GPA Midstream Association has a long-storied history of service to the midstream industry beginning nearly 100 years ago. The association represents about 70 operating companies and, since its inception, has focused on industry technical and technological advancements. Over time, the organization has evolved to meet the needs of its members and the sector itself, including another major focus area of today which brings a unified voice to Washington policymakers and regulators. Together, with its partner organization GPSA Association, which represents more than 400 midstream suppliers, the two groups foster industry education and bring midstream communities together in a broad exchange of ideas and professional fellowship.
The GPA Midstream Association has been engaged in shaping the midstream sector of the U.S. energy industry since 1921: setting and adopting standards for natural gas liquids; developing simple and reproducible test methods to define the industry’s raw materials and products; managing a cooperative research program that is used worldwide; providing a voice for our industry on Capitol Hill; being the go-to resource for a multitude of technical reports and publications; and so much more. Our annual GPA Midstream Convention has become the meeting place for midstream professionals from around the globe.
Fact is, the last several years have hit the nation’s oil and gas economy particularly hard, and GPA Midstream is no stranger to representing what it calls “a tough, competitive business” during every cyclical turn. But the latest events between OPEC nations Russia and Saudi Arabia followed by the Coronavirus pandemic, have lowered a hammer no one saw coming. RMR sat down with Joel Moxley, President and CEO of GPA Midstream, to discuss the impact on the industry he loves.
RMR: What are the biggest concerns right now among your members?
JM: The safety of their employees and families. Midstream is a vital industry, so the work we do must go on, which potentially exposes midstream employees to COVID-19 as they work. Our companies have closed their offices and reduced numbers of people who gather at their facilities to maintain social distancing. But they’re also managing their businesses daily to adjust to commodity prices and volume impacts caused by this pandemic. They are managing today’s impacts while trying to discern how long this environment will last and what long-term changes will result. While no one knows for sure, our companies are thinking through potential scenarios and putting contingency plans in place.
RMR: How are you accommodating your member companies during these uncertain times that also include layoffs and business closures?
JM: Being involved with an industry association like GPA Midstream or GPSA can be even more valuable in times like these. We act as a resource to share information that might be missed due to workforce changes, whether that be changing rules or regulations or updates to technical standards that nearly all midstream companies use in their daily operations. Our focus every day is to bring value to our members.
RMR: How is the midstream industry playing a role to help in the current Coronavirus crisis?
JM: What most people don’t realize is that natural gas liquids are key components of numerous health care and hygiene products like face masks, face shields, and more, so we’re all stepping up to ensure that the midstream industry can continue to help meet these critical needs.
RMR: You had to cancel your annual convention that generally welcomes as many as 2,300 folks from the midstream industry. How are you encouraging networking in a time of social distancing: Remaining connected when we’re unable to physically gather is more important than ever. As we announced on March 23, we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual convention due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Fortunately, today’s technology and social platforms give us capabilities that we wouldn’t have had even a few years ago, so we’re using all of that to keep our committee members engaged and, at the same time, enable our previously scheduled convention speakers to share their valuable content and information via conference calls, video conferencing and webinars.
RMR: What challenges are you currently up against as an association and what opportunities do you see going forward in the midstream industry post-COVID-19?
JM: While I don’t know what new challenges this pandemic will bring to our industry, I feel certain we’ll see some structural changes of some kind. Prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the midstream and U.S. energy industry in general were working to address issues such as ESG reporting, the role of fossil fuels vs renewables, the Green New Deal and more. I’m sure all of these will be back soon. GPA Midstream’s staff is working with our leadership to develop positions on these important issues and how we can best get our messages out. The nation’s midstream industry is clearly doing its part to reduce GHG emissions, eliminate methane leaks, improve energy efficiencies, and provide safe, reliable services to our customers. We are a vital business that we should be proud to be a part of, and we need to get our story out effectively.
Headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., with a satellite office in Washington, D.C., a small staff supports both GPA Midstream and GPSA. The two organizations have a 90-year history of partnering to provide the best in industry training, education, research and best practices. Both associations look forward to celebrating GPA Midstream’s 100-year anniversary at the 2021 GPA Midstream Convention.
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