Energy Managers Share Ways To Control Costs

By Jeff Share, Editor | March 2013, Vol. 240, No. 3

There is no free energy, even for energy companies. In recent years, energy costs for pipeline companies have become an issue of increasing importance to managers and executives alike.

A group of oil products pipeline energy managers eventually realized they needed their own forum to deal with an agenda specific to their needs. So, in 1995 the Pipeline Energy Group, known as PEG, was created. It has now evolved into an annual three-day conference that brings together energy managers from around the country.

Dan Merritt is an active member of PEG who explained the group’s goals in a recent interview. He has worked at Tulsa-based Explorer Pipeline since 2005 where he is Principal Power Optimization Engineer. A 1979 graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in civil engineering, he has more than 33 years of pipeline engineering experience, working in many engineering disciplines including onshore and offshore pipeline design and construction, facility automation, SCADA system configuration, testing and implementation, field operations and maintenance, pipeline system transient analysis and more recently, energy management.

P&GJ: Why was the Pipeline Energy Group created?

Merritt: For many pipeline companies, power costs are among their largest operating expenses, so several of their energy managers thought periodic meetings could provide valuable insight. Those who started PEG saw an excellent opportunity to meet yearly by extending their participation at the annual API liquids pipeline conference by a half day. That additional time provided the energy managers an opportunity to discuss and share best practices.

The annual PEG conference is now a three-day meeting that provides all of the original content plus technical presentations from members, vendors and industry experts as well as social functions that offer networking opportunities for all of the participants.

P&GJ: Why was it felt necessary to hold this conference separately?

Merritt: The PEG participants soon recognized they had much more to discuss than would fit in the time available following the API conference. They also found it difficult to simply add more time at the end of the API conference, as being out of the office for that much time caused a hardship for most of them. The best solution was to hold another conference focused specifically on issues that matter most to pipeline energy managers and to schedule it completely independent from the API conference.

P&GJ: Who is the membership composed of, what are the requirements to join – are you specifically targeting energy managers of LDCs, gas transmission and oil products pipelines?

We target energy managers for participation in the conference, but it isn’t limited to just energy managers. The conference has a history of expanding to fill its needs. Participants originally included only energy managers from liquid pipeline operating companies, and primarily only those who operate systems in North America.