Operations Discussion Groups


Operations Discussion Groups

AGA's Operations Discussion Groups allow member companies to come together to address operational challenges they face. The discussion groups are virtual roundtables where members can hear presentations and exchange information, ideas, and practices. Each discussion group meets by webinar or conference call on a quarterly basis with sessions lasting between 45 and 90 minutes.

The discussion groups are different from our traditional technical committees in several ways:

  • No face-to-face meetings
  • No summaries or formal agendas provided
  • No projects
  • Discussion groups can change each year based upon member interest

The benefits include:

  • Continual networking with other utilities that share a particular interest in a given area
  • Scheduled forums for members to freely exchange experiences and information with other utilities
  • Allows companies to select multiple representatives for a particular topic
  • Minimal time commitment and no travel

Below is contact information for the AGA Staff Executive in charge of each group. Access to the specific discussion group sites is limited to members of the group. To be added to a group, please contact AGA staff executive listed below. Companies may have multiple representatives in each group.

Compressor Operations - The Discussion Group will focus on the operations, integrity management and leading maintenance practices found within compressor station operations. The group will hear presentations on methods companies are using to reduce methane emissions at compressor stations as well as innovative solutions for capturing blowdown gas. Contact Erin Kurilla, ekurilla@aga.org

Damage Prevention - Will feature presentations and discussions on all issues associated with 3rd Party Damage Prevention activities at utilities. This includes marking & locating of facilities, One Call programs, working with contract excavators to protect facilities, educational programs, and damage claims. The group will focus on exchanging information and practices which are being implemented to reduce 3rd party excavation damages. Contact Andrew Lu, alu@aga.org

GPS/GIS & Work Management Systems - Will focus on how utilities are using GPS and GIS technology to map their pipeline system and facilitate the assignment of work to employees. Participants will also hear how companies are using these technologies to improve compliance and efficiency in gas operations. Contact Junaid Faruq, jfaruq@aga.org

Management of Company Standards - Will share practices on how to assure that up-to-date versions of standards, work procedures and emergency plans are available and accessible for users. This will include processes for updating electronic and manual documents with changes effectively communicated to employees and contractors. Contact Mike Bellman, mbellman@aga.org   

Pipeline Expansion Discussion Group (new in 2015) - Will feature presentations and discussions on all topics associated with the variety of ways member companies are addressing unserved areas and new franchise territories through innovations in pipeline design, installation and associated process management. Member companies will exchange information on strategic issues such as integration of marketing efforts and new construction project management efforts, as well as tactical ones such as cost recovery mechanisms in instances where customers are added as a result of main extensions. Contact Vanessa George, vgeorge@aga.org

Pipeline Safety, Compliance, Oversight - This discussion group will focus on operator compliance, oversight and audit experiences from three different perspectives; Engineering compliance, Operations compliance, and Audits. The group will also share audit experiences with regulators, how operators implemented changes to company procedures from state and federal regulator feedback, and questions raised during audits that could be important for future audits and other operators. Contact Betsy Tansey, btansey@aga.org 

Pipeline Safety Management System Management Discussion Group (new in 2015) - The Pipeline Safety Management System (PSMS) Recommended Practice (RP) is expected to be finalized and released in early 2015. This discussion group will focus on this new RP including an explanation of how a pipeline safety management system compares to other management systems, the elements included in the RP, handling other gas company existing programs and practices, and AGA members’ plans for implementation. Contact Kate Miller, kmiller@aga.org

Quality Management Task Group - This group will focus on quality management as it applies to placing pipe in the ground and will function over a two year period. Most meetings will be held via conference call. The task group will be narrowly focused on developing two white papers on quality management principles applied to construction contract work and quality management principles integrated into gas operations. A workshop will be held to present the results of their work through a presentation. Unlike the discussion groups, this task group will be open to associate members. Contact Andrew Lu, alu@aga.org

Transmission Integrity Management Program (TIMP) Risk Models - The Discussion Group will feature presentations and discussions about the advancements companies are making to their integrity management models in an environment of increased regulatory scrutiny. Companies will share their experiences with implementing models that address interacting threats, system wide risks and potential threats to pipelines. Contact Erin Kurilla, ekurilla@aga.org