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Tom M. Brown: The winter PVF Roundtable meeting was another winner with well over 500 industry people in attendance. Joe Pro deserves congratulations for his leadership…while you, Steve, and your fellow Board members, deserve a “very well done.” There was real electricity in the air in Houston on Jan. 31.
Steve Letko: Tom, the winter meeting of The PVF Roundtable was held at the Marriott Westchase in Houston, Texas on Jan. 31. Registration began at 4:15 P.M.
There wasn’t a keynote speaker at this networking meeting, and the members preferred that for this occasion. I believe the attendees’ desire to interact in anticipation of activity generated by the policies of new administration is an indication that the industry is poised for a long-awaited renaissance.
Those in attendance reflected an upbeat attitude regarding improving business conditions as a result of the election outcome. Any improvement is welcomed as compared to 2016.
TMB: Steve, you recently attended a Power Generation industry convention. How would you characterize the business mood of the people in attendance? Are there significant new projects in the works for 2017?
SL: Tom, The POWERGEN Show 2016, held at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, turned out to be a very successful convention voicing a very upbeat theme in response to the election of Donald J. Trump.
The number of exhibitors was noticeably down from the Las Vegas 2015 Show. From my observation, it was down by about a third, reflecting the less-than-lackluster market in the Power Generation Industry due to the policies of the Obama administration, and repressive regulations issued by the EPA.
The exhibitors noticeably absent were smaller companies, offshore companies and vendors. Those attending proved to be quality exhibitors and the degree of networking was equally rewarding as all parties were anticipating an improving market environment under the new administration.
Those exhibiting, as well as suppliers attending, echoed a positive outlook for the ensuing year, and beyond, as they interpret Mr. Trump’s policies to be an incentive to move forward with projects that previously were being postponed or delayed for clarification of policy from the new administration.
TMB: Do you see any significant government regulations lifted from the power industry during 2017 that will cause growth, and therefore benefit our PVF industry?
SL: Paraphrasing Morris Beschloss in one of his latest blogs: The increasing, strangulating EPA’s restrictions impose on the industry unnecessary and prohibitive cost burdens for compliance.
Mr. Trump has indicated that he will reverse these unreasonable restrictions via executive orders to be issued immediately following inauguration.
Dominating the new projects for 2017 are the conversions of coal-fired plants to natural gas along with the replacement of aging coal-fired plants with new combined cycle natural gas plants.
TMB: In the December 2016 issue of “The Wholesaler,” Dr. Don McNeeley wrote, in my view, a very insightful analysis of the 2016 presidential election, and the corresponding polls. If you are a pollster, ignoring the masses is a prescription for failure. He finished by making the crucial point that America was “not discovered, it was built by the same masses!” Dr. McNeeley also indicates a large infrastructure investment in the U.S. is overdue and bodes well for the PVF industry in the near future.
SL: Dr. McNeeley’s outlook for infrastructure investment is consistent with what the new administration is advocating. I could not agree more with Dr. McNeeleyn’s position regarding large investments in infrastructure development, financed by federal, state and private funding, being a positive for the PVF Industry.
The pipeline industry, the power industry, road, bridge, rail and airport renovation and expansion will have a positive impact on the PVF markets that support the supply chain that services these segments of the economy.
The retrofit of aging pipelines and the demands for new pipelines to service the need to get natural gas and oil to the consuming markets will be one of the most prolific markets for the PVF industry as the investment in infrastructure gains momentum.
The momentum generated by the election of the new administration, along with Mr. Trumpn’s assurance that he will reverse restrictive regulations on the fracking industry, is already being reflected in the increase of activity in the Bakken, Marcellus and Utica shale plays.
New pipelines that are required to bring much needed gas to market and to service the new and retrofitted coal-to-gas power plants will be a significant market for the PVF sector.
TMB: Thanks Steve! That winds it up for February.