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Points of view – Enhanced LDAR in Malaysia and a ceiling in Ontario, NY

Things are understood depending on whom, how and when they are viewed.  

Over the course of the last two months I’ve traveled to two very different places; Kuala Lumpur and the town of Ontario, NY.    The trip to Ontario was to engage in a week of fixing peoples’ homes with a group of 330 high school age kids attending a Reach Workcamp.  One job our group did was to remove an old sagging fiberboard tile ceiling and install new dry wall.  

None of us possessed the skills of a professional dry-wall hanger.  My point of view:  When the job was done it looked better than it was before, our group started the job as strangers and emerged as a functioning work unit by a sharing the experience of having tiles, dust and grit rain down on our dust mask covered faces, wrestling dry wall into place and receiving a crash course in mudding and taping joints.  An equally justified point of view from someone not part of the work experience would have been, “this ceiling looks like a bunch of kids did it!”   Asia was a bit different.  The World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur accepted two of Garlock’s papers for the Experts Showcase poster sessions.  The first was on optical monitoring of fugitive emissions from refinery valves and other equipment and the second was on the new EPA mandates regarding valve sealing, aka Enhanced LDAR (leak detection and repair).  Prior to presenting the papers, my point of view was, “why were these selected, these are USA centric subjects…now I have to write two papers!”  Keep in mind that the major focus of the conference was natural gas, pipelines, LNG transport/production, pipelines and, did I say, pipelines.  Not areas where LDAR is normally practiced.   At the conference my point of view changed and so did my understanding.  On optical monitoring one participant from a European country remarked that he had a gas compressor station in a highly populated area, an optical fenceline monitoring system with public web access would be perfect to safeguard the public and demonstrate that all was well at the station.  I didn’t see that one coming.  

During presentation of the second paper on the EPA requiring Enhanced LDAR, that is requirements beyond normal LDAR regulations, the listeners (all from Asia, Europe, Scandinavia) were very interested in what the USA was doing in comparison to their own country’s regulations. One gas company manager from Malaysia exclaimed that while most Asian countries rely on social corporate responsibility to safeguard the public and the environment they know that the regulatory practices of the USA will eventually affect the regulations in their home countries.   

Ontario, NY and Kuala Lumpur were very different places engaging me in very different activities, but they taught me the same thing: Understanding changes and grows depending on one’s point of view.