Pipeliners Podcast

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This week’s Pipeliners Podcast episode continues our iPIPE series focusing on the operator’s perspective with Brian Epperson of Hess and Greg Tilley of DCP Midstream, hosted by Russel Treat.

In this episode, you will learn about two operators’ perspectives of iPIPE, why the companies that Brian and Greg work for decided to partner with iPIPE, and how iPIPE has helped benefit the companies they work for.

iPIPE Operator’s Perspective: Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms

  • Brian Epperson is the Senior Manager of Environmental & Regulatory at Hess Corporation. Connect with Brian on LinkedIn.
  • Greg Tilley is the Director of Pipeline Corrosion at DCP Midstream. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.
  • iPIPE (the intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program) is an industry-led consortium whose focus is to contribute to the advancement of near-commercial, emerging technologies to prevent and detect gathering pipeline leaks as the industry advances toward the goal of zero incidents.
  • EERC (Energy & Environmental Research Center) is a research, development, demonstration, and commercialization facility for energy and environment technologies development located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. EERC is a leading developer of cleaner, more efficient energy to power the world and environmental technologies to protect and clean our air, water, and soil.
  • Leak Detection is the process of monitoring, diagnosing, and addressing a leak in a pipeline to mitigate risks.
  • PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) is responsible for providing pipeline safety oversight through regulatory rulemaking, NTSB recommendations, and other important functions to protect people and the environment through the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials.
  • PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust) is an iterative four-step management method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products.

iPIPE Operator’s Perspective: Full Episode Transcript

Russel Treat:  Welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast, episode 113, sponsored by iPIPE, an industry-led consortium advancing leak detection and leak prevention technologies to eliminate spills as pipeliners move towards zero incidents.

To learn more about iPIPE, or to become an iPIPE partner, please visit ipipepartnership.com.

[background music]

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, and to show that appreciation, we give away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener each episode.

This week, our winner is Megan Bounds, with Alyeska Pipeline. Congratulations, Megan, your YETI is on its way. To learn how you can win this signature prize pack, stick around to the end of the episode.

This week is Episode 3 of a six-part series about iPIPE Partnership, and this particular episode, we’re going to talk about an operator/member perspective with Brian Epperson from Hess and Greg Tilley from DCP. Let’s welcome Brian and Greg.

I am sitting with Greg Tilley and Brian Epperson in the Hess building, in downtown Houston, and after many technical hurdles and obstacles which we have now overcome, we’re actually able to get on the microphone and do a podcast.

With that, welcome, Greg, and welcome, Brian. Glad to have you on the Pipeliners Podcast.

Greg Tilley:  Thanks for having us.

Brian Epperson:  Yeah, I greatly appreciate it.

Russel:  We’re here to talk about iPIPE — this is the third of a six-part series — and in this conversation, we’re going to catch the operator’s perspective from some members of the iPIPE Partnership.

Just to set a little context, Greg, why don’t you give us a little bit about your background and how you got into pipelining?

Greg:  Sure. I started with DCP about seven years ago, going on eight, and kind of came into it from a consulting role. About two years into my role at DCP, I was asked to join the pipeline group and it was a great opportunity, and honestly, I never looked back. Now I’m responsible for our pipeline corrosion program and also responsible for our leak management program.

Russel:  OK, great. Brian, same thing?

Brian:  Yeah…

Russel:  By the way, I want to interrupt here. As we were going through the technical difficulties, Greg’s had many opportunities to perfect his introduction, so Brian is feeling a little bit like, “I have to perform,” because he didn’t have an opportunity to try five or six times while we went through the technical difficulties. So go ahead, Brian.

Brian:  Sure. Absolutely. A little different background. 28 years in the oil and gas industry, 10 of the last years is with Hess Corporation. I’ve always been in the environmental space, predominantly from a permitting, regulatory arena.

Here at Hess, I lead two functions, both environment and regulatory, and remediation, investigation of spills and cleaning up spills is the main remit.

Russel:  The reason I wanted to get you guys on is I wanted to get a perspective from a member of iPIPE. From your perspective, what is iPIPE, and why did you decide to participate?

Greg:  I mean, when I first heard about iPIPE, it was early, very, very early in the stages of iPIPE just coming together. I think there were a few members up in North Dakota. DCP, interestingly doesn’t operate any assets in North Dakota.

Russel:  That’s fascinating.

Greg:  Yeah, so we were actually the first operator to join that doesn’t have any assets up there. What interested me is that what iPIPE is doing isn’t unique to North Dakota, right? When we’re talking about leak prevention, leak detection, it isn’t a North Dakota problem. It’s a pipeline problem.

Russel:  Yeah, absolutely.

Greg:  That’s something that resonated with us as a company. I actually heard about it through another company that actually isn’t a member but was talking to me about iPIPE.

As I dug into it further, talked to Jay, we gained a lot of interest in the program and ultimately became what’s called one of the founding members of the program, and have been really very happy to be part of this ever since.

Russel:  And Brian, why did you guys elect?

Brian:  Russel, it was jealousy. We had sat and watched from the sideline all these large oil and gas companies have big, robust technology programs, and we would try to dabble in it, but could never really execute it seamlessly.

For us, partnering with other, similar, like-minded experts, it really allowed us to put dollars into a mix where it’s substantial and it can be relative. We can get something out of it, but yet, we can still influence it. It was really about getting dollars that made sense, and then getting something out of it and having somebody manage it.

The key thing for us, the EERC is managing the day to day to where we still do our day jobs. Unfortunately, my environment and regulatory space don’t stop for us to participate with iPIPE. We get to participate, get the benefit, and be active, but yet not fully fund it. It’s a win all around from our perspective.

Russel:  That’s one of the things I find kind of interesting about the iPIPE partnership, is the EERC. Can somebody tell me what that acronym stands for? It is…?

Brian:  Energy Environment Resource Council.

Russel:  That’s part of the University of North Dakota, right? Or affiliated with the University of North Dakota.

Brian:  Yeah, they were at one time. I think they’re independent now, but they’re very close in proximity.

Russel:  They have a charter to improve environmental performance in the state of North Dakota and look for opportunities because they’re a big oil and gas, particularly oil, producing region. They have a particular interest. I guess that’s some background.

What I find interesting is the nature of the facilitators, the folks with the EERC and the iPIPE group, how they’re involved in the program. I think, Brian, you alluded to that or you had stated that in that those guys are actually…They’re carrying the football and you guys are supporting the game.

I like analogies. That’s a good analogy, I think. That sound right?

Brian:  I would agree.

Greg:  I think that’s pretty spot on. It’s great to have a partner who is doing a lot of the legwork, to be honest, and going out and vetting a lot of these technology providers.

I think we’re in the same place as Brian is in that we’ve actually, as a company, are focused on transformation through technology but we’re limited in the amount of time and hours that we can dedicate to these things, as well.

To have an entity like EERC that’s actually out there consistently looking for these new technologies and knows enough about our challenges to actually ask the right questions.

Russel:  And to look more broadly than you could.

Greg:  Exactly. Also, to vet some of the…You know, people, everybody’s got a solution, but not everybody’s got a good solution. What I like is they’ve actually been able to take…You get 80 companies that come in. They can whittle that list down for us and say, “Guys, 50 of these, they’re either not ready commercially or they just are solving a problem that isn’t your problem.”

Then, we can move on and look at the ones that are most relevant. It’s incredible to have that resource. It saves us a lot of time.

Russel:  It allows you to take your limited resources and focus them in a way that it moves the needle more effectively.

Greg:  Now we can focus on execution, ground-truthing technologies as opposed to going out and spending an inordinate amount of time looking for technologies.

Russel:  Being from the vendor community, I think one of the things we often miss is the level of effort.

Even if you’ve got a technology, it does something really meaningful and it’s proven, the level of effort to take and adapt your policies, your procedures, your training, your human resources, your bill practice in order to adopt that and integrate it into your operations, it’s huge.

That can be quite painful. One of the things that seems that iPIPE does is they actually are looking at the full complexity of the technology and getting it implemented.

Greg:  The only thing I would add to that is the instant credibility the EERC brings to the table. They have that brand equity in the state with agencies.

Remember, we’re evaluating the technologies. That doesn’t mean a regulatory agency’s going to accept it. Having that independent third party evaluation of that, it’s better than if we were doing it.

Oh, hey, we’re an oil and gas company or an operator. It works. Trust me.

Russel:  That’s such a good point, that having a state agency that…I hadn’t even thought about that but that’s an excellent, excellent point.

Greg:  They do research. The EERC, this is not a smaller shop. They’re research engineers that do work on behalf of the governor’s office and stuff already in the Bakken and a part of other agencies for a very long time. We thought, as organizations, a very nice fit and it definitely scratched an itch.

Russel:  I think you’ve talked about why you participated. My next question is what’s the investment that an operator has to make to become a member of iPIPE?

Greg:  There’s two investments. There’s the small one, actually relatively speaking, which is the financial investment. You make a three-year commitment. It’s a financial commitment of the company of $75,000 per year for a three-year commitment. It’s not a big dollar amount in the grand scheme of things.

What you’re really committing to is ground-truthing technologies. Once we say we’re going to look at this technology. We’re going to really dig into it.

Then, you’ve got to be able to put your energy, and your time, and your people into actually making sure that you put enough behind that investigation that you can feel comfortable that you’ve really looked at the technology.

What’s happening is we’re investing multiple times more than that amount of money in any given technology. It’s really important that all the operators are committed to exploring that technology and really, really trying to figure out, does this thing really work?

Russel:  Yeah, does it really work in practice?

Brian:  That’s the key thing. There’s bench analysis that they do, as well. The technology vendors always provide theirs. The EERC validates in their controlled environment, but the ground-truthing part Greg’s alluding to, one, allocating what resources you have.

They’re never ready for a technology evaluation. You’re always adapting, whether you’re building a launcher. You’re configuring it to something that’s unique to, maybe, just for this. You’re going through all that.

Then, all the false positives and all of the reality that you’re actually teaching that technology vendor what it really means to an operator and how we would respond. That’s that sweat equity that’s truly impactful.

That’s where we make our money, though. That’s where, if the technology’s going to work for us, we get to see it in practice. That is where the big show starts.

Russel:  I have never heard the term ground-truthing before right now. I’m co-opting that. I’m now going to make that part of my lexicon. I like that. It really gets to the point of what his program is about and, to my mind, what’s different about it.

It’s one thing to do a bench test or even a real-world lab test. It’s quite a different thing to get that technology into the hands of the field technicians that are actually going to be working with it and have them work with it. You’re going to find out things you can’t find out any other way.

Brian:  It always works in the lab.

[laughter]

Greg:  Not always.

[laughter]

Brian:  Fair.

Russel:  It always works in the lab before you see it.

Greg:  True.

We’ve learned a lot. One of the things that’s been interesting for us is you mentioned false positives. That’s something you’ve got to get comfortable with when you’re looking at new technologies, is that this isn’t something that’s proven, that’s perfect, that’s always going to be spot on.

You’re dealing with imperfect products that are moving toward being commercially ready. You’re going to have that. That’s a mindset that, as a company, you’ve got to be comfortable with.

I think that’s one of the things that’s been exciting, is Brian does and I work for a company, too, where I’m very fortunate that we have people who are invested in the concept of technology as helping us transform not just the industry, but the company and how we deliver and benefit the communities that we operate in.

That’s really important to us. We’ve got that mindset at our company in a way that we can actually do some of these things.

Russel:  I think, actually more broadly around our industry, that’s happening. I think there’s a lot of concern about the cost and the effort to get technology that actually is meaningful and actually creates the results I’m looking for versus just trying everything that’s brought to the door.

You can’t try everything that’s brought to the door. That’s completely not feasible.

Brian:  You can’t, Russel. The key thing there, from what you just said from our perspective, it’s not only what you’re going to do, but not to overregulate yourself to get that correct fit for purpose technology that you can put in practice that it don’t put you more out of the way.

Russel:  To have a third party that has credibility that can say, “No, we’re not going to try this because,” and, “Yes, we should try this because…Here’s the risk of doing the trial. Here’s what we hope to find.”

One of the things that Jay said in our previous episodes is they want to have some failures because you actually need to move the needle in a way that you do have some failures, but you need those to be deliberate and you learn from them.

This is one of the questions that comes up for me. How hard is it to get the field techs, the guys who already have another job, to actually embrace trying something new? How big a challenge is that?

Greg:  At DCP, I’ll speak for that. I can’t speak for all the other operators. I can speak for us.

Russel:  Sure.

Greg:  It’s an awful lot of work when you have a leak that you didn’t know was out there, to go out and solve that problem, to deal with the environmental remediation, to deal with land owners, and all the other things that go along with that.

The way I like to think about this as if we find something, whether it’s taking a preventative action to stop something from happening in the first place or finding something sooner and limiting the scope of the problem, then that’s a win.

Presenting it that way to people that are in the field that actually have to deal with this, right? If someone says, “Hey, I think we’ve found a leak.” Literally, somebody in the field has to go to that spot, take a look, and investigate it. That’s the only way.

Russel:  It might require a dig, all kinds of other things. That requires interactions with land owners and on, and on, and on.

Greg:  Or it’s launching something through a…something you’ve never done before. Attaching some device to the back of a pig that you’ve never done, and sending it down, and receiving it, and/or, in some cases, floating it down a line and then waiting for it to show up.

It makes people uncomfortable sometimes. At least at DCP, we’ve got a culture that is very open to trying these new technologies, which it makes an enviable position because we have that kind of mentality in the field. People are embracing these things because people don’t want these problems.

Nobody wants it.

Russel:  I think that’s so true, Greg. One of the things that’s thematic…I’ve done over a hundred episodes now. Many of them on leak detection, and incident response, and that sort of thing.

One of the things that’s thematic is we, as an industry, we as people in the industry, we care about our communities. We care about the environment. We actually want to do what we need to do to serve our communities and do it in a way they never know we’re there.

That’s the ideal.

Greg:  I call it purposeful visibility, is what we call it. I want people to know we’re there for the right reasons. That’s it.

Russel:  Exactly. What have you learned by doing this? What are a couple of things that you’ve learned that maybe you didn’t foresee or were a surprise?

Brian:  We’ve picked up on the technology development piece and share it back to even our small groups that are developing certain algorithms and stuff that we’re trying to run.

What I mean by that specifically is it is the failures. It is what we’re achieving, but the volume of effort that it takes to do the smallest things. All the internal hurdles that you have to come over because it’s very methodical.

Going back to why we have the EERC involved is this point exactly. We want to get to the solution as fast as possible. We’ll skip four, five, six steps and lose some of that rayability to get to the end because we’ve got other things to do or more to evaluate. We want to get it in practice once we get a sense that it’s working.

Having that controlled excitement and the stage gates through the process, being very patient, and repetition in both failure and repetition in success is something that we take away most of all, as patience is a reality that you have to have.

Russel:  I’m chewing on what you’re saying there because I know exactly what that means. I know exactly what you mean by I’ve got something that’s working. I need to get it in and start using it and move on to the next thing. Yet, I actually need to mature this technology.

Brian:  It’s four seasons evaluations. It’s different conditions. Is it New Mexico, Colorado versus North Dakota? The mass application.

Greg said it. He nailed it earlier when he said, “I’ve got a perfect solution looking for your problem.” How do you meter that enthusiasm but yet have something that’s going to be effective and potentially game-changing for the industry and make you a better operator, that’s going to drive all that brand equity? That’s why we’re doing it.

Russel:  It’s fascinating. Greg, you have anything about what you’ve learned that you didn’t anticipate that you would learn?

Greg:  One of the things that’s been most interesting to me, quite frankly, is we’ve got…iPIPE is now 11 members, so it’s growing.

What I’ve learned that’s been interesting to me, to set aside the technologies for a moment, it’s the willingness of the members to share what they’ve learned, even beyond what we’re doing at iPIPE, on what they’re doing around leak prevention, leak detection.

That’s been amazing. You always wonder is anybody going to be able to, “Hey, we’ve looked at this. We want it to be a competitive advantage. We don’t want to tell you about it.” I don’t think anybody that’s in this group looks at safety of pipelines as a competitive advantage. I think we’re all looking at it as what Jay said…

Russel:  We need to get the tide to come in and lift all the boats.

Greg:  I think that’s exactly right, which is safety of pipelines is not a competitive advantage. It is something that we all have to have. I think that’s been interesting, that we have been all pretty open to sharing things that we’ve done in a way that I didn’t expect that going into it. That’s been a great experience.

Russel:  I think we’re going to see more of that in our industry. There’s actually some regulatory moves. PHMSA’s trying to do some things with information sharing. There’s a huge need, I think, in our industry to share lessons learned across operators.

We’ve got a ways to go as an industry before we can do all that and do it in a way that operators feel protected when they do those kinds of things. That’s actually encouraging, right? We actually have a lot more in common and a lot more to collaborate about than we have to compete about.

Greg:  There are lots of ways to compete. I’m not sure this is one of them.

Russel:  Let’s hope not, right? What problems have you been able to solve? Do you have anything that you can point to and say, “That was a success. That solved a problem”?

Brian:  That’s a tricky question.

Russel:  Before you dive in, why is that a tricky question?

Brian:  Because what’s the definition of success? Have we mass applied our solution and did it solve something?

Russel:  Got it.

Brian:  For example, I would say that one of our early rounds in iPIPE, we trialed eight new solutions that had a small sensor for smaller diameter pipes to have a release detection method that Greg was talking about floating through. We deemed that a success because we successfully launched, and received, and collected data from that.

Now, has that prevented anything? We’re starting to commercialize that now. Each company’s out negotiating with the vendor and working those commercial solutions, and working that up. We probably need years of data before that first big prevention and avoid an industry black eye. It’s a success, but only time will tell.

Russel:  It’s interesting. As you’re talking, what I’m thinking about is the nature of this is it’s hard to measure when nothing’s going wrong. That sounds kind of goofy, I think.

Brian:  That’s our world.

Russel:  If you’re looking from the outside of our business looking in, but anybody in our business is going to listen to that and go, “Yeah, that’s absolutely right.” It’s hard to prove a negative.

Brian:  We frame it a little different. Cost avoidance is soft dollars. You didn’t save anything.

Russel:  Right. How do I measure the value of what didn’t happen? That kind of thing.

Greg:  I think it’s called invaluable, potentially. That’s important. You may have noticed how, when you asked that question about have we seen successes, you noticed that Brian and I both had a slight hesitation. It’s not because…

Russel:  I could see a little bit of the…

Greg:  I didn’t want you to take that. Brian handled the question perfectly in that this is a process. We’ve been in this process now for about two years. We spend a full year vetting a technology before we even come up with a final report, and then start to look at how we can take that technology in house, if we want to, and go further with it.

It’s a process. Have we had successes? Absolutely, because I know more about some of these technologies that we’ve actually really dug into and looked at hard, that we see potential for. Now, we’re moving forward on those things.

Success, there’s not a line in the sand where you have success. Success, to me, is continuing to operate safely, continuing to improve the methods that you have and the tools that you have in your toolkit to say, “I’m going to make sure that not only are we finding leaks quickly, but we’re preventing leaks from happening in the first place.”

Success, there’s no line you get to cross, and throw your hands in the air, and say, “We won.” It just doesn’t work that way.

Russel:  That’s absolutely true. I 100 percent agree with that. What I think I hear you saying is we’ve found some technologies that are showing promise. It’s too early yet to know if I can say that’s a game-changer.

Is that kind of what I’m hearing?

Brian:  Yes. I will say I think we’ve looked at some technologies that are probably where leak detection is going long term. Some of the things that are going to be out there. What I think we’re learning is that, and I’ll speak for ourselves, there’s probably not a silver bullet to this. There’s not going to be one technology that’s going to solve all problems.

Russel:  No, it’s a program.

Brian:  It’s going to be…Going to have a toolkit of solutions that you have available to you. You hope that it’s a finite, small set of tools that you have to use. Let’s talk specifics. Satellite leak detection. Satellite leak detection can be very effective. Then, when the clouds roll in, it’s not effective. These are some of the challenges that you deal with.

Russel:  Satellites, the current generation of satellites that are just starting to launch will look at five square meters. The older ones are looking at 27 square meters. Is that enough data to pick up what?

Brian:  I think the evolution of that technology, that’s going to be almost with certainty a tool that people will have in their toolkit going forward. Will it be the only one? No. It won’t.

Russel:  It goes back to the conversation about this is a process. It’s a continuing effort. It’s a program, which leads to another question I wanted to ask.

You’ve talked a little bit about technologies. What about social/political learning that you didn’t anticipate or things that you think you’re finding that are going to be helpful going forward?

Brian:  When we were in the room for the first time, I never thought we would get past the contract to sign on to get into iPIPE. That hurdle was so far behind us. We’re in the room, problem-solving for what we originally intended. It’s a very collaborative environment.

When you ask that question to me, this forum is the place where stuff’s going to get solved. This is not a, “Hey, we’re doing this to satisfy the governor’s directive of a particular state. We’re doing this for the right reasons to hone our craft.”

Russel:  Because it’s the right thing to do.

Brian:  Absolutely. The collaborative nature of all the parties there who have an equal voice, no company is more valuable or more loud than the others. I may talk more because I’m a talker.

Russel:  Regardless of the size or scale of the company, they’re all basically making the same contribution, having the same vote.

Brian:  There’s a hierarchy there to streamline that. This forum is about purpose, not advocacy, per se.

Russel:  I’ve got it. Greg, anything to add to that?

Greg:  I think it all starts, for every one of us, with our social license to operate. That’s what we’re focused on, is continuing to earn that right. This is part of that. To me, that’s where it all begins. That’s where it ends. We keep that social license to operate. We’re, by definition, doing the right things.

Russel:  I agree. What advice would you give to other operating companies that are learning about or thinking about participating in iPIPE?

Greg:  When I think about other companies that might be interested in this program, I would tell them that if they’re looking to be part of a group of people that are trying to solve, and for the right reasons, some of these challenges that we’re dealing with.

Are open to being in a collaborative space, and sharing, and learning together, and working together, and leveraging what I think one of the greatest benefits of this whole program, the economies of scale. I’ve got 10 partners, 11 being us, that are all out there putting time and energy into looking to how these technologies work.

The work that the folks with Hess do benefits DCP. The work that we do benefits Hess and all our other members. It’s fantastic.

I would tell people that are looking for that that your $75,000 a year goes a lot farther than it would if you were just trying to spend that on your own and do your own investigation. There’s some real benefits there.

Brian:  I would elaborate that if more people join, we have more assets available to explore potential fixes and issues. We can disseminate some of that administrative burden, that sweat equity and ground-truthing. That’s key.

It is the money. It is evaluating technologies, but when we really get to it, it’s what can the member’s company achieve. What can they do? The more people to disseminate that out, the better and the more evaluation we could do and in a more timely manner. Instead of year over year, it could be multiple per year. That’s really where it’s at.

Russel:  What you can do, you can do more projects because with more participants you have more capacity. Not just financially, but partner wise.

I think the other thing…When I heard about this and started talking to Jay about it, I got kind of fired up because the biggest challenge as a vendor is always getting that first half dozen customers and getting the learning that comes from that. Getting that learning in a really deep way.

That learning not only has to happen in the operator, it has to happen with a vendor, as well. The idea of having more assets, meaning more climates, more terrains, more soil conditions, more operating profiles, and seeing how things work across a broader spectrum, that’s pretty compelling to me.

You’re going to learn about your operation when you look at what somebody else is doing, even though, and maybe even because it’s different.

Greg:  We always try to standardize work. That means we have similar sets, whether this is our standard engineering design for valve sets, or for pipe, or for what we want to do. Gathered versus regulated.

When you get a variability so you can see all the different tests, the PDCA really comes back. Maybe you want to do engineering reanalysis because we could have something better through this process.

Russel:  Sorry, PDCA?

Greg:  Plan, Do, Check, Adjust.

Russel:  Okay, there you go. I should have known that immediately. Just for the record, I asked that question for the listeners’ benefit, not for my own.

[laughter]

Greg:  Yeah, right.

Russel:  Not true. I was asking for my benefit. We’re coming to the end of the conversation here. What would you like to make as a last point?

Greg:  I’ll make a point to potential suppliers and vendors, if you don’t mind.

Russel:  Please.

Greg:  There’s so many companies out there that might be listening who are trying to find customers, trying to pitch their solutions that they’ve got to problems.

What I would tell them is take more time to listen than to talk because one of the things that we find sometimes is that companies come, as we talked about earlier, with a solution looking for a problem.

If you’re developing something new and you’re at that stage in the development process where you’re trying to become commercial, you can learn a lot more from listening to the problems that the operators are facing, and the challenges that we have, and the intricacies of some of these challenges in some of our gathering systems.

You’ve got to listen before you can develop something new for somebody because you learn a lot more that way.

That’s me. I’d love it if I could tell more technology providers that lesson. I think they’ll find that they’re maturing their products much faster than thinking they’ve figured it out without spending the time that they need to invest in really understanding the problem.

Russel:  I absolutely agree. Absolutely agree. Brian, do you have anything as final thoughts?

Brian:  I would just brag about iPIPE being very fluid. It is continuously evolving.

Today, we’ve been evaluating technology that people bring. The consortium is actively working toward getting better messaging to technology providers about, “Can you solve this particular issue with existing stuff?”

When we get to a point where we’re working in harmony with the smart people in a room developing technology where we don’t have to buy new stuff —  it’s an enhancement to our existing hanging hardware but it’s solving our issue — that’s where we’re going to get that next paradigm, when we’re driving the point home.

iPIPE, we’re not saying this is how we’re going to operate. We’re being very fluid. We’re doing working groups. If you want to be a part of an exciting organization that just wants to provide benefit, I’d say the water’s good. Come on in.

Russel:  Ha! That’s a great way to close.

Greg, Brian, thank you both very much. This completes our third episode about iPIPE. On the next episode, we’re going to be bringing a couple of the vendor participants to the table and asking some questions. I’m going to make a point to ask about what do you do to listen better and see what we hear.

With that, thank you guys. I appreciate you coming on the podcast.

Greg:  I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Brian:  Thank you, sir.

Russel:  I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast and our conversation with Brian and Greg.

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Russel:  If you have ideas, questions, or topics you’d be interested in, please let me know on the Contact Us page at pipelinerspodcast.com or reach out to me on LinkedIn.

Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.

Transcription by CastingWords

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