James E. Nelson
UTSI International Corporation is a systems engineering, integration and consulting firm specializing in automated system design, implementation, and project engineering services primarily to the pipeline industry. Our company headquarters is in Friendswood, TX (Houston area) and we have an office in Madrid, Spain. The company maintains three (3) principal areas of expertise focused on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, real-time modeling/leak detection technology, and regulatory compliance audits as applied to the oil and gas pipeline industry. Since its inception in March 1985, UTSI has been responsible for the design and implementation of sophisticated telecommunication and control systems for many of the world’s largest energy and transmission logistics corporations.
UTSI has an extensive client list that includes the following utility and pipeline companies: Shell Pipeline, Chevron Pipeline, Alyeska Pipeline, Koch Industries, Enterprise Products, Enbridge Pipelines, Kinder Morgan, Atlanta Gas, Magellan Midstream Partners, Northern Natural Gas, Gas Natural SDG (Spain), Enagas (Spain), Korea Gas Corporation (Korea) and Plains All American. In addition, UTSI International has provided technically focused consulting services to numerous companies that are not pipeline or utility operating companies including: American Petroleum Institute, ABB industrial Systems, Computational Geosciences, New York City Transit Authority, Hyundai Heavy Industries (Korea), Danielson, Harrigan, and Tollefson, LLP, US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), and City of Tallahassee, Florida.
UTSI has developed very strong long-term relationships with many of our customers as a result of our commitment to provide high quality consulting services, support, and personal contact with senior management whenever desired. UTSI’s philosophy to maintain a continuous focus on the needs and strategic goals of its customers makes us a valuable resource, whether it be for providing an independent opinion on some issue, or executing a complete turnkey system implementation project. At UTSI, customer satisfaction is our top priority.
Development of systems and software in high technology areas requires that one fully understand the risks and the benefits of choosing a given technique over another to satisfy a particular set of requirements, and we understand there are many ways to solve most industrial automation problems. UTSI approaches this task by working closely with our customers to identify their specific needs and objectives so that a clear path to the best solution can be determined.
UTSI’s engineering staff knows that even though many projects share similarities with others, each project is unique and warrants careful analysis. Therefore, our engineers work closely with the customer to identify his unique business needs during the initial stages of a project. We then work to define solutions, which satisfy those needs by taking advantage of existing technology while also minimizing risk.
UTSI is dedicated to providing the highest quality consulting, integration and support services available from any source. Our commitment to our customers is to provide this service in a professional and cost effective manner, and to establish the long-term relationships that allow their continuing needs to be met.
Potential Conflicts of Interest
For 30 years UTSI has worked almost exclusively within the pipeline industry. While some level of consulting was provided to entities that were not operating pipeline organizations, by far the preponderance of our pipeline consulting experience during this period was contracted by, and conducted directly for, pipeline operating companies. Although this point is indisputable, it must be stated that UTSI considers itself an independent provider of technical expertise in the areas set forth in the paragraphs above. A fundamental axiom of our company philosophy is that all of this technical expertise and advice is directed to the improvement of processes, safety and/or reliability associated with operational pipelines.
We believe that our expert advice is based on sound scientific and engineering principles, which can stand on its own merit. There have been incidents where our opinion and advice were not necessarily in the self-perceived best interests of the company we are advising, but we have always taken the position that such opinions and advice have merit and are beyond any personal or company political agendas. Frankly, if it can be assumed that any group’s agenda is towards truly increasing the safe operation of pipelines, as set forth in the Pipeline Safety Trust’s mission statement, it is difficult to conceive that the entity’s agenda is not aligned with that of the pipeline industry in the long run. Pipeline safety, is pipeline safety, regardless of from which direction it is approached.
The primary conflict of interest that we feel could exist involves some specific past confidential work that UTSI may have performed with some of these operating pipeline companies. In most of such cases, we have signed non-disclosure agreements with these companies and feel that we must honor these agreements from both a moral as well as a legal perspective.
If asked to provide our consulting services to an entity that is not aligned with the energy pipeline industry’s interests, we would first check to ensure that we could maintain full compliance with any such non-disclosure agreements prior to acceptance of any consulting engagement. Other than that point, UTSI maintains complete autonomy in its technical expert opinions and advice.