It was not surprising that both chambers of the U.S. Congress signed a bill that will put sanctions in place against some companies that are currently working to finalize the much-disputed Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline will still be completed, though, because Russia already made clear that it will replace every company necessary that is forced to drop out due to the sanctions. The upcoming signing of the bill by President Donald Trump is therefore more of a symbolic gesture than a serious threat to the project.
However, pipelines are becoming more and more the center of unwanted political attention, not just in case of the Nord Stream 2 project. This gives me the impression, that 2020 is not going to be easier, especially in the U.S., where many pipeline projects are still facing major public opposition, although fierce clashes like during the Dakota Access Pipeline construction are still unmatched, fortunately.
The Pipeline Technology Journal (ptj) will continue to report on these occurrences, although we will not limit our focus to the already known public battles between pipeliners and their opponents in the west. There are many more projects ongoing in the world with many hurdles to take, because the resistance against even the most necessary projects is increasingly strong, like it was the case in Massachusetts, with dramatic consequences.
Our industry must drastically increase its transparency to the general public, in order to avoid or at least decrease the resistance towards our projects. We have also to work on solutions for pressing issues, like the infamous pipeline tapping, which results in catastrophic loss of live on a regular basis.
It is a good sign that the Pipeline Technology Conference (ptc), Europe’s leading pipeline event and our official partner event, discusses such topics in more depth lately. Last year’s event proved, that there is a need to exchange information about this. Of course, the main focus of the events remains the same. Technical sessions with more than 100 presentations regarding the latest pipeline technology. But it is a positive development, that difficult sociocultural and political topics are becoming more important by the year.
After all, we cannot escape the gravity of our own significance. Pipelines are significant, whether they are producing a real incident or they are demonized by angry protesters. We must not ignore these issues, not in the U.S., nor in Europe or elsewhere. So stick with us at the ptc in Berlin and let us discuss the best ways to move forward.
> Admir Celovic, Director Publications, EITEP Institute