Category: News

3 Technology Trends in Pipeline Communication for 2018

In the current era of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), advanced technology is readily available to enhance communications for pipeline operators and midstream companies. However, there are roadblocks to deploying the technology.

Fortunately, the collective efforts of ENTELEC members can help solve some of the communication challenges that are embedded in the pipeline technology trends of 2018.

Three Trends That Require Collaborative Thinking

ENTELEC believes in the power of collaboration to solve real challenges that help real companies grow in their capabilities. Consider how working together can enhance your company’s ability to capitalize on this year’s most important communication trends.

Trend #1: Rural Communication is Growing

Communication to and from rural locations is vital for pipeliners and midstream companies. Unfortunately, many companies are still relying on landlines that were installed decades ago and require access to a small local provider. In this scenario, it’s a nightmare trying to get network connectivity to remote locations.

Operators need to find ways to tap into infrastructure to bypass landlines and use advanced technology to collect valuable data in real-time.

Fortunately, the federal government is funding a program to enhance rural communication. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development) launched the Community Connect program to “help fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for private sector providers to deliver service.”

The deadline to submit an application for the grant expired on May 14. However, if your company missed the deadline, you can take solace in the fact that there is clear momentum for a robust rural communication infrastructure.

This momentum also points to companies soon having the capability to come together to tap into technology without having to rely on major network carriers.

Trend #2: Private Infrastructure is Growing

Think about how major cellphone carriers try to market themselves to consumers. Don’t they try to distinguish themselves by highlighting their coverage map? Sure, these carriers cover enough of a massive state such as Texas to make it seem like they cover the entire state, but if you were to zoom in closely on the coverage map, you would see little coverage in rural areas.

As the Community Connect program points out, it has not yet become economically viable for major phone carriers to build connectivity in select rural areas, which is precisely where pipeliners and midstream companies need enhanced connectivity.

However, advanced technology for communication is making it possible for companies to get together to build a private infrastructure, bypassing the major carriers. It’s not reasonable to wait for carriers to decide when they can justify the cost of building infrastructure when you need to collect valuable data from rural locations right now.

What’s the solution? Companies with a vested interest in rural communication need to come together to collaborate and leverage technology capabilities to build a private infrastructure and work with regulatory bodies. Fortunately, ENTELEC is the forum to make this happen because of our commitment to shared learning to advance our respective industries forward.

Trend #3: Redundancy Capabilities are Growing

The underlying reasons why operators and midstream companies need access to data from remote locations is to enhance reliability, operate safely and efficiently, and to remain compliant.

To achieve these objectives, companies need enhanced redundancy capabilities to increase the reliability of their communication systems.

One of the growing pipeline technology trends is building more redundancy into SCADA systems to ensure that a company can remain operable in abnormal operating conditions.

Within the infrastructure of your SCADA system, it’s critical to have robust communications from your network. That’s why access to data is valuable to ensure that companies can build a practical plan of action beforehand and then make informed decisions in real-time.

The solution to take advantage of growing redundancy capabilities is companies working together to ensure connectivity. Essentially, communications connectivity is a bridge that must be built; otherwise companies cannot take full advantage of available technology.

Be Part of the Solution

Right now, a significant issue facing our members is building infrastructure for pipeline communication.

The technology is available. The data is ready to be collected. However, the infrastructure is not yet built. Together, we can work together to solve this challenge.

Your Challenges Solved for Oil & Gas Networking in Houston

Whether you are an individual contributor in the oil & gas, energy, or telecommunications industry or if you are a manager/executive, you face a unique challenge deciding which Houston networking events provide the most value.

Perhaps you had a poor experience with oil & gas networking in Houston in the past. Or, you are uncertain whether you or your team will actually benefit from attending events. We are proud that ENTELEC addresses common networking concerns to ensure that you gain valuable knowledge, experience, and resources to apply directly to your company.

Which Oil & Gas Networking Challenges Apply to Your Situation?

Consider which of these five challenges apply to your situation and how ENTELEC addresses each challenge to ensure the most value for you or your team.

Networking Challenge #1: So Many Networking Options

We have found that industry professionals in Texas genuinely enjoy getting together to share ideas and information. But, which event or conference is the best fit for your needs?

There are large gatherings such as the annual ENTELEC Spring Conference & Expo in Houston, and there are smaller gatherings such as lunch-and-learns that have similar networking opportunities in a more intimate setting.

Fortunately, we believe that ENTELEC achieves the best of both worlds.

We host a large gathering at the ENTELEC Spring Conference & Expo, but within that forum, we have breakout sessions that allow for personalized interaction and discussion with industry leaders.

We also will be hosting our annual Fall Seminar Series in Odessa, Texas this year. Our fall conference usually takes place in a smaller venue, attracts remote participants, and includes collaborative breakout sessions that allow for engagement with industry peers. The result is being able to talk about your company’s real challenges to get real answers.

Networking Challenge #2: Are These Events a Good Use of Time?

You could sum up oil & gas networking in Houston as an input/output relationship. What you put in is what you will get out. If you walk into a conference or send your team to a conference not expecting to get much out of the event, then they won’t find much value.

However, if you expect to gain valuable knowledge or even find a solution to solve your company’s existing problem, then you will see positive results.

We are proud of the track record of our member organization connecting companies with other companies to solve real problems and find solutions they can readily apply in the field.

Networking Challenge #3: Exposing Ourselves to Competitors?

A third common reason why companies are hesitant to engage in networking events is the possibility of exposing your products or services to competitors.

Sure, there are some conferences where companies send team members mainly to scout the competition and try to discover trade secrets to bring back to their company. That is not the spirit of ENTELEC.

At ENTELEC, the gathered companies and professionals might be competitors, but at the end of the day, the spirit of our organization is shared learning to grow our respective industries. It is about moving forward in a respectful manner to ensure that everyone grows, even as competitors.

Networking Challenge #4: How Do I Justify Attending a Conference to My Boss?

If you are an individual contributor who wants to gain knowledge to pour back into your company, congratulations! You are ahead of the game wanting to grow in your profession and secure your future in the industry.

One of the best ways to justify attending a networking event in Houston is relaying the key benefits to your company if you participate.

For example, when your company becomes an ENTELEC member, you gain a discounted rate to the ENTELEC Conference & Expo, free access to unique educational opportunities such as webinars and lunch-and-learns, and the chance to participate in the Regulatory & Technology Committee.

Networking Challenge #5: How Do I Justify Sending My Team to a Conference?

If you are a manager or executive considering sending your team to an oil & gas networking event in Houston, then you are positioned to jump ahead of your competition.

These events are a unique opportunity for your individual contributors to gain tremendous knowledge and experience, then bring those resources back into your company.

Related to ENTELEC, we offer a Corporate Membership to companies that employ personnel in the telecommunications, automation, electrical power, information processing systems, or allied fields. We help these individual contributors grow in their profession to deliver results for your company.

Consider Becoming an ENTELEC Member

We believe we offer the best value for oil and gas networking in Houston through our annual ENTELEC Conference & Expo and other membership events throughout the year.

If you are an individual contributor who wants to encourage your superior to register your company for ENTELEC membership, or if you are a manager who is ready to register your team, then you can learn more about how to start the application process today.

We look forward to hearing from you as we continue to provide valuable resources to industry professionals to keep growing in their profession and growing their companies.

3 Pipeline Safety Issues You May Not Have Been Aware Of

In late April, CenterPoint Energy released a detailed pipeline safety message to residents in the city of Houston, surrounding areas in Texas, and other Gulf Coast states where they operate.

The message was geared toward residential users to share valuable information with family, neighbors, and co-workers to ensure safe interaction with pipelines running throughout a given area.

After reading the message, we believe there is also relevant information to share with professionals who interact with pipelines on a daily or semi-regular basis.

Pipeline Safety Issues

Consider the following pipeline safety issues that you may not be aware that could help you in your current role.

Pipeline Safety Issue #1: Some Areas Are More Critical Than Others

Related to pipeline risk, not every area in a particular region is treated the same. If a portion of a pipeline system is located in a “populated or environmentally sensitive” area, this is designated as a High Consequence Area (HCA).

Additionally, the HCAs are subject to increased inspections and additional maintenance measures that are part of an Integrity Management Program (IMP).

The HCA designation and subsequent IMP program are managed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). To ensure that residents, pipeline operators, and other professionals are aware of these high-consequence areas, PHMSA has provided the National Pipeline Mapping System for public access and viewing.

Pipeline Safety Issue #2: Pipeline Markers Are Not Exact

Most pipelines in a given area are buried underground. To help indicate where pipelines are located, pipeline markers are used to indicate their “approximate location.”

These pipeline markers help identify where a pipeline intersects with a street, highway, or other road feature. On the marker, you can find pertinent information such as the material in the pipe, the name of the pipeline operator, and the phone number of the operator.

However, pipeline markers “cannot be relied upon to indicate the exact position of the pipeline,” according to CenterPoint. Why is this? A pipeline typically does not run in a straight course between markers. That is why it is essential to use the mapping system to identify the exact location of a pipeline to ensure pipeline safety if you need to work with a particular stretch of underground pipe.

Pipeline Safety Issue #3: Check the Pipeline Right-of-Way Before Taking Action

Before you interact with a pipeline, you should check the pipeline right-of-way, which provides access to the pipeline for maintenance and other services.

The pipeline marker will typically indicate a pipeline right-of-way. However, if you do not see a pipeline marker, you should not interact with the pipeline or place anything near it before the pipeline is marked and the right-of-ways are staked.

This process is important because the right-of-ways help indicate areas where certain actions are prohibited to protect public safety and the integrity of the pipeline. They also help identify areas that should be clear in the event of an emergency.

ENTELEC Supports Members in the Pursuit of Pipeline Safety

As part of our commitment to education and shared learning, ENTELEC believes it is important for all industry professionals to be reminded of pipeline safety. We want our members and colleagues to safely perform tasks in their given role, no matter how often you interact with pipelines.

Consider joining the ENTELEC user association to receive more valuable resources throughout the year — many of our members find the committees particularly valuable for staying current on the issues that impact their work. We look forward to serving your professional needs in the petroleum, natural gas, pipeline, and electric utility industries.

ENTELEC 2018: Thank You For Advancing Our Capabilities at the Spring Conference

ENTELEC has been gathering since 1928 to share the latest education and technology with users in the energy, telecommunications, utility, and natural gas industries. After 90 years, we are still committed to moving these industries forward by pooling our collective resources in one gathering location.

This year’s ENTELEC Spring Conference and Expo at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston demonstrated the power of collaboration. We heard from industry leaders, policymakers, and vendors who are primed to capitalize on the latest opportunities for industry growth by working together. However, we also heard about roadblocks and obstacles that could slow our collective push forward.

ENTELEC Prepared Users to Meet the Challenge

As new technology has emerged, companies have realized that the only way to truly capitalize on these capabilities is through collaboration. That makes ENTELEC a powerful resource for our members because shared learning and experience is at the core of our user association.

During education sessions at ENTELEC 2018, we heard questions and discussions about how to tap into the latest technology when faced with roadblocks.

Your roadblock could be federal government regulations, access restrictions, or conflict with major infrastructure providers who are not keen on building systems for network connectivity in rural areas. You may even be frustrated by how close you are to realizing the full capabilities of available technology because of the significant positive impact it could have on your company.

ENTELEC is the place to work together to solve these problems and find solutions through our collective resources. To help bridge that gap, we were excited to see vendors displaying amazing technology to support companies, such as Virtual Reality, advanced wireless network systems, and software to manage a control room.

Alden Mills Captures the Power of Collaboration

ENTELEC was proud to feature former Navy SEAL Alden Mills as the keynote speaker for ENTELEC 2018. Alden spoke about the power of success through teamwork and collaborative efforts, which he also wrote about in his influential book, “Unstoppable.”

Alden inspired the room of ENTELEC members and vendors with his stories from the battlefield and through his lessons from the military and business leadership experience.

Alden’s military experience includes the distinction of a three-time No. 1 ranked Navy SEAL platoon commander. In business, Alden co-founded Perfect Fitness, has been awarded more than 40 patents, and has helped companies build, lead, grow, and innovate through successful collaboration.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Each ENTELEC gathering is the result of the Board of Directors, members, vendors, and sponsors coming together with one mission to provide information, training, and resources that benefit the end user.

Without a collaborative approach to advancing our respective industries forward, ENTELEC would not be as powerful influencing and advancing key industries.

We want to thank the following sponsors for supporting ENTELEC 2018 — whether the overall event, a booth, training sessions, panel discussions, or our keynote speaker.

Platinum Sponsors: Athonet, GE, and RigNet
Gold Sponsors: Juniper Networks, PTC, and Tessco
Silver Sponsors: AccessSpectrum, Lockard & White, and Nutanix

We Look Forward to Our Next Meeting

Now that the Spring 2018 ENTELEC conference is in the books, we are looking forward to our next formal gathering later this year.

The Fall 2018 Seminar Series will be held October 11-12 in Odessa, Texas. This exclusive meeting will focus on critical industry topics such as SCADA, IIoT, LTE, Field Communications, and Regulatory developments.

If your company would like to join the conference, then act fast to reserve your spot. Because of the exclusive nature of the conference, spots are limited. Find out how to register your team today!

The Importance of Professional Development in SCADA

The educational concept of “learning by doing” was popularized by American philosopher John Dewey, who believed that education should be relevant and practical for individual growth.

The ENTELEC user organization follows a similar model with our ENTELEC conferences, especially when it comes to SCADA professional development. During these conferences, we provide SCADA learning opportunities that include hands-on training, workshops, forums, and valuable interaction.

In May, our organization held the annual ENTELEC Spring Conference & Expo in Houston that included several educational and training sessions geared towards SCADA. Now, we are actively building the education program for our Fall Seminar Series scheduled for October 11-12 in Odessa, Texas.

Why Should SCADA Professionals Invest Time in Professional Growth?

Learning from each other in an active environment helps individuals grow professionally. By investing time in training and networking opportunities, you will increase your knowledge, job security, and value to your company.

Also, gaining different perspectives and connecting with industry experts outside the scope of your company is important for any SCADA professional to ensure that you are constantly growing and not stagnant in your current role.

Then, after receiving useful information and gaining valuable experience in a professional development setting, you can immediately apply this learning at your company.

How Does the ENTELEC Community Support SCADA Professionals?

ENTELEC is made up of industry professionals who are deeply committed to cultivating a community of thought leaders through education and shared knowledge.

We believe this combination of education, hands-on learning opportunities, and practical application advances the careers of ENTELEC members, helps companies grow by understanding the latest industry challenges and trends, and pushes the energy telecom industry forward.

Whether you are an individual SCADA professional or a manager who would like to send your SCADA team to an ENTELEC Conference, we believe there are exceptional education and training opportunities for industry professionals.

Visit our website to find our more information regarding the Fall Seminar. Additionally, if your company is not already an ENTELEC member or if you need to renew your membership, please view our Corporate and Associate membership information.

ENTELEC Announces 2018 Wayne V. Black Memorial Scholarship Winner

ENTELEC is proud to announce Reeda Hanif as the latest winner of the Wayne V. Black Memorial Scholarship Award.

After careful deliberations among ENTELEC Scholarship Committee members, we selected Reeda as the 2018 scholarship winner due to her passion for computer science and biology at the university level.

ENTELEC was also impressed by Reeda’s commitment to advancing her field through research on microRNA data using an online program to analyze sequencing.

Reeda’s use of technology and desire to advance her chosen industry matched the spirit of our scholarship award.

What is the Wayne V. Black Memorial Scholarship Award?

In 2006, ENTELEC established an educational scholarship to honor Wayne V. Black, who served as the general counsel of our organization from the 1970s until his retirement.

Following his passing in 2011, ENTELEC renamed the award the Wayne V. Black Memorial Scholarship Award to continue honoring his commitment to support future industry leaders.

Each year, we recognize a new educational scholarship winner who embodies Mr. Black’s passion for advancing their chosen industry through the use of technology. This year, Reeda Hanif was the clear recipient.

Reeda Hanif Encouraging More Involvement in Computer Science

Reeda Hanif was born in Pakistan, grew up in the United States, and is now part of a minority group of female students studying computer science at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

“The computer science field is male dominant, and a group of female students at my university have taken part in promoting this fascinating area of study to other females,” says Reeda.

“I think it is important for more females to join this field and hope to be a part of this change. I hope to encourage many other young women to compute and enjoy the huge variety of styles and ideas that come with it.”

Now, Reeda is applying an interest in computer science to her study of molecular biology to continue researching genetic codes.

ENTELEC is proud to support Reeda in her educational pursuit of collecting and analyzing the abundant amount of data available in her research.

Take Your Next Steps with ENTELEC

We encourage you to find out more about the history and legacy of the Wayne V. Black Memorial Scholarship Award. You can also find out how to apply for next year’s award.

Additionally, we look forward to seeing you at the 2018 ENTELEC Conference & Expo on May 15-17. You can register today for the conference as a non-member. Or, if you are an ENTELEC member, be sure to register for the conference to receive the discounted rate!

2018 ENTELEC Conference & Expo: We Are Expanding!

You spoke. We listened. We are expanding the 2018 ENTELEC Conference & Expo running May 15-17 in Houston.

When you step onto the floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center, you can expect more hands-on training sessions than we’ve had in a number of years—all in one location.

The ENTELEC Conference & Expo will also include access to a centralized space to share your ideas and use actual equipment to solve real-world challenges.

What Industries Does the ENTELEC Conference & Expo Apply To?

ENTELEC will gather industry thought leaders, experts, and vendors to take part in a healthy exchange of knowledge and information during the ENTELEC Conference & Expo.

If you work in one of these industries, you stand to gain valuable information that applies to your profession:

  • Electric
  • Oil & Gas
  • Waste Water
  • Automation
  • Municipalities
  • Agriculture

We are excited to see how you can take information from our discussions to pour back into your company.

What Topics Will Be Covered in the ENTELEC Conference & Expo?

For nearly 100 years, ENTELEC has supported the energy, telecommunications, and electrical industries by pushing forward with our shared knowledge of the latest technology.

Because we keep our finger on the pulse of technology, the topics at this year’s ENTELEC Conference & Expo will reflect issues that you encounter on a daily basis in your line of work.

The timely topics that we are planning include:

  • FCC guidelines
  • Automation
  • Cybersecurity
  • More included in the hands-on training sessions

Through our forum to ask questions, gain information, and learn from each other, we hope that you can return to your industry armed with valuable tools to build your career, secure your position, and continue shaping policy.

Register Today for theENTELEC Conference & Expo!

We believe one of the great benefits of the ENTELEC Conference & Expo is that the content applies to everyone who attends the ENTELEC Conference.

Whether you are an industry novice, mid-level manager, or executive leader, you will find educational resources that are immediately applicable when you return to the field.

Registration is now open. Sign up today to take part in this year’s expanded ENTELEC Conference & Expo!