GPA presents top midstream industry honors: Hanlon, Katz Awards

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (April 13, 2015) - The Gas Processors Association (GPA) presented its two most prestigious midstream industry honors, the Hanlon Award and the Donald L. Katz Award, today before more than 1,000 midstream industry professionals during the general session of the 94th annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The association honored retired industry executive John Ehlers with its highest honor, the Hanlon Award. The award is named after the late E.I. Hanlon, a pioneer of the early gas processing industry, and its purpose is to recognize outstanding individual career achievements and/or contributions toward the advancement of the midstream industry.

Ehlers retired in 1997 as president of Valero Hydrocarbons, culminating a long career that touched just about every aspect of the energy industry. He worked as a jug hustler, roughneck and roustabout, even before getting his bachelor’s in petroleum and natural gas engineering in 1958, from then Texas A&I. He later earned a master’s in business administration from Texas Christian University.

Ehlers was instrumental in introducing benchmarking, training, optimization, contract provisions and marketing strategies, things that were helping shape and progress other industries at the time, but were not yet the norm for the energy sector. Some of his other industry-pioneering efforts included commodity hedging, introducing the “economic out” contract clause in processing agreements, and eliminating “lost and unaccounted for” provisions in natural gas liquids (NGL) transportation contracts.

He was involved in the development of a real time mass flow measurement system that allowed for component balancing for settlement purposes, instigated the concept of "BTU substitution," and led the revitalization of efficient NGL plant operations.

GPA also honored Dr. Ralph Weiland as the 29th recipient of the prestigious Donald L. Katz Award. The award, initiated in 1985, recognizes outstanding accomplishments in midstream research and technology.

Weiland, president of Optimized Gas Treating Inc. (OGT), is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Toronto, where he received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. He was a post-doctoral fellow in applied mathematics at the University of Western Australia for two years.

Weiland began working in the field of gas treating in 1965 and has been active in basic and applied research ever since. He taught chemical engineering for 30 years at universities in Canada, Australia and the United States and directed graduate research in gas treating.

In 1984, Weiland became a partner in Taylor, Weiland and Associates Inc. During his tenure as the group’s president, Weiland broadened his contacts with the oil, gas, chemicals, engineering and construction industries. The company's assets were sold to ChemShare Corp. in 1991.

Weiland then partnered with Jack Dingman to form OGT to provide a commercial version of a software package for simulating acid gas removal specifically with aqueous alkanolamines. The company’s software uses a fundamental mass and heat transfer rate approach to column modeling and is gradually being expanded to include physical and hybrid solvents, as well as dehydration and sour water stripping.

Weiland has presented more than 130 papers to technical conferences and featured lectures; published 155 papers, articles and other materials in technical journals; and contributed to numerous books in his field of expertise.

Neither the Hanlon nor Katz award is presented every year but only when deemed appropriate by GPA's awards selection committee, placing both awards among the industry's top honors.