Collaborating Across Industry on Energy's Future feat. Jim Schauer
Our eighth guest on the 4M Utility Strategy Podcast is one of the friendliest guys in the industry: Jim Schauer!
Jim "Jimmy" Schauer is Vice President, EAM Services at Energy Worldnet, Inc, the global, cloud-based industry platform leader in OQ, compliance management, asset management, training, and education services. Jimmy’s 20 years of experience in the O&G industry include acting as CEO/Managing Director of a leading LNG energy company, leading intrastate pipeline development in the Gulf Coast, leading unregulated marketing natural gas sales teams in the USA, and spending nearly 13 years in regulated natural gas utilities. Jim also talks everything energy as the co-host of the Coffee with Jim and James podcast.
We talked to Jim about how the energy industry has changed over the past 20 years, and how new technologies are improving the way we collaborate, plan, and build. From utility mapping and strategic planning, to equipment asset management and personal safety, his message was clear: it's about coming together, establishing shared priorities, and using the right tools to make the best long-term business case for our infrastructure projects.
Utility information must be accessible and usable to have an impact.
It’s not just about documenting the utilities: it's also about making the information accessible and usable once it's been collected.
You could spend years trying to find all the utility records for your site (between public archives, utility companies, previous contractors and project owners), and then piecing together a composite plan from different paper and digital documents and trying to verify it on-site through utility locating. And even when the information exists, it isn’t always shared until a few days before you need to break ground.
That's not a viable system for dealing with utility information, particularly the subsurface facilities that we can't see. We have the technology to deal with this problem: we just need to use it!
Get the full picture upfront to maximize your ROI when you're on site.
Advance planning is necessary to understand not only land acquisition and right of ways, but possible utility conflicts as well. If, in our industry, we're going down a path and we encounter an unknown pipeline—that's a problem, folks! Not just for safety, but also for ROI. If a conflict can stop the project or delay it for weeks while it is resolved, the ticker keeps going, and that's when project managers start pulling their hair out, saying, "We're paying five crews X amount of money to sit around. We need to get this resolved. We should've seen it two months ago or eight months ago." Being diligent helps everybody in the process up to the point that the people and equipment actually get on site and start digging.
Organizations carry on and expand their knowledge by embracing new technologies.
Thirty years ago, paper maps were the standard, and the person that made the paper map knew exactly where they had installed the utilities. But now that person is retired, and when somebody else looks at their map, they might say, "What did they mean by that? I'm not sure, but it's probably not important." We want to make sure that we carry on the knowledge set, and that when we capture electronically, we're gathering information to continue growing that knowledge and improve our processes. It just takes organizations embracing the right new technologies for the industry.
Co-hosts: David Horesh (Director of Marketing) and Ophir Wainer (Director of North American Business Development)
And stay tuned! On our next utility strategy podcast, we're hosting Neil Brammall!