Category Archives: people

Dave McCurdy The Future of Gas in the City of Light

It was an extraordinary honor to attend the 26th World Gas Conference – the largest and most prestigious conference in the global gas industry calendar – in Paris, France last week. More than 4,000 natural gas industry professionals – leading energy players and decision makers from 100 countries from all over the globe – gathered to discuss current and future industry developments.

Much of the conference took place in the Palais des Sports at the Porte de Versailles. The opening ceremony was truly a sight to behold as was the venue the Grand Palais. Conference attendees were also invited to a concert at Sainte-Chapelle, featuring the Orchestre Classik Ensemble.

More than 500 speakers were on hand, including several from the United States delegation:

  • David Carroll, President Gas Technology Institute and IGU President
  • Terry D. McCallister, AGA Chairman and chairman & CEO, WGL Holdings, Inc.
  • Colette D. Honorable, Commissioner, U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Robin Dunnigan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy, U.S. State Department
  • Dr. Paula Gant, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas, U.S. Department of Energy
  • John S. Watson, Chairman of the Board, Chevron Corporation
  • Rex Tillerson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Numerous American Gas Association (AGA) staff members participated in panel discussions, including Lori Traweek, Chris McGill, Kimberly Denbow, Andrew Soto, Tracy Burleson and myself.

At the conclusion of the conference, the U.S., through AGA, accepted the Presidency of the International Gas Union (IGU). The U.S. will lead the organization for a three year term which will conclude with the 27th World Gas Conference in June 2018 in Washington, D.C. This conference will be an incredible opportunity to showcase the American natural gas industry and I am pleased to serve as chairman of the 2018 World Gas Conference National Organizing Committee.

The IGU is made up of the gas industries of 91 nations and its mission is to advocate natural gas as an integral part of a sustainable global energy system, and to promote the political, technical and economic progress of the gas industry. The more than 140 members of IGU are associations and corporations of the gas industry representing over 95 percent of the global gas market.  The organization provides opportunities for more than 1,000 members of the global gas community to share best practices and engage in discussions relating to all segments of the natural gas value chain.

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Christina Nyquist Joining Together to Elevate Natural Gas Delivery – More than 2,000 Attend 2015 AGA Operations Conference & Biennial Exhibition

From May 19-22, more than 2,000 attendees gathered in Grapevine, Texas for four days, more than 120 presentations and sessions, and more than 200 exhibitions – all focused on delivering our nation’s domestic abundance of natural gas even more safely, reliably, efficiently and affordably.

The annual AGA Operations Conference is the premiere gathering for the natural gas utility industry, providing a forum for operations professionals and experts from AGA’s more than 200 member companies throughout North America to come together and discuss current issues, share best practices and work toward raising the performance of the industry nationwide. This year, the Operations Conference coincided with the Biennial Exhibition, which featured a record 218 exhibitions showcasing the latest in natural gas utility technology and innovation.

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AGA Chairman Terry McCallister, Chairman, President & CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas addresses AGA Operations Conference attendees in Grapevine, Texas.

A Focus on Safety

This year, safety remained the core theme of the conference, with topics covering excavation damage prevention, disaster response, pipeline maintenance and materials, emissions measurement, environmental management, worker safety, workforce development and more. AGA member company executives discussed safety culture and gave an update on the new voluntary national AGA Peer Review Program. Attendees also heard presentations selected from AGA’s Best Practices Program on topics including infrastructure replacement programs at Consumers Energy, damage prevention at Washington Gas and redefining leak management at Pacific Gas & Electric.

AGA Operations Conference attendees participated in more than 120 presentations, panels and discussions on enhancing the safety and performance of natural gas operations.

AGA Operations Conference attendees participated in more than 120 presentations, panels and discussions on enhancing the safety and performance of natural gas operations.

Recognizing Excellence

AGA awarded 21 companies with Safety Achievement Awards in both worker and vehicle safety, and presented individual awards for contributions to natural gas operations including emissions management, using GPS technology to map infrastructure and enhance records management, and furthering research and development in safety, delivery, design, construction, maintenance, operations and efficiency. AGA also granted the first annual AGA Safety Awareness Video Excellence Award to Atmos Energy for their video, “Do you Dig It? Always Call Before You Dig.”

 Recipients of the 2015 AGA Safety Achievement Award

Recipients of the 2015 AGA Safety Achievement Award

Saving Lives

Natural gas utility employees serve their communities every day, in all weather, often going above and beyond their basic duties. Every year, AGA recognizes a member company employee who “has performed the most meritorious act in the gas industry in saving a human life during the prior year.” This year, AGA presented the Meritorious Service Award to Kacee Rogers of SourceGas, who rescued a woman after she had lost control of her vehicle and drove into a frozen pond. Rogers’ heroic action is an example of the qualities so often seen in natural gas utility employees – quick action, selflessness, a calm demeanor and a desire to help. Every day, local utility employees put those qualities to work, helping to ensure that homes and businesses can safely access the energy they need when they need it.

AGA Chairman Terry McCallister, Chairman, President & CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas presents Kacee Rogers of SourceGas with the 2015 AGA Meritorious Service Award.

AGA Chairman Terry McCallister, Chairman, President & CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas presents Kacee Rogers of SourceGas with the 2015 AGA Meritorious Service Award.

Giving Back

Natural gas utilities are part of their local communities and are focused on service. This year, AGA staff and conference attendees continued that tradition by helping to assemble bikes with the Texas-based Bikes for Goodness Sake Foundation. The AGA team, assisted by a contribution from host utility Atmos Energy, assembled 20 bikes, which were delivered to the Grapevine Police Community Outreach Center to be distributed to local children at the start of the summer reading program.

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AGA Staff and Operations Conference attendee volunteers pose with bikes assembled for Bikes for Goodness Sake.

By joining together and learning from each other throughout the year at events such as the Operations Conference, America’s local natural gas utilities are raising the bar and elevating the safety and performance of the entire natural gas industry. For more highlights from this year’s conference, visit us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Lisa O'Leary Atmos Energy Receives First Annual AGA Safety Awareness Video Excellence Award

While natural gas utilities are dedicated to enhancing the safety of their operations, public awareness is a critical part of safe natural gas delivery. Finding effective ways to spread safety messages goes a long way toward ensuring that everyone can safely enjoy the benefits of natural gas.

This year, the American Gas Association (AGA) held our first annual AGA Safety Awareness Video Excellence (SAVE) Award, recognizing the outstanding contributions utilities across the country make in advancing natural gas safety communications.

(From L-R: Ronald Bradley, VP, Gas Operations, PECO Energy and AGA Operations Conference Chairman; Michael Haefner, Executive VP, Atmos Energy; Jeff Knights, VP, Technical Services - Mid-Texas Division, Atmos Energy; Christina Sames, VP, Operations & Engineering, AGA)

(From L-R: Ronald Bradley, VP, Gas Operations, PECO Energy and AGA Operations Conference Chairman; Michael Haefner, Executive VP, Atmos Energy; Jeff Knights, VP, Technical Services – Mid-Texas Division, Atmos Energy; Christina Sames, VP, Operations & Engineering, AGA)

AGA is pleased to announce the 2015 overall award recipient is Atmos Energy for their video submission, “Do You Dig It? Always Call Before You Dig”.  We’d also like to congratulate Co Serve for receiving the most public votes on AGA’s Facebook page for its “Mr. Diggs Gets the 411 on 811 (Armadillo Whisperer)” video.

AGA received many great submissions, and we encourage everyone to check them out on AGA’s YouTube channel by clicking on the “AGA Safety Video Award Submissions 2015″ playlist. Details about the 2016 SAVE Award will be posted on AGA’s website at a later date. In the meantime, share the creative ways your company is spreading natural gas safety messages in the comments section below and you may be featured in an upcoming AGA blog post.

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Lisa O'Leary AGA Financial Forum 2015: Investing in America’s Energy Future

Nearly 550 attendees traveled to Palm Desert, California earlier this week for the 2015 American Gas Association (AGA) Financial Forum. Energy industry executives, security analysts, portfolio managers, rating agencies, and commercial and investment bankers came together to discuss the outlook for the energy industry and individual AGA member companies.

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In addition to nearly 25 formal company presentations, the Financial Forum offered a structured program of technical workshops, financial community visitation tables and organized company dinners to provide substantial time for assessment of company opportunities.

Chris McGill

During the General Session, AGA Vice President of Policy Analysis Chris McGill moderated a panel entitled, “A Long-Term Energy Market with $50 Oil – Impact to Economy and Natural Gas Sector,” which included executives from Ponderosa Advisors LLC, the Natural Gas Supply Association, NiSource Inc., and Devon Energy Corp.  The speakers on the panel discussed the dynamics of moving from an energy market dominated by scarcity to one of abundance, as well as how this may impact the United States’ energy future.

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At the conclusion of the Financial Forum, the 2014 Chairman of the AGA Finance Committee Andrew Evans, of AGL Resources, handed over the reins to current Vice Chairman Steven Rasche, of The Laclede Group Inc. The AGA Finance Committee looks forward to working closely with Rasche throughout the next year, as well as hosting the 2016 Financial Forum next May in Naples, Florida.

Victor Espinoza preakness stakes

Photo Credit: Associated Press

AGA cheered on Call 811-sponsored jockey Victor Espinoza from the Financial Forum as he rode Derby-winning American Pharaoh to victory in the Preakness Stakes. Thanks in part to more than 30 members of the Common Ground Alliance, an organization dedicated to educating professionals and homeowners about the importance of following safe digging procedures, 10 million viewers around the world were reminded of the importance to “Call 811 Before You Dig.” AGA will be watching Espinoza race for the third and final jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, on Saturday, June 6.

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