don’t mind, Josh, I’ll go ahead and I’ll just give my two cents. What it really comes down to is understanding that the control center’s goal is really to deliver safe, reliable energy to our customers.
At a variety of different levels, we have a regulation in place to help us do that where, again, we all have that common ground. It’s making sure that we develop a CRM plan, a control room management plan, that allows us to basically do that.
I will say that the strength of the committee for us, from my perspective, has really been going into the details of the plan, asking how we’re achieving those different elements, which really, at some point, touches everything, all the way down from how we’re training our individuals, how we’re making sure they’re qualified, how we’re even retaining talent.
Some of the discussions we had with the best practices right now, that is another common issue across the industry right now, retaining that talent, where years ago, somebody like myself says, “26 years,” that’s not the case anymore for certain folks. This gives us a platform to share those things within that umbrella underneath the control room management.
Josh, do you have anything to add to that?
Josh: You hit that right on the head there. What we’re also seeing at the AGA committee is leadership changes. When the CRM plan first came out, you had all the managers and directors at that time developing their control room management plans. Now you’re getting a new wave of leadership coming into the control rooms as our seniors leave or retire. It’s good to see new faces.
We’re seeing a lot of new faces come through, and our numbers are increasing in attendance. It’s great to see. It’s great to develop new relationships, and help support them as they make changes to their control room management plans, as the audit starts coming through and we start hearing feedback from these audits from different types of auditors, too, whether it’s state or PHMSA.
As we start talking through these different things, it’s nice to have this group together and glad to see new faces start to join us, put their input in, and give us a fresh set of eyes, like, “Oh, maybe we should look at it this way, that’s a great idea.” It’s great to see new faces coming through.
Russel: The other thing I would add to this is the nature of gas utility pipeline operations is distinct from other kinds of pipeline operations. In a gas utility, you do not have control over demand, you only have control over supply.
The challenge that you’re up against is ensuring deliverability and operating safely. You have some of the other challenges about making sure you’ve got the right spec product and all that kind of stuff. It’s really about ensuring deliverability and doing that safely. That’s different because you have to react and respond to demand.
The operating model versus other kinds of pipelines is a little different, because you’re reacting to demand you don’t have control over. That, to me, is important to understand.
The other thing I would say about the collaboration, one of the things that I saw that I thought was really compelling is just how proactively the entire AGA gas control community collaborated early in COVID when everybody’s trying to figure out how the heck are we going to operate during a pandemic.
There were some really valuable things that were shared. I wrote a blog and then ended up rewriting that blog four or five times. Then I’d go to the gas control committee, and you guys were already doing other things I hadn’t even contemplated because you were doing it in real time.
You guys were putting together conference calls. You were all getting on, “What are you doing? What’s your challenge? What’s your management saying?” It was really compelling, very interesting. There’s a lot of diversity in the response. There wasn’t a lot of commonality because the constraints were just different for each of the operators.
Al: That’s a really good point. When PG&E set up their pandemic response team, I was involved with that from the beginning and had a lot of discussions with folks on the AGA about that. You hit the nail on the head.
The diversity of what people did, you had folks that sequestered, you had folks that broke people up into different control centers, you had folks that entertained a remote operation from home solution for folks.
The diversity was definitely there. We were all coming together, I would say probably, if not monthly, Josh, correct me if I’m wrong, at least every other month, but I think monthly to really connect and see what other folks were doing. That’s part of the strength of the organization.
Russel: People don’t understand just how big a deal this was. Nobody quit getting gas during the pandemic. Everybody’s still able to heat their house.
Al: Everything kept flowing.
Russel: In the midst of all that, with those operators doing all the machinations they needed to do. I have two key topics I want to talk about, one you guys already queued up. I want to visit about that. The AGA gas control committee is working on an operating philosophy. I guess my first question there is, why do you guys need to work on an operating philosophy?
Al: Do you want me to kick that off, Josh?
Josh: You love that paper, go ahead.
Al: Dear to my heart. To me, it was important. This was the time, as Josh made a great point, we have a lot of newer folks coming in to the AGA, new leadership coming in and stepping up.
One of the things we talked about was, how do we boil it down to brass tacks, so to speak? What is a gas control center? What are the things that you need based on our learnings over the last decade or so from the experienced folks that are now sailing off onto other things? How do we get all that information together so that the next group can look at this and learn from it?
At its core function, this is what a gas control center is and these are lessons learned and best practices that you should adopt in order to fully reach this CRM plan that the industry is looking for. There was a lot of work on it. Typically, we want to do one of these within a year, year and a half.
COVID came, but also even without COVID, there was a lot of thought to try and get everyone on the same page of what this looks like. I would say it took about three and a half years to get it to where it’s at right now. I feel it’s very inclusive of all control centers. I don’t know. Josh?
Josh: You got it. It came together really well. I’m glad we got it out there. It should be published here shortly. It sounds like it needs some legal review with the AGA. It’s one of the best papers, one of the better ones we put up. It’s going to be great.
Russel: It’s really, really valuable because one of the challenges in the control room space is there’s a great, immense body of work that addresses the issues, but there’s not a lot of specific guidance for a particular operating model. What you guys have done is you’ve boiled it down to, “Hey, here’s the specific guidance for gas utility operations.”
That’s really valuable, particularly as a way to just get grounded. You can always go and read all the other guidance, but having a place to like…There was a made for TV movie called “The Vince Lombardi Story.” At the beginning of that movie, he’s in training camp and he holds up a football, and he says, “Gentlemen, welcome to the Green Bay Packers. This is a football. We start here with fundamentals.”
They go through the whole story about the year they won the first Super Bowl. Then at the end of it, they come back to that same thing. He does the same thing. “Gentlemen, welcome to the Green Bay Packers. Here, we start with the fundamentals. This is a football.” Bart Starr holds up his hand and says, “Coach, could you run that by me again?”
It’s a funny story. The point being that being clear about the basic fundamentals is really important. We tend to lose that some time in all the details.
Al: I agree. The group actually expanded as the years went on, because more people wanted to weigh in. One of the things we ultimately decided was we didn’t want some unwieldy procedure that wouldn’t get used. The idea was we wanted to keep it short, succinct, clear, crisp, concise, so to speak, and just, again, like I said, really boil it down.
One of the positives of what we came together was, and other folks have said this, is this is something that I can ultimately take, present to my leadership, it’s easy and digestible to say, “This is what a gas control center is,” because we’ve had a lot of folks with new leadership that don’t really have a lot of the understanding of what a gas control center is, and say, “This is really what we are, and by the way, section five of this really talks about to be the best in class. These are some things that others in the industry have done to get us to where we’re at so that we’re compliant, we’re safe, reliable.”
We’ve had a lot of other operators that have looked at this and said, “This is exactly what we need.” To me, that’s a win right there. I don’t know. Josh?
Josh: That’s awesome. One of the comments I heard, too, at one of our meetings was this paper is really going to help them out because they see a lot of rule changes in the upper leadership that they’re reporting to, the higher ups and the VP areas, they rotate through. It’s what I was saying, it’s so clear and precise to what we’re looking for.
They have that support and bring that to the new upper leaderships and get them understanding of what we do and why we do it. It’s definitely a good supporting document.
Russel: Can you guys walk us through the outline of the contents to just orient the listeners of what’s in the operating philosophy?
Al: At its core, we really broke it down almost like a business case, so to speak, talking about purpose and scope, what the mission is, operational objectives, and really boiling it down to three major categories, which is safe, reliable, and efficient. Those are the things that, at its core, we need to be as a functioning gas control center.
We have bullets associated with that. At that level, then we start getting into what are the things you need, we believe, or as a best practice to incorporate in your operation based on the 10 years of learning for these folks that came together.
A couple items are document-authoring expertise, immense value of having that in house, because operations can’t sit there and wait three months for someone to come together and formalize a procedure. That’s one example. Dedicated training personnel, another example. Other folks have created training positions within the gas control center. That’s unique in the past 10 years.
We actually have certified technical trainers on staff in my organization that actually do the delivery as well as the design. To me, that’s a leg up.
Again, last minute, we have to create changes based on system configurations. We need training. Got to make sure our folks are plugged in. Another piece we’ve talked about is quality management in the gas operations, creating quality management programs in place to make sure that…
The challenge has always been in the CRM regulations that measure for effectiveness. Whether it’s training programs, fatigue programs, alarm management, having a strong quality management program in place with personnel that can help support that to make sure that your program is doing exactly what it needs to do.
Russel: That feeds into pipeline safety management as well. It’s the thing.
Al: No, hundred percent. I agree. Anything, Josh, you want to add to that? Any thoughts?
Josh: No, I was actually just looking at the document. I think you just said every single piece of it. You covered it pretty well.
Russel: Josh, I’ll ask you this question. Shouldn’t you add a section that says, “This is what gas control is not”?
Josh: Gas control is everything.
Russel: I’m being a little bit tongue in cheek here, but it’s really a real question. I think historically for people that don’t understand what the mission of gas control is and what their competencies and capabilities, and more importantly, their limitations are, it was, “That’s 24/7 guy. We’ll give him anything that happens after hours. We’ll pitch it over the fence and they can handle it.” That’s not what gas control is.
Al: I’m glad you brought that up. That’s exactly the type of discussions that I’ve had over the years as folks have come up, and I used to say, “I get a little nervous when someone says, ‘I’ve got an idea.'”
Al: I’m, “I like the ideas, but I’m a little nervous now.” That’s exactly where it is. I find myself, and I’m sure others in the industry, sometimes playing badminton and going, “You know what? That one’s got to go back. That’s not for gas control. We need to find someone else to do that.”
I think the importance of having gas control leadership take that stance is, in my opinion, insulating the operation from undue risks. We always say, “We really need to scrutinize anything that takes the operator on console away from actively monitoring or operating the system.”
Russel: That right. That’s what they’re there to do. Gas control sitting in the chair. It’s not full time, but it’s an all-he-time job. It occupies a hundred percent of your headspace.
Josh: Well said, Russell. That’s right.
Russel: Because even when you’re not actually doing something, your brain is working on the problem to see if there’s anything you need to be doing. That’s the part that a lot of people don’t understand about the human factors science behind having a human being operate these complex systems.
Al: That’s 100 percent agree. I’ve always said, when there is…I’ve heard terms like downtime, things like that. To me downtime is availability time. Looking at SCADA, doing things that you may not be responding to an event.
You may not be having alarms that you’re dealing with, but at the end of the day, that’s your time to trend the system, see how it’s performing. That’s the job, right?
Russel: We call that vigilance.
Al: I love it.
Russel: That’s that time I have to think about the problem I’m trying to manage. Different than work in it. You need some of that time. It’s actually, it ought to be about a third of your total time ought to be just vigilance.
Al: I agree.
Russel: We could do a whole podcast just on that subject alone.
Russel: Particularly if we wanted to get geeky, and I always do. Can you guys tell me when do you expect this operating philosophy to be final, published, and available to the public?
Al: Josh, correct me if I’m wrong, but it is sitting with AGA legal right now, is that correct?
Josh: That’s correct…
Yeah, it’s with AGA legal. We keep having conversations about this. We’re hoping, the hope is by the spring conference, that’s when we’re hoping for. I’ll leave it at that because I really don’t know, you know how it is with legal, right?
Russel: Oh yeah, we don’t know how long those will things take, but that certainly seems reasonable and that would be awesome to be able to go through that in the committee in the spring. I get all excited about that.
Al: Yeah, us too.
Josh: Now, a little plug for the AGA, if you’re a member of the AGA you’re part of the AGA community. They have a SharePoint site, and the paper’s there, you can view it and comment on it if you want to as well.
If you’re out there and you’re thinking about joining, at least one of the things that you can partake in when you join the AGA is this community site.
Russel: Yeah, that’s good. Thanks for sharing that. That’s a really good point, Josh. I appreciate that. I want to pivot. I want to talk about something else that’s up for a lot of pipeline operators at the moment, and that is the whole rupture mitigation and valve rule, and specifically the requirement to detect a rupture.
There’s a lot of conversation going on about that. I’ve heard people talk about the 10 percent and 15 minute pressure drop thing. Then you peel the onion back. You start getting into all the “yeah, buts.” How is the gas control committee addressing or supporting operators in that particular, “That seems to be simple but isn’t really,” kind of question.
Al: Josh, you want to take that one first?
Josh: There’s no simple answer to this. That’s one nice thing about the gas control committee that we’re having these discussions. It was one of our discussions at the last meeting we had. It’s also a current discussion on our community page. We’re trying to answer that. What is the best approach in the 10 percent, 15 minutes, and like you said, it’s “but what about this, what about that?”
We’re trying to focus on and trying to answer that question and come up with the best solution. I know, me personally, I’ve tried looking at different scenarios, different ways implementing this across the board.
I don’t think there is one blanket answer for that. I might come up with something, then Al is going to talk and he’s going to come up with something. It’s nice to have that community to talk to, to come up with that better solution.
Al: I thought it was interesting. One pipeline operator went 10 percent all the way across. They looked at data. They thought it would work. Then as I said, magically delicious, it worked. It worked perfectly, the way their system was set up.
I know that if we tried something like that on our end, it just wouldn’t work because of how our system is set up. We’re probably going to have a more surgical approach on how we do that.
We did a lot of this when we started this type of analysis, when we started inserting our RCVs and ASVs throughout the system, basically calculating what would be the correct value for the system to determine when valves would shut automatically or give the operator on console an indication that they would need to take action and shut the valves in.
Depending on where they’re at, what customers they’re supplying, there’s a lot of variation there that needs to be taken into consideration. It’s a heavy lift. It’s not going to be one size fits all.
Russel: I’m just spitballing with you guys, because I really haven’t had this conversation for a while. One of the things that’s really important is you actually have to do the analysis to get clear about what are the base questions I need to ask.
One of the things that comes up for me is that looking at pressure behind a compression station is different than looking at pressure behind a regulator, is different than looking at pressure on a feed line to a power plant. It may be that there’s some classifications of pressure types, and the algorithm might be different for those different pressure types.
Josh: I would agree with that.
Al: Go ahead, Josh.
Josh: 100 percent, because this comes up all the time. We even talked about doing a parent child-type alarming. When we make that regular set point change, don’t activate the ROC alarm at this point. What if you have a rupture in the meantime? So many questions that go unanswered and you have to weigh it all out.
You don’t want to have so many that start generating nuisance alarms and all of a sudden, your controllers have gone complacent and like, “Ugh, it’s just another alarm,” just clear it and then that was it. That was the real thing. We just missed it.
It’s tough, but it’s something we got to keep having discussions on and come up with the best plan for each system because, like I was saying, every system, it may work for you, but not for me, and vice versa.
Russel: For the larger operators, particularly if they’ve got transmission, distribution, and utility, then it’s even more complex for them because they’ve got more variables.
Josh: In a boat, like for instance, you might have Powergen compression, storage, transmission all in one system, and now I’m not just a transmissions company who can just implement this here, or a distribution, I have to factor all that in now.
Now you have the RNG sites that kick on and off, you have local production that kicks on and off. It’s like, “Whoa, hold on.” It’s definitely a struggle, but it’s what we do. We’re miracle workers. We’ll make it work.
Russel: We’ll figure out something that works, and then we’ll work together to improve it. For a lot of people that are struggling through this right now, this conversation can be extremely helpful. Being a guy that does a fair amount of work in leak detection, I tend to look at this as a two-part problem.
First part of the problem is, what am I doing algorithmically to present an alarm that you may have a rupture? The second part is, what am I doing procedurally to work through an analytical process quickly, probably in 10 or 15 minutes, to determine if that alarm is actually a rupture?
Both of those are complex, but they work together, because whatever I’ve come up with algorithmically is going to impact what I am doing procedurally. What do I do if I have a rupture behind a compressor station, and the compressor station just works harder to pick up more flow and I don’t see a pressure drop and I still have a rupture? What about that? We’re not talking about that.
Josh: That’s a very good point there.
Al: One of the things I’ll say that I was very impressed with was, as a group with the different engineering groups, and to Josh’s point, multiple engineering groups, you’re talking about a wide net we’re casting here.
To your point, Josh, also, all the different variables you gave, I was doing a checklist here on my screen of all the ones you brought up from production, storage, all these different…If you’re an operator that has all those, you have to look at each piece differently. To your point, Russel, it’s going to be different. You need to have a program in place that addresses each one of those individually.
From the AGA standpoint, what we can do, similar to this paper we put together, is go through and identify some of the methodology that other pipeline operators have utilized to address this, and so folks can pick and choose where it makes most sense to adopt those methods into how they assign a rate of change values.
Russel: That’s great. That’s great, Alfred. Where I was thinking, as we’re having this conversation, is we really need for the AGA gas control committee to put together a guidance white paper on how to implement the rupture detection and response.
It’s always easier as an operator to go read something, see what the industry is doing, and figure out how to apply it to my situation than to read the regulation and figure out how to apply it to my situation. There’s a much bigger, deeper chasm to the regulation to implementation versus industry practice to my implementation.
Russel: That would certainly be a recommendation of mine that that’s on the spring committee agenda if you all are looking for agenda items.
Al: It fits right up our alley. It’s something that we have that one that’s completed, the operating philosophy. We have the – little shameless plug – team training white paper coming out. This is definitely another one that…
Russel: That’s a big one as well.
Al: That one’s huge. This is definitely an opportunity for us to get a group together to look into.
Russel: I’m just going to help us wrap up here. What I was hoping we would do, and I’d be really interested to hear from listeners, see if we get any feedback, but the idea I had around this is to hopefully give people a little bit of a taste of the nature of the conversations that occur during the committee meetings.
I would say that the distinction between the conversation we’ve had versus what happens in the committee meetings is there’s a lot more specificity, because each operator will be willing to say, “This is exactly what I’m doing.” Those conversations, not necessarily appropriate for podcasts, but they’re very appropriate and very common in the committee meetings.
There’s a lot of operators that will get up and they’ll say, “Well, look, here’s exactly what we’re doing.” They’ll run the gauntlet of a whole bunch of really challenging questions. Everybody actually enjoys and appreciates the fact that that’s what’s going on, because we’re all learning in that process.
I’m standing to say, “This is what I did,” and then I’m standing to learn with you as you ask me questions. It’s a great organization. I certainly enjoy it. I certainly think anybody that’s listening, if you have the ability to attend and participate, highly recommend it. Highly recommend it. Anything you guys want to say as a final word to those in gas control?
Josh: We’re all here. We’re all here together into this. If you’re listening, and you don’t join the AGA, our contact information is out there. You want somebody to talk to and bounce ideas off, I’m sure Al is willing as well. Just shoot us a message, I’ll be happy to bounce ideas off you. That’s what we’re here for. We’re all facing the same problems.
Al: I agree. I always say, and I say it to the control room here, I got a lot of love for gas control. I wouldn’t have spent a quarter of a century tied to it if I didn’t love it. I will say I’m fortunate and also blessed to have been a part of the AGA at the capacity I have.
I always say that folks that are interested in coming, get involved, step in, throw your hat in the ring to either be a chair or at least get involved with some of the gas control committee, subcommittee efforts, white papers, things like that. It’s a fantastic organization. I know that the industry is stronger for everything that the participants have put forward. That’s it in a nutshell.
Russel: That completes the podcast episode, but we’re going to stay on the record because I feel obligated to give a shout out to your buddy, Alfred.
Russel: Say his name.
Al: It’s Ernie Binkney. He’s the gas transmission supervisor in gas control. He is your number one fan.
Russel: According to Alfred, he claims to be the world’s biggest fan of the Pipeliners Podcast.
Al: He absolutely loves it. He was green with envy when I took that first picture with you and sent it over to him. He’s actually walked around a couple times.
Russel: You need to get him to listen to this and tell him he needs to listen all the way through, because I want to tell him, if he ever puts in an application to win the YETI, I’ll put a word in with the prize committee, see if I can hook him up.
Al: I definitely will make sure he’s aware, Russel. Absolutely. 100 percent.
Russel: All right. Great, guys. Thanks for coming on. This has been a lot of fun. We need to do this again.
Al: Love to. It’s an honor. Thank you for having us.
Josh: For sure. Love to. Thank you.
Russel: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast, our conversation with Al and Josh. Just a reminder before you go. You should register to win our customized Pipeliners Podcast YETI tumbler. Simply visit PipelinePodcastNetwork.com/Win and enter yourself in the drawing.
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Finally, if you have ideas, questions, or topics you’d be interested in, please let me know, either on the Contact Us page at PipelinePodcastNetwork.com, or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Thanks for listening, I’ll talk to you next week.
Transcription by CastingWords