The International Pipe Line & Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA) held its 45th annual convention Sept. 12-16 at the China World Hotel in Beijing. This was the first ever meeting of IPLOCA in China. The turnout was excellent with 630 delegates.

The agenda was jam-packed with board of director meetings, cultural tours, social events, business sessions and even golf and tennis tournaments.
IPLOCA president Karl Trauner, HABAU, Austria, chaired the annual general meeting. Trauner discussed that in the past year IPLOCA has added 11 contractor members and 12 new associate members bringing total membership to 126.

The awards program was extensive. The New Technologies Award winner was Laurini Officine Meccaniche — Italy in recognition of its pipeline seam alignment clamp. The Health and Safety Award went to SNC — Lavalin, Montreal for its safety training based on “pictograms” titled Focused Task Cards. A new award for 2011 was the Corporate Social Responsibility Award. The award was presented to GDK S.A. — Brazil. The award was based upon the company assisting a mentality handicapped facility in a small town near a pipeline project.

Attendees were given the opportunity to participate in a vast array of cultural tours. These included the Great Wall and Ming Tombs, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, exploring the Hutong and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. There were numerous corporate sponsors, highlighted by the CRC-Evans lunch on Thursday, Sept. 15; the annual Caterpillar evening on Thursday at Tuan Chong Fortress, which was followed by a massive fireworks display presented by Laurini; and the Spy Ladies Brunch and Fashion Show on Friday, Sept. 16.

Outside speakers included a fascinating “Energy Geopolitics” discussion by Prof. Michael Economides, University of Houston. He discussed that with all the emphasis being placed on renewable energy — namely wind and solar — fossil fuel, specifically oil and gas, is still the future. Appropriately, the vice president of China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau, Qingxun Chen, presented that by 2015 China will have installed 100,000 km of new pipeline.

The convention closed with its annual black tie dinner and banquet. An added feature that night was a raffle for a new Volvo convertible donated by Volvo and Renault Trucks. Osman Birgili, Tekfen Construction of Turkey, was introduced as the 2011-12 IPLOCA President. The 2012 convention to be held Sept. 10-14 in Istanbul, Turkey.

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