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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Keystone XL's New Labor Agreement and the Politics of Pipelines

keystone xl pipeline  safe operations  jobs  labor unions  economic growth 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 7, 2020

News item from Bloomberg: TC Energy Corp. has reached agreements with four labor unions to build the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline – a move that could amplify political pressure on Joe Biden, who has threatened to rip up permits for the project even as he courts blue-collar workers.

Details in the announcement from TC Energy, Keystone XL’s builder: The project labor agreement (PLA) is with the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA); Keystone XL will have 10,000 high-paying construction jobs, primarily filled by union workers; 2,000 unionized workers will start building some of the project’s 28 planned U.S. pump stations this fall, according to Bloomberg.

Overall, Keystone XL is projected to support 42,000 U.S. jobs and generate $2 billion in earnings for U.S. workers during pipeline construction, according to the U.S. State Department, which also found that the project won’t significantly impact climate or the environment.


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Proposals Point to Need for Renewed, Streamlined NWP 12 Program

pipelines  permitting  safe operations  infrastructure 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 6, 2020

There are two new developments with the federal Nationwide Permit 12 program (NWP 12), which is critically important for key infrastructure projects of all kinds. Both point to the need for a clear, efficient, common-sense permitting program that balances environmental protection with streamlining projects that have limited environmental impacts.

Achieving this is occurring on two tracks. U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would cut red tape and in the short term help reestablish regulatory order and allow infrastructure projects to proceed if they’re following certain species protection rules already in the NWP 12. Meanwhile the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a proposal that includes renewing more than 50 Nationwide Permits for the next five years. This is important because the permits would expire in March 2022 otherwise.

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Providing Energy Stability Throughout Hurricane Season

hurricane preparedness  safe operations 

Jessica  Lutz

Jessica Lutz
Posted August 3, 2020

As we head into the heart of what is forecast to be an above-normal hurricane season, the natural gas and oil industry stands prepared to protect energy workers, neighboring communities, and the energy production facilities and infrastructure that are vital to keeping Americans well supplied.

Industry preparations help minimize the risk of extreme weather to critical energy infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines, and allow for rapid response to hurricane impacts – specifically, to help limit supply disruptions and aid the recovery. Of course, major weather events test preparations, but we are focused on being as prepared as possible for this season.

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Infrastructure Crossroads: Energy Future Depends on Building Safe, Modern Pipelines

pipelines  infrastructure  safe operations  permitting 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 14, 2020

U.S. energy infrastructure is at an inflection point, with a number of important natural gas and oil pipelines sidetracked by red tape and court decisions within the past few weeks. Most outrageously, the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, which has been operating safely for three years, was ordered shut down and drained by a federal judge. More on Dakota Access below.

The inflection point is this: Will we build the safe, modern energy infrastructure that broadly serves the public interest, creates thousands of jobs and harnesses abundant domestic natural gas and oil, or will narrow, often extreme interests continue to block the public good?


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Q&A: New Center for Offshore Safety Director Talks Responsibilities, Goals

center for offshore safety  safe operations  offshore oil production 

John Siciliano

John D. Siciliano
Posted May 20, 2020

Capt. Russell Holmes is the Center for Offshore Safety’s (COS) new director after serving for nearly three decades with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Holmes, who retired from the Coast Guard in 2020, takes over for Charlie Williams, who had led the center since 2012 after a long industry career. Holmes will be taking the center’s mission of offshore safety and environmental protection into its second decade of existence.

The center was created soon after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, the COS has enhanced the safety culture in offshore operations, while supporting federal regulations that mandate Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) at all operations on the Outer Continental Shelf.

Just prior to joining the center, Holmes served as the Coast Guard’s senior point of contact for offshore safety in the Gulf, overseeing marine inspection and investigation programs that ultimately support SEMS. As he explains in the Q&A below, Holmes says the industry’s professionalism and safety commitment matched his while he was serving as one of industry’s lead regulators.

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The Misleading ‘Rollback’ Narrative on COVID-19 Compliance

regulation  safe operations  public health 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted April 2, 2020

The health and safety of workers, communities and the environment is always a priority for the natural gas and oil industry, and never more so during a global pandemic. That’s why API requested temporary relief for non-essential compliance requirements from the White House and several federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Sadly, reasonable efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among the energy workforce have been misconstrued by some as “regulatory rollbacks.” This blatantly political narrative is misleading, not to mention inconsistent with public health recommendations. As businesses and regulators adapt to changing circumstances – and implement physical distancing and stay-at-home policies – there may be limited personnel to manage the full scope of some non-essential requirements, but the commitment to safety and sustainability remains unchanged.

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Temporary Relief – To Prioritize Safety and Meet U.S. Energy Needs

regulation  safe operations  public health 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 27, 2020

America’s natural gas and oil industry is asking a number of federal agencies to allow a temporary pause in certain non-essential federal compliance requirements, because it’s likely there will be limited numbers of industry workers to manage them amid federal and state-directed efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The health and safety of our workers and their communities is this industry’s No. 1 priority. These non-essential requirements reflect that and primarily include recordkeeping, training, flexibility in the timing of routine inspections where there might be manpower issues due to the pandemic and other non-safety provisions.

Industry is not soliciting a regulatory rollback or trying to excuse itself from compliance obligations.

Rather, it asks federal officials to consider that industry, along with every other segment of our society, is focused on slowing the virus’ spread.

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Energy Industry Preparedness & Response to COVID-19

safe operations  fuel supply  workforce 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted March 20, 2020

As the world copes with a mounting health and economic crisis, America’s natural gas and oil industry remains focused on preserving the health and safety of its workers and delivering critical energy supplies to communities across the country. As an industry, we are committed to operating safely and reliably despite the unpredictable circumstances, implementing contingency plans that ensure the continuity of fuels to market.

These were points of emphasis by emergency preparedness experts at leading energy trade associations during a joint press conference this week that detailed industry readiness and response during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (listen here).

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Helping Build a Safe, Sustainable Energy Future for Guyana

api standards program  safe operations  offshore technology 

Debra Phillips

Debra Phillips
Posted November 18, 2019

As part of ongoing efforts to foster safe energy development around the world through the sharing of international industry standards and operational expertise, API is helping the country of Guyana as it builds its national energy plan – a key step in the South American nation becoming a major energy producer.

API and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) recently led talks in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, after the Guyanese government asked for support as the country nears its first-ever oil production, expected in the first quarter of 2020.

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Safety, Environmental Protection Key in New API-Saudi Technical Partnership

api standards program  safe operations  saudi arabia 

Debra Phillips

Debra Phillips
Posted October 22, 2019

Safety, security, environmental protection and sustainability in global oil and natural gas operations are the broad objectives of a first-ever partnership between API and the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) – outlined in a recently signed Technical Collaboration Program.

The new collaboration with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on standards development underscores API’s ongoing commitment to help promote these shared goals worldwide through our industry standards programs.

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