Testimony of Pipeline Expert Witness, David Howell
One way or another, I have been in the oilfield most all of my life. You have to be fairly nimble to really have fifty years experience. That is, you have to learn to do a lot of things and know most of the disciplines of the petroleum industry.
I started out as a roughneck working on drilling rigs in south Texas and that led me to: trading in drilling and production equipment, publishing oil field technical information and directories, drilling and working over oil and gas wells, building drilling rigs and components, contracting to drill oil and gas wells, selling well services, being a chief executive of a large petroleum industry supply company, and developing a diversified chemical business for the offshore drilling and production business. I have worked all over the world in one of these capacities or another over the past five decades. I have been managing partner of Pipeline Equities in Houston for the past twenty one years.
For the last twenty five years, I have been involved in the pipeline industry in North America and I have had experience in every oil producing state in the U.S. During this time I have bought and sold crude, gas, and product pipelines for my account and as an agent for others. In this capacity, I have dealt with almost every major pipeline operator in the country.
I have been a pipeline operator: operating pipelines and gathering systems for my own account.
I currently am a pipeline appraiser. In that position, I value pipelines whether active or inactive, idled or abandoned, crude, gas transmission, main, trunk, gathering, or local distribution company (LDC). We perform this task to determine value for taxing authorities, merger or acquisition companies, dissolution of partnerships including marriages, and establishing values for loan applicants ant lending institutions.
Asbestos on the Pipelines
I have been a salvage operator when dealing with abandoned pipelines and have removed more than six million feet of pipeline throughout North America. Many of these lines had asbestos embedded in the coating material of the pipe. The amount of asbestos varied from five to twenty five percent of the coated material.
I am familiar with state and federal rules, regulations and directives regarding the care and handling of asbestos material on pipelines and its removal, transport, extraction and disposal of the material from these pipelines.
As a designated Senior Right of Way Agent (SRWA) with the International Right of Way Association, I am familiar with rules of conduct and ethics of right of way behavior by any and all parties working on an easement dedicated to an oil, gas, or product pipeline.
In the course of becoming a SRWA, I was educated by the association with formal courses such as “Skills of Expert Testimony”, “Legal Aspects of Easements”, “Easement Valuation”, “Understanding Environmental Contamination in Real Estate”, “Project Development and the Environmental Process” and many other seminars and workshops related to easements, landowner negotiation, and environmental concerns or laying, maintaining, repairing, removing, and abandoning pipelines.
I am an active member of the Houston Pipeliners Association.
Working with Landowners
Perhaps the greatest skill I have is that of negotiating with landowners or leaseholders on property where we have owned easements and pipelines. We have found that if the landowners are not happy, no one is happy.
Although, I have learned many of these skills through taking courses in adult education courses, I think the on the job training over the past fifty years of interacting with landowners to obtain drilling rights or easements has served me best. In addition, I have worked as a facilitator in political functions, church gatherings and small groups on hundreds of occasions. Formal education came from Texas A & M, Kingsville where I was a history and journalism major with a minor in political science. I have recently been accepted into graduate school at Houston Baptist University.
Author & Publisher
In the past I have been characterized as analytical, competitive, cooperative, organized, punctual and articulate. My method of discussion is often anecdotal. I enjoy telling a story to indicate a point or emphasis.
An expert witness is defined as one “having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience”, “one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject”. I understand a given court will actually make that determination.
Where I am not an engineer or a surveyor or an environmentalist, I have been an overseer of many of these specialists over the years I have been active in the pipeline business.