We sat down with Scott Vigil from Mulcare Pipeline Solutions to talk through some of the up-and-coming industry trends for natural gas manufacturers, system distributors, and customers.
The organization started in 1923, so we’ve been in the natural gas industry for many years primarily in the Northeastern U.S. The company has always looked for advanced technology in the space. The motto we strive for is that “whatever Mulcare represents is state-of-the-art, cutting edge, or next generation,” and we’re proud of that.
When YZ Systems first introduced their NJEX System to us in 1995, we were actually working with an older competitor. We could tell YZ’s new system was more innovative, clean, and efficient. It really had the “wow” factor and fit what we were looking for. At that time, it was truly the first system in the space that had impressed us with a new level of accuracy. The ability to more accurately monitor and control critical injection rates allows for fewer manual operating concerns than current equipment from competitors in the space.
With that, we recognized YZ NJEX was a natural fit with our offerings and became a part of our label.
Mulcare works closely with YZ Systems on service arrangements to help both customers and YZ Systems. With both our manufacturers and utility customers downsizing, headcount is being reduced and talent being shed. By installing and servicing YZ Systems equipment for the end users, we are helping them meet their downsizing goals while assuring the work complies with factory guidelines. Mulcare and YZ Systems also combine forces to incorporate maintenance parts and installation labor into new equipment purchases. This allows our customers to capitalize these costs that would otherwise appear in operating and maintenance budgets, both of which are shrinking. Our customers can rely on the support of a local distributor for yearly maintenance on location, discount parts, installation bundles, and fast service.
It’s an interesting story actually. A few years back they had someone working in technology and sales, Ed Flynn, who was completing critical projects for them. In fact, he did a big project for British Gas, implementing all of their odorization systems. Shortly after he wrapped up this project, our team started talking to YZ Systems about new service programs. As plans developed, Ed actually moved to the Mulcare team to help us put together our first service system for YZ System products. The combination of Ed’s installation/maintenance experience and our product selling experience made the partnership a perfect fit. This service system allowed us to launch a whole new division of our company, Pipeline Equipment Resources Company (PERC). Having someone with so many years of experience working with YZ Systems equipment and installations allowed us to offer an extremely high level of service for customers, particularly in the Northeast.
I feel that our emphasis on innovative equipment supports their team. We will always suggest the product we feel is the highest performing in the marketplace because natural gas is serious business. You can’t have equipment failure. There is a highly complimentary saying in the natural gas industry when referencing the choices our customers have when buying an odorizer, “You don’t get fired for buying an NJEX.”
We also offer solutions to other challenges their team may be facing. For example, we’ve started to provide portable odorization trailers and skids. This equipment can go to a new natural gas point-of-delivery site for customers who need temporary odorization to pickle their lines, but they don’t need to have a system at one location full time.
1. Growing High Volume Need
There is an increasing number of higher volume users requiring simple, accurate systems. With more pipeline point-of-delivery stations, increasing use of shale gas in the Northeast, and the exploration of new resources, the traditional pipeline is changing. The equipment needed to support this also needs to change, as users may need to increase volume by two or three times. YZ Systems has approached this with their new HVO (High Volume Odorization) system.
2. Commercial Industrial Odorization Requirements
It seems like there could be a shift coming in odorization measurement for utility companies and building owners. Right now, the utility companies are only responsible for ensuring a satisfactory level of odorization to the point of gas delivery to the commercial facility. However, there is something called “odor-fade”; this is when the level of odorant in gas rapidly decreases because the odorant gets stripped from the gas stream and adsorbed into the pipe wall. This causes safety concerns if it drops to a level where someone in a processing plant, stadium, or apartment building can’t smell the gas if it leaks.
There is an education gap between utilities and commercial building owners/managers. The commercial building managers do not fully understand the odor fade challenge and utility companies no longer have control on the odorant measurement process inside the commercial facilities. I think we will see a shift towards utility requirements and education practices to combat this.