The 41st annual International Pipeline & Offshore Contractors Association Convention (IPLOCA) was held Oct. 1-5 in Sydney, Australia, at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel. The convention attracted approximately 500 attendees. 2006-07 IPLOCA president Andy Lukas, A.J. Lucas, Group Ltd. of Australia, served as an outstanding host.

As with every annual IPLOCA convention, the program included just the right mix of business and social events to provide for lasting business relationships and establishing and maintaining personal friendships. The state of the worldwide pipeline industry is quite good considering a demand for oil prompting desperation activity and distribution systems installation.

There were numerous guest speakers including Eric Dam, Gasunie, The Netherlands discussed, “The Natural Gas Roundabout for North Europe” and Rod Beeler, Caterpillar, presented “Sustainable Technology on Construction Equipment.” It seemed the growing concern was about water worldwide and there was a special presentation of Damian Gould, of the (Queensland Australia) Department of Infrastructure. Gould discussed “Queenslands Water Recycling Scheme.”

The BP award is presented every alternate year during the annual Convention to an IPLOCA member, associate member or academic member who has made a significant contribution to innovation in onshore cross-country pipeline construction. This year’s 2007 BP Technology Award joint winners were Marco Laurini of Laurini Officine Meccaniche and Jean-Claude van de Wiele of Spiecapag.

Social events included a trip to the Blue Mountains, a visit to an Australian sheep station, a tour of the encompassed Aboriginal Insights and Botanical Gardens. A social highlight was the Caterpillar evening, which was held in an erected tent in the Botanical Gardens overlooking Sydney’s Harbor. Mantrac — Unatrac provided fireworks afterward. It was an amazing site with the famous City Opera House in the background and the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

The final banquet saw Lukas handing over the presidential reigns to John Reed for 2007-2008. Reed is with Heerema Marine Contractors Nederland B.V. The 2008 IPLOCA convention with will be held Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in Crete, Greece.

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