dot pipeline compliance news | february 2018

PHMSA Control Room Management FAQs

Updated 1/16/18

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) provides written clarification of the pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR Parts 190-199) in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs), and other guidance materials. PHMSA has updated the FAQs for Control Room Management in the areas of Roles and Responsibilities, Operating Experience, Training, and Compliance and Deviation. The FAQs can be found on PHMSA's website.

Meeting of the Voluntary Information-Sharing System Working Group

[Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0128]

PHMSA has announced a public meeting of the Voluntary Information-Sharing System (VIS) Working Group on February 28, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET at a location yet to be determined in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. The VIS Working Group agenda will include briefings on topics such as mandate requirements, integrity management, data types and tools, in-line inspection repair and other direct assessment methods, geographic information system implementation, subcommittee considerations, lessons learned, examples of existing information-sharing systems, safety management systems, and more. As part of its work, the committee will ultimately provide recommendations to the Secretary, as required and specifically outlined in Section 10 of Public Law 114-183, addressing:

  1. The need for, and the identification of, a system to ensure that dig verification data are shared with in-line inspection operators to the extent consistent with the need to maintain proprietary and security-sensitive data in a confidential manner to improve pipeline safety and inspection technology;
  2. Ways to encourage the exchange of pipeline inspection information and the development of advanced pipeline inspection technologies and enhanced risk analysis;
  3. Opportunities to share data, including dig verification data between operators of pipeline facilities and in-line inspector vendors to expand knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of in-line inspection technology and methodologies;
  4. Options to create a secure system that protects proprietary data while encouraging the exchange of pipeline inspection information and the development of advanced pipeline inspection technologies and enhanced risk analysis;
  5. Means and best practices for the protection of safety and security-sensitive information and proprietary information; and
  6. Regulatory, funding, and legal barriers to sharing the information described in paragraphs (a) through (d).

The Secretary will publish the VIS Working Group's recommendations on a publicly available DOT website and in the docket. The VIS Working Group will fulfill its purpose once its recommendations are published online.

The meeting location, agenda and any additional information will be published on the VIS Working Group and registration page. The meetings will not be webcast; however, presentations will be available on the meeting website and posted on the E-Gov website under docket number PHMSA-2016-0128 within 30 days following the meeting. Members of the public who wish to attend in person should register no later than February 23, 2018, and will have an opportunity to make a statement during the meetings.

For information about the meeting, contact Cheryl Whetsel by phone at 202-366-4431 or by email at

GPAC Teleconference Meeting

March 2, 2018

A public meeting of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, also known as the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) will be held on March 2, 2018 by teleconference from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. The GPAC will meet to continue discussing topics and provisions for the proposed rule titled "Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines." In particular, GPAC will discuss the following:

  • Strengthening IM Assessment Methods
  • Assessments outside of HCAs
  • Record Retention Requirements
  • Repair Criteria (inside and outside of HCAs)

To participate in the teleconference you will need to register in advance on the pipeline advisory committee meeting and registration page no later than February 15, 2018. PHMSA will post the final agenda, and any additional information on the pipeline advisory committee meeting and registration page about 15 days before the meeting takes place. Anyone wishing to make a statement on the topics discussed during the meeting should send an email to Each statement should not exceed two minutes.

Underground Gas Storage Compliance

How does RCP deliver a comprehensive solution for natural gas storage operational integrity assurance?

Experienced Resources

  • Highly respected underground storage & risk management SME's (the past Chair of PRCI’s and AGA’s underground storage committees is on our staff)
  • Professional engineering support
  • Written program development / improvement from knowledgeable technical standards developers (Our lead technical writer was the editor for the API RP1170 development team.)

State-Of-The-Art Tools (TaskOp™)

  • Program gap assessment and corrective action tracking
  • Storage risk assessment
  • Integrity assessment and remediation process tracking

For more information regarding our capabilities or to request an online demonstration of our TaskOp™ underground gas storage solution, contact Jessica Foley.

TRRC Adopts New "Call Before You Dig" Requirements

Before you pick up a shovel, remember to pick up your phone. The Railroad Commission of Texas (TRRC) damage prevention rules require anyone planning to dig deeper than 16 inches to call 811 before digging to prevent damage to underground pipelines. This call prompts pipeline operators to mark their underground natural gas or hazardous liquid pipelines.

House Bill 1818, the Commission's Sunset Bill passed by the 85th Legislature last year, gives TRRC authority over damage incidents on interstate pipelines that cross state boundaries. Previously, the Commission's damage prevention authority was limited to intrastate pipelines that begin and end in Texas.

Effective February 12, 2018, excavators are required to notify the pipeline operator by calling the 811 notification center as soon as possible about any damage incidents, but no later than one hour after an incident. Excavators will also be required to call 911 if any natural gas or other product is released when an underground pipeline is struck. The amendments extend the deadline for pipeline operators and excavators to file a damage report with the Commission from the current 10 days to 30 days.

More information on these new rule requirements can be found here, under "Chapter 18. Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention."

Excavation Job Planning – New Damage Prevention Toolbox Topic Now Available Online!

Excavation Job Planning is the latest toolbox topic to be added to the Excavation Damage Prevention Toolbox website at The website is free and the new toolbox topic, as well as others, such as Excavation Monitoring and Observation, ROW Patrol and Response, ROW Usage by Landowner, One-Call Notification Screening, Operator One-Call Ticket Management Systems, and many more topics are available for downloading. The latest topic on Excavation Job Planning contains items to consider when developing a job plan to excavate safely around underground facilities to help drive down first and second party damages. Ideas for additional topics can be submitted directly to

2018 Industry Conference Schedule

Have you registered and confirmed your reservations for these upcoming conferences? RCP will be attending the following conferences. We hope to see you there!

API Pipeline Conference and Cybernetics Symposium
April 24-26, 2018
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, St. Louis, MO

API’s Pipeline Conference is the premier event of its kind in the U.S. Held every year in April, the conference provides attendees with an opportunity to hear about the latest in pipeline-related developments. Once again, RCP is a proud sponsor of this event and we look forward to seeing you there.

AGA Ops Conference & Spring Committee Meetings
June 25-29, 2018
OMNI Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC

The annual AGA Operations Conference is the natural gas industry’s premier gathering of natural gas utility and transmission company operations management from across North America and the world for the sharing of technical knowledge, ideas, and practices to promote the safe, reliable, and cost-effective delivery of natural gas to the end-user. AGA Spring Committee Meetings (June 25-26), AGA's Operations Section Technical Committees will meet in conjunction with the Operations Conference, June 25-26.

If you plan on attending the AGA Ops Conference & Committee Meetings, make your hotel reservations now! The World Gas Conference will be held that same week in Washington, DC. AGA conference attendees will be able to visit the World Gas Conference (WGC) Exhibits. AGA we will be taking everyone over on Thursday (complimentary) and the WGC hall will be open Friday for attendees to visit after the Operations Conference ends at 10:30 a.m. If you are interested in going to the WGC exhibits, AGA members should contact Ysabel Suarez for special registration information.

World Gas Conference
June 25-29, 2018
Walter E. Washington Convention Centre, Washington, DC
RCP Exhibit Space #2207

The World Gas Conference is held every 3 years in the country holding the Presidency of the International Gas Union (IGU). For the first time in the 85 year history of IGU, the World Gas Conference will be held in a country that is both the world’s largest gas producing and consuming nation – the USA. Held in the nation's capital, Washington D.C., it is ideally positioned to bring together energy policy experts and industry leaders from around the world. To learn more about this event, click here. Online registration can be found at

RCP's 2018 Workshop Schedule

Date Event Location
June 5-7, 2018 DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop (details) Houston, TX Register
Sept 11-13, 2018 DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop (details) Houston, TX Register
Sept 19-20, 2018 Fundamentals of Transmission Pipeline Operations (details) Houston, TX Register

Visit our events page for more information.

Pressure Testing Webinar - Advantages of using TestOp®

RCP will be hosting webinar presentations to discuss pipeline pressure testing practices and demonstrate the advantages of utilizing new technology for planning, designing, and capturing real-time data to validate and document whether it was a successful test. The same technology that RCP has used for the past six years to validate our customer's pressure tests has been greatly enhanced and is now being made available as a web-hosted solution for operators to use themselves.

TestOp® takes the confusion out of pressure testing by providing real-time determination of whether the test segment is experiencing potential issues, such as yielding or air entrapment volume absorption, all while modeling the mass balance relationship of pressures, volumes and temperatures of the test. TestOp will provide real-time indicators and corresponding data to confirm whether the test is successfully performing to plan or if there might be a small pin-hole leak that would otherwise go undetected before taking the line segment off test. TestOp generates comprehensive and consistent reports, including a certification letter, pressure test plan versus actual test results, pressure/spike test log, test instrument and pump calibrations, pipe volume calculations sheet, stress/strain and pressure/volume plots as well as upload capability for pictures and other document scans associated with the test.

We encourage any liquid or gas pipeline operator who has upcoming projects that involve replacement, integrity verification, new construction, uprates, conversions and/or reversals to sign up for the 45 minute webinar. Some of the largest and most respected pipeline operators are now using TestOp because they see the value it brings to their overall pipeline integrity assurance program and we are confident you will too once you have seen it in person.

Mark your calendar and plan to attend one of these sessions or request an individual demonstration for your company at a date convenient to you.

  • February 27, 2018 (Tuesday) at 2 p.m. CDT
  • March 27, 2018 (Tuesday) at 2 p.m. CDT

Click here to register.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our services with you.


W. R. (Bill) Byrd, PE
RCP Inc.

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