Berlin was the international hub for the pipeline and pipe network industry
A total of 540 participants from 52 different countries convened in Berlin to share expert knowledge within the framework of the 11th Pipeline Technology Conference (ptc). The event took place from 23 to 25 May 2016 and was held this year, for the first time, together with the inaugural Pipe and Sewer Conference (PASC). International speakers from expert circles discussed a range of different developments across a total of 14 technical sessions covering 90 lectures in the fields of Planning & Construction, Integrity Management, Coating, Corrosion, Materials, In-line Inspection, Leak Detection, Remote Sensing, Offshore Technologies, Pump & Compressor Stations, SCADA/Automation and Asset Management. There were some particularly interesting presentations and discussions regarding further development in the field of intelligent pipeline inspection gauges, coating procedures, leak detection and remote monitoring using drones, helicopters and satellites. Once these lectures were over, the interesting discussions continued against the backdrop of the accompanying trade show featuring a total of 62 exhibitors. Participants took advantage of the opportunity to gather information about new products and innovative business solutions. The ptc/PASC registered an incredible record for the number of exhibitors at the event: The trade show has grown by almost 30% and practically all of the exhibitors have already announced that they will be attending the next event in 2017. Over the course of just 10 years, the Pipeline Technology Conference/Pipe and Sewer Conference has developed into one of the world's most important platforms for the international pipeline industry. 70 percent of speakers and exhibitors come from overseas. Dr. Ritter, Conference Chairman and President of the EITEP Institute explained: "We saw that technology and service providers from the 'old' pipeline countries in North America and Western Europe, where valuable regulations and lessons learned in the transport of oil, gas and water have been in place for years, were in Berlin meeting operators predominantly from the 'new' pipeline countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. These kind of encounters lead to valuable international technological exchanges. This is how the ptc/PASC has been able to establish itself as an international hub for the pipeline industry." The entire conference program was accompanied by a series of networking opportunities. On the evening before the event, the members of the 37-person Advisory Committee along with the speakers, moderators and exhibitors were invited to a 'Pre-Conference Reception'. The dinner, hosted at Jagdschloss Grunewald, was another real highlight of the event. The castle, which is beautifully located on the shores of the Grunewald Lake, provided the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable dinner with a hunting-themed framework program (horn blowers, archery, art gallery). This was especially well received by the guests from America, Asia and Africa. At this year's event, there was a real emphasis on future issues that will affect the entire pipeline industry. With this in mind, prominent experts had the opportunity to air the most important points against the backdrop of several panel discussions. Opening Panel Discussion "Pipeline Supply Options for Europe" In spite of the current low oil price and reduced LNG prices, the geopolitical question of security of supply within Europe is more relevant than ever. The European Union has to cover more than 60 percent of its natural gas consumption and almost 90 percent of its oil consumption with imports from countries outside of the EU. Alongside Russia, other sources of supply are also due to be developed across the so-called 'Southern Gas Corridor' in Asia. Against this background the opening panel discussion chaired by Heinz Watzka, Senior Advisor at the EITEP Institute focused on “Pipeline Supply Options for Europe”. The Iranian Ambassador in Berlin and the former Iranian Vice Oil Minister, Dr. Ali Majedi emphasized the immense natural gas reserves within Iran and their potential significance for long-term security of supply to Europe. Only Iran has the sufficient capacities to overcome these geostrategic hurdles with respect to Europe. According to the latest BP report, Iran has even been placed ahead of Russia in the list of countries with the largest reserves of natural gas, with 34 billion cubic meters. One section of the corridor is already in use, with the 'Trans Adriatic Pipeline' (TAP), which stretches from Turkey, across Greece and Albania as far as Italy, before the gas flow is reversed and directed towards the North, explained Huberte Bettonville from the Belgian pipeline operator, Fluxys. Asle Venas, Global Director for Pipelines at the technical service provider DNV GL from Norway, pointed out that Europe requires a large volume of natural gas in order to fulfill future energy demands. He believes that, as well as the 'Southern Gas Corridor', 'Nord Stream 2' gas from Norway and LNG sources is also going to be required. The chairman of the DVGW, Prof. Dr. Gerald Linke, highlighted that natural gas harbors great potential for a future energy mix in Europe. According to his theory, LNG engines could be put to use in ships and trucks for heavy and mass transport and significantly reduce damage to the environment. 'Power to gas' is another significant incentive for the energy mix and environment conservation that should not be underestimated. Discussion "Legal impact on the construction of pipelines" This year's focus track 'Pipeline Construction' was introduced with a particularly well-attended round of talks on the subject 'Legal impact on the construction of pipelines'. Heinz Watzka, EITEP, Dr. Nicolai Ritter, CMS Hashe Sigle and Anne Pieter Dijk, MAX STREICHER discussed the 'change of scope during the construction phase as well as on the definition and the consequences of force majeure. Closing Panel Discussion "What’s next? Current Challenges and Future Fields for the Global Pipeline Industry" In the final panel discussion, chaired by Tobias Walk from ILF Consulting Engineers, the issue 'What’s next? Current Challenges and Future Fields for the Global Pipeline Industry' was addressed. As well as purely technical issues such as the 'Internet of Things', the possibilities of which were introduced by Serhii Konovalov of Cisco, or future further developments in the field of In-line Inspection, questions on the subject of public perception and education and further training were also discussed. The energy network operator TenneT called upon Dr. Christoph Thiel to also display the interesting parallels between laying pipelines and the underground installation of high-voltage cables. Cliff Johnson, President of the American Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) got straight to the heart of a central challenge that will be faced in the future: "We know that pipelines are the safest way of transporting oil and gas over long distances. But our industry is not very good in telling our story. All of us are ambassadors for this industry and we should try to sharing our achievements not just in technical conferences like this but also in non-technical public discussions." Dr. Michael Beller from the ROSEN Group, speaking on behalf of Hermann Rosen, described how this innovative service provider is gearing up for the challenges of the future. As part of an international forum held by ROSEN, it was made clear that in the face of rapidly growing complexity, ideas from other industry sectors and subject areas such as 'big data' and 'data mining' are also gaining in significance. Dr. Thomas Hüwener, Technical Director at Open Grid Europe (OGE) and Vice President of Gas at DVGW laid out the situation at the largest German pipeline operator. He explained that the current network development plan for OGE set out for the next five to ten years will require investments amounting to 4.4 billion Euros. Once the ptc drew to a close at midday on 25 May, a number of workshops and seminars followed on the subjects 'Pipeline Leak Detection' and 'In-Line Inspection of Onshore and Offshore Pipelines'. Dennis Fandrich, Director Conferences at the EITEP Institute explained: "We will also be releasing all of the papers submitted at this year's conference on the event website for the purpose of free research. This unique database, which has grown to include over 600 freely available technical papers over the last ten years, is now also listed on the Google Scholar knowledge base, as well as other databases." The upcoming 12th Pipeline Technology Conference will once again be held in Berlin from 2-4 May 2017. You can find more information about how to get involved at www.pipeline-conference.com.
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