The Department of Transportation/Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently published advisory bulletin ADB-11-05 to advise owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines of the potential for damage to pipeline facility caused by the passage of hurricanes. Pipeline operators are urged to take the following actions to ensure pipeline safety:
- Identify persons who normally engage in shallow-water commercial fishing, shrimping, and other marine vessel operations and caution them that underwater offshore pipelines may be exposed or constitute a hazard to navigation. Marine vessels operating in water depths comparable to a vessel’s draft or when operating bottom dragging equipment can be damaged and their crews endangered by an encounter with an underwater pipeline.
- Identify and caution marine vessel operators in offshore shipping lanes and other offshore areas that deploying fishing nets or anchors and conducting dredging operations may damage underwater pipelines, their vessels, and endanger their crews.
- If operators should need to bring offshore and inland transmission facilities back online, check for structural damage to piping, valves, emergency shutdown systems, risers and supporting systems. Aerial inspections of pipeline routes should be conducted to check for leaks in the transmission systems. In areas where floating and jack-up rigs have moved and their path could have been over the pipelines, review possible routes and check for sub-sea pipeline damage where required.
- Operators should take action to minimize and mitigate damages caused by flooding to gas distribution systems including the prevention of overpressure of low pressure and high pressure distribution systems.
For a copy of ADB-11-05, contact Jessica Roger.