Welcome to the first edition of the Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast. In this episode, host Weldon Wright talks to the founder of the Pipeline Podcast Network, Russel Treat, about the launch of a new podcast for measurement professionals.
In this episode, you will learn all about what led to creating the new Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast for measurement professionals, the background of host Weldon Wright in the pipeline industry, and topics that will be covered on the podcast. You’ll also get a sneak peek into the episodes that will be launched with this initial episode.
Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast Pilot: Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms
- Weldon Wright is the General Manager of Gas Certification Institute (GCI) and host of the new Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast. Connect with Weldon on LinkedIn.
- Gas Certification Institute (GCI) provides crude, NGL, and gas measurement training, measurement standard operating procedures (SOPs), and field operations software tools.
- Russel Treat is the host of the Pipeliners Podcast and the founder of the Pipeline Podcast Network. Connect with Russel on LinkedIn.
- Pipeliners Podcast was launched in November 2017. The original Pipeliners Podcast set in motion a new method of providing education to pipeline professionals through the emerging podcasting platform. The episodes cover topics that include alarm management, compliance, control room management, cybersecurity, HMI and SCADA, inspection, integrity, leak detection, measurement, pipeline history, pipeline technology, regulatory issues, and more.
- Pipeline Technology Podcast is the second podcast in the Pipeline Podcast Network, sponsored by Pipeline & Gas Journal. The goal is to provide pipeline professionals with a greater understanding of the latest use of technology and upcoming trends that will impact how pipeliners perform their work.
- Nopal Gas Plant is an onshore gas plant that was located near the tiny community of Nopal, in DeWitt County, TX.
- Journeyman Electrician is a trade-specific term for an electrician who has completed an apprenticeship and gained the qualifications of a fully qualified electrician. A journeyman may also be referred to as a “journeyperson” or “journey-level tradesperson.”
- Austin Chalk Play refers to oil and gas exploration and production that has occurred in the Austin Chalk formation for several decades. Austin Chalk stretches from Mexico to Louisiana, crossing through Central Texas.
- Texas A&M University (A&M) is a public university in College Station, Texas. It was founded in 1876 and became the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System in 1948.
- Instrumentation and Electrician (I&E) supervisors are responsible for supervising and coordinating the activities of mechanics, installers, and repairers.
- SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a system of software and technology that allows pipeliners to control processes locally or at remote locations.
- Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of diversified energy giant Kinder Morgan, is part of an integrated coast-to-coast pipeline system. Tennessee Gas operates 11,840 miles of interstate natural gas transmission pipeline stretching from Canada to Mexico.
- Energy Transfer is one of the largest and most diversified midstream energy companies in North America with approximately 114,000 miles of pipelines and associated energy infrastructure across 41 states transporting the oil and gas products that make our lives possible.
- FLOWCAL by Quorum Software is an oil and gas measurement software platform that is used by operators for the back-office validation, processing, and reporting of natural gas and hydrocarbon liquids.
- API (American Petroleum Institute) 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.
- 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.
- GPA (GPA Midstream) is the primary advocate for a sustainable Midstream Industry focused on enhancing the viability of natural gas, natural gas liquids, and crude oil.
- 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.
- MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) is a publish-subscribe protocol that allows data to move quickly and securely through the system and does not bog down the system with unnecessary requests.
- Orifice Plate is a type of primary flow measurement device that creates a measurable pressure drop across a known restriction.
Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast Pilot: Full Episode Transcript
Weldon Wright: Welcome to the Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast, episode 1, sponsored by GCI, the Gas Certification Institute, providing training, operating procedures, consulting, and field operations software to the oil and gas industry for over 20 years. For more info, go to GasCertification.com.
Announcer: Welcome to the Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast, where measurement professionals, Bubba geeks, and gurus share their knowledge, experience, and likely a tall tale or two on measurement topics for the oil and gas industry. Now, your host, Weldon Wright.
Weldon: Hello. Welcome to Episode 1 of the Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast. We’re the newest member of the Pipeline Podcast Network, and I’m proud to be joining Pipeliners Podcast and the Pipeline Technology Podcast.
My name’s Weldon Wright, and I’m here with Russel Treat today, the founder of the Pipeline Podcast Network. If this episode had a subtitle, it might be “Podcasting tips from a pro” and, “What is this podcast all about?”
Russel Treat: [laughs] Hey, Weldon. Thanks. That’s a great introduction, man, great introduction.
Weldon: “What is it all about?” is probably the thing to start with here. I installed my first flow meter back around 1985.
Weldon: In 37 years, there are two things I know for certain about measurement. The first is the more that I learn about measurement, the more that I realize I don’t know and need to know more about. The second is disseminating measurement knowledge is not always easy, especially for new folks in the industry.
I’ve always had a passion for trying to get new folks into our field and to share this knowledge and helping them get started. When you first broached the idea of a measurement podcast, my first thought is, “That’s way outside of my wheelhouse, and the walls of my box are tall and thick.” The more I thought about it, the more enthused I got about it, Russel.
Russel: Weldon, the reason I put this out there for you is, for one thing, you and I’ve known each other for a long time, and we’ve worked together off and on. I’ve always had a great deal of regard for your measurement chops, what you knew, what you were able to do, and the experience you’ve had. I felt that you would be a great voice to wade into those waters.
While I’m a guy who knows a lot about measurement and loves measurement, and still keeps my hand in it from time to time, I’ve got two podcasts. I can’t host a third one. I needed help.
Russel: You seemed like the right guy to go to. I know you have a passion for this, so I’m really excited about this. We’re going to have a lot of interest as we start getting into it and start building some momentum. I’m looking forward to hearing what you come up with.
Weldon: Well, I’m looking forward to that also. I know that my mind reels from the possibility of topics and the possibility of guests.
You’ve done wonders with the Pipeline Podcast, Russel. Pipeliners Podcast is over 200 episodes. You’ve spun off the Pipeline Technology Podcast. What’s the secret behind 200 episodes, and what’s the secret to selecting the right guest and topics?
Russel: The way I would answer the second part of that question about finding the guests, really having success is all about great guests and great conversations. What I say about the Pipeliners Podcast is our whole mission is education through conversation. We don’t want this to be like a webinar or a classroom. It’s more like sitting at the bar at the end of a conference, finding a smart guy, carving him out, and asking the questions that have been on your mind that you haven’t had the right guy to ask the questions of.
It’s driven by, these are the things I’m interested in learning about, these are the things I’m interested in staying current on, and these are the folks who I think I’d have fun talking to. It’s just that simple.
If I get the right people on and have a little bit of a map of what we’re going to talk about and the questions we’re going to ask, and we sit down and have a conversation, it works. It works because it’s authentic, and we try to stay technical. We’re not trying to water it down. We’re trying to build content for technical people trying to understand technical things. It’s worked well.
What you’re going to be doing with Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast will be the same thing. I think as long as you chase your curiosity and the things you’re interested in, and the folks who you admire and respect that it’ll be great.
Weldon: It sounds like the developing part of a plan there.
Russel: I will say that it gets hard. After about 15 to 25 episodes, it starts getting challenging. After that, you break through. It does take a while to build a bit of momentum. Hopefully, being part of the podcast network will make that feel a little less steep.
Weldon: I don’t see any problem with getting technical and staying technical. When I started listening to your podcast a few years back, I was originally offended by the concept of “Bubba Geek”, until I realized I was Bubba Geek and I might as well embrace it.
Weldon: For those here that may be listening for the first time, because we have such a captivating and popular topic as measurement, or for those people that missed your first episode or two, define Bubba Geeks for us again.
Russel: I appreciate you asking that question, and you’re not the first person to bring that up to me. I will say that I consider myself a Bubba Geek, and it’s a term of endearment and affection. Another way to say it is a redneck geek.
Look, here’s the real answer. The nature of folks that do pipelining, and do measurement, and work in the field and so forth is we spend a lot of time driving around. We spend a lot of time out in the country. Most of us have these jobs because we like the outdoors. Most of us like to hunt and fish.
The whole idea of Bubba Geek is this strange combination of in boots and jeans, and working in the field, loving the outdoors, and loving outdoor things, and at the same time being a geek around instruments, and computers, and technology, and communications, and all of that.
The way I say it is you know a Bubba Geek because they have a gun rack and an uplink to their game camera in their pickup truck. That’s how you know they’re a Bubba Geek.
Weldon: Guilty and guilty.
Weldon: After that, let me take a moment here to let folks that may not know me previously get a little bit of information about who I am and why I’m qualified for this job.
The thing that qualifies me for it is, as you mentioned before, the entire podcast network is aimed at education through conversation. When it comes to being passionate about a topic, I’m definitely passionate about this one. That’s where my qualifications come from.
I grew up in a little bitty town in South Texas, Russel, about an hour southeast of San Antonio. My best friend’s dad used to be the manager of the old Nopal gas plant. That plant was literally in their back yard or was their back yard. I probably grew up playing in that plant quite a bit back in the years.
I had a journeyman’s electrician’s license at 17, and I was setting pump jacks and wiring control panels on well sites after school and on weekends during high school, back in the ’70s Austin Chalk Play.
I was fascinated by computers. I wanted to write computer software for industry and business. I only applied to one college. Those that know me will know what college that is, but it was A&M, so I’ll ‘fess up to that.
Russel: Just for the record, that was not part of the selection criteria for being a host on the podcast and the Pipeliners Podcast Network.
Weldon: [laughs] After college, I spent eight years with a public utility company as an I&E supervisor. Installed my first SCADA system there. Ended up working for Bristol Babcock as a field service engineer for their SCADA systems and their flow computers.
I moved on to Tennessee Gas Pipeline doing control systems engineering group work for them. Finally ended up with a private midstream company. Of course, that private midstream company got bought by somebody, got bought by somebody, and got bought by somebody.
I ended up working as a measurement director for Energy Transfer. Learned a lot of great stuff there and met a bunch of fabulous people. Had a lot of great analysts working for me there also.
Did a little time at Flow-Cal as their product specialist for the FLOWCAL software, working with some great companies there. Then this guy called Russel Treat called me up and said, “Hey, I want you to do something different.”
Russel: [laughs] That is the way that happened. Weldon, I would say this, too, about your background and credentials for doing this is I’ve known you long enough and I’ve worked with you close enough that I know you have the technical chops and I know that you really have a natural curiosity.
When you’ve uncovered something and you don’t fully understand it, you’ve spent most of your career peeling back the layers, and asking the questions, and getting to the root of the issue.
That’s one of the things that’s going to make you a great podcaster because that’s what you want to do in the conversations is ask those questions, and peel back the layers, and get to the root of the conversation or the root of the thing you’re talking about.
Weldon: I appreciate that, Russel. You’re right on that. The curiosity sometimes gets me in a little bit too much trouble though, too.
Any rate, what we’re going to do here, folks, is we want to cover a lot of different stuff in a lot of different areas.
We’re going to talk about topics of interest to folks in the field, and not just in the field, but in the back office also. We’re going to have stuff for the field tech, the back office measurement analyst, the engineers.
We’re going to talk about procedures. We’re going to talk hardware. We’re going to talk software. We’re going to talk about managing system balances and reducing unaccountable.
I also plan on trying to keep a fairly steady stream of committee members from API, AGA, and GPA here to help keep folks informed about what’s going on. What are the committees working on? What standards do we expect to see changes in?
We’re going to talk about methane emissions. We’re going to talk about how to detect them, how to estimate volumes on that. We’re going to help people stay informed as we make this journey toward RNG and hydrogen. Like you said, we’re going to get plenty geeky enough in those topics.
We’re going to talk about end devices. We’re probably going to talk about how MQTT and some of the emerging technologies on analyzers. How we’re not going to work the way into those old guys’ worked, that used to do nothing but pour mercury into metered canisters and spin chart recorders.
There’s a lot of stuff there, and we’ll even delve a little bit into how measurement’s done in other countries. Got some ideas, some guests from Canada, a guy from the EU that can tell us how they do things there and probably a thing or two we can learn from other companies there also, other countries, excuse me, there also.
Russel: You’ll have no problem doing a few hundred episodes on measurement, and the beauty of it’ll be is by the time you’ve done that, it’ll have all changed, and there’ll be all kinds of new stuff, and you can just start again.
Weldon: The new stuff, that’s going to be a lot about what it’s about. If you look back at the history of measuring gas, we spent the first 50 to 70 years just with an orifice plate, trying to figure out how that stuff works.
We probably spent 20 years on probably the next big move. Once that one fell, the dominoes are just falling like crazy. The new technologies are out there. The advances in the old technologies, there’ll be plenty to talk about. Let’s just say that.
Russel: I don’t think you’ll run out of topics. That’s for sure. That’s for sure. When are you going to be releasing episodes? Why don’t you talk about that a little bit?
Weldon: Our plan is to release this episode on or about January the 19th. We’ll drop at least two, three, possibly even four episodes at the same time. You’ll get to hear you and I ramble about “what it’s about”, for the first episode, and then there’ll be a little meat there, to understand that we know what we’re talking about.
After that, we’re going to move forward with a goal of one episode a month for a while. Maybe when I get the hang of it, we’ll shift gears to a bi-weekly episode, maybe by the middle of the year. My ambitions are not lofty enough to think I can turn out an episode a week like one guy I know.
Russel: [laughs] That’s a wise choice. I’ll just say. The other thing I would say, too, is we ought to just point out that just like with all the other things that we do in the Pipeliner Podcast Network, for every one of these episodes, there’ll be a page on the website. Every episode will have show notes. It’ll have links to resources.
There’s a whole area on the website called Resources. We’re going to be adding a measurement section to the resources section. As these podcasts get dropped, we’ll start to curate that information and information that we get in the way of the whitepapers, and vendor materials, and those types of things. All of that will get put up on the website as well as a full transcript of every episode.
Over time, we hope to build a resource for measurement professionals where they can go and look for stuff and find stuff that would be useful to them in their roles.
Weldon: Man, there went the next couple of minutes about what I was going to talk about.
Weldon: I do have two challenges out there though, ahead of me, one of which is to reach out and challenge what I hope is all the folks that are listening to me, that if you have ideas for or episodes, if you have questions you’d like to hear answered here, reach out to me on LinkedIn or go to the website, click on the little box, make your suggestions, or volunteer yourself up to the mercy of the microphone, if you think you might be a good guest.
The other challenge I have, so I’ve got to find a gift cooler than a personalized Pipeliners Podcast YETI mug, to give people as a contest for listening to us.
Russel: I’ve set a high bar, so good luck to you.
Weldon: [laughs] With that, appreciate you setting me up for success, Russel. I’m going to do my best to live up to the high standards and high bar set with the Pipeline Podcast Network. Folks, stand by, there should be at least two more episodes, maybe three, waiting for you below this one.
Russel: Weldon, look, I just want to say I’m really excited to see what you’re going to do, and I’m very thankful that you’ve taken this on. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and I’m really glad that it’s starting to happen.
Russel: So, Thank you, and best wishes for success, and I’m really looking forward to listening to your episodes.
Weldon: Thanks, Russel. I hope we’ve piqued your interest enough to check out our additional episodes. If you like them and think we’re on the right track, you can support our podcast by leaving a review. As I mentioned earlier, if you have suggestions for topics, guests, or just questions, let me know via the Contact Page or on LinkedIn. Thanks again for listening.
Transcription by CastingWords