A large, U.S. midstream energy company announced in June 2018 that it would build a pipeline to carry natural gas from the Permian Basin in West Texas to the Gulf Coast, spanning more than 430 miles, with a portion of the through the Texas Hill Country, home to ranches and vacation homes complete with scenic landscapes, outdoor adventure opportunities, wineries, historic sites and waterways. By all accounts, it was a challenging environment in which to build.
The pipeline company engaged Summit right from the start. Among the critical steps to a successful project were:
- Briefing local law enforcement and emergency response agents in advance.
- Traveling the line and working in close concert with the client to identify potential issues and plan accordingly.
- Training construction crews to recognize potential protests and avoid engagement.
- Monitoring and identifying opposition group strategies and tactics.
Uniformed police officers provided security from the start. They helped deliver a secure environment around planning events, like townhall meetings to brief local residents, and were on site at critical junctures along the route over the two years the project was in development.
By having Summit’s experts anticipate and plan around protests, the developer was able to avoid unscheduled delays. Off-duty officers summoned additional security on a moment’s notice, as needed, and no injuries ever occurred because of protestors coming on to a work site. The visible, professional security presence deterred interference with the construction workers. There were no heated engagements with potential for media attention to draw attention to potentially false claims.
Keeping conflict at bay helped get the project completed. Creating access for Permian natural gas producers to the Gulf Coast industrial and export markets helps get natural gas from the ground to places where it can be used to benefit consumers and the economy.