DOT Pipeline Compliance News

April 2006 Issue

In This Issue

Public Awareness Workshop: ** Attention **

All pre-workshop surveys for attendees are due by Monday, May 8th.We have added additional speakers to the roster.
Andrew Cober – Market Strategies
Tom Calabro – TFCC
Jack Garret – Dig Tess *New
John Funderburk – Paragidm
Hal Bentley – Celeritas *New
Susan Waller – RCP
This public awareness workshop is packed with good information and we look forward to seeing all of you there!

How to Measure Your Program’s Effectiveness

PHMSA has this to say about API RP 1162: “Of significance is the requirement that operators must review their [public awareness] programs for effectiveness and enhance the programs as necessary.”

How will you measure the effectiveness of your public awareness program?

Ask any three operators how to evaluate the public’s “understanding” of pipeline issues, and you’ll receive at least three different answers. Measuring understanding and developing benchmarks are challenges operators face in meeting the requirement to determine the effectiveness of their public awareness programs. Yet in order to comply with API RP 1162, every operator must implement some type of methodology to benchmark the program and begin measuring understanding.

Now you have the chance to cut through the confusion and the
buzzwords at an important one-day seminar that brings together
experts in the field of measurement effectiveness.

– Is your message understood?
– Does your message motivate stakeholders to respond in alignment with the information?

Because your company MUST answer these questions and more to be in compliance with the federal requirements, RCP will bring together experts in the field of measurement effectiveness for a seminar on May 9aimed at de-mystifying the process of meeting the evaluation requirement of API RP 1162.

What: Public Awareness Workshop — How to Measure Your Program’s Effectiveness
When: May 9, 2006
Where: Houston, Texas
Link: Registration

Why Attend:
This unique experience focuses on the current topics in the field of measuring effectiveness. Come to Houston and receive:
– Results-Oriented Solutions
– Practical Benchmarking Tools
– New Insights into Best Measurement Practices
– Return on Investment Industry-Relevant Methodologies

Who Should Attend:
Operators of transmission, gathering and local distribution companies, public awareness communicators, engineers, safety personnel, public relations staff, and anyone involved in public awareness compliance activities.

What You Will Learn:
– Learn multiple approaches to measuring effectiveness.
– Analyze the validity of measurement techniques.
– Separate fact from fiction.
– Unlock the secrets of measuring the “unmeasurable.”

Who Are the Speakers?
Market Strategies, Inc. (MSI) specializes in providing research and consulting services that address RP 1162. Andrew Cober will discuss:
– The science of measuring effectiveness
– How to address the research needs surrounding RP 1162
– Different research methodologies
Andrew brings hands-on experience in designing operator’s surveys that provide a benchmark for measurable results over time.

Paradigm is a leader in Community Awareness direct mail programs and in identifying the stakeholders along an operator’s right-of-way. Paradigm’s John Funderburk will:
– provide an overview of identifying stakeholder audiences
– explain resources for contacting those stakeholders
– list the challenges in reaching stakeholder audiences
– offer geo-coding techniques that allow operators to communicate with targeted audiences

Twenty First Century Communications (TFCC) specializes in conducting telephonic surveys that can assist operators in surveying stakeholders for the effectiveness of their public awareness material. Tom Calabro, Senior Vice President of Twenty First Century’s International Services will provide an overview of TFCC’s capabilities and solutions that can help operators determine their program’s effectiveness. TFCC also performs outbound telephone notifications that increase the effectiveness of direct mail programs.

Regulatory Compliance Partners (RCP) provides operators assistance as they plan and execute their public awareness programs ensuring that operators comply with RP 1162. Susan Waller, one of the original contributors to RP 1162, will provide a brief overview of RP 1162 and the implications of “continual program improvement.” She will also share operators’ leading practices and methods to continually improve public awareness programs.

Register Now

Need to make sure your Public Awareness Program meets API RP 1162 standards?

RCP can conduct a gap analysis of your current program that includes a self assessment of your Public Awareness Programs. This final product will help you to meet API RP 1162 standards. We can provide turnkey implementation, mail-outs, evaluations, and tracking of your program.

Gas Gathering Workshop

On March 15, 2006, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published its final rule on the definition of gas gathering lines. This rule completely changes the previous regulations for gas gathering. Pipelines that were previously considered to be regulated gas gathering may now be exempt. Likewise, other pipelines that were previously considered to be exempt gas gathering will now be regulated.

The new definition depends largely on API RP 80 to define the lines that are “gas gathering,” with a few modifications. For those lines that are regulated, there will be two levels of compliance requirements. Confused? You are not alone. Join us in Houston as we delve into the details of the new regulations.

What: Gas Gathering Jurisdiction Workshop
When: May 10, 2006
Where: Houston, Texas
Link: Registration

Why Attend
We’ll cover the following topics:

  • How does RP 80 distinguish Production from Gathering?
  • How does RP 80 distinguish Gathering from Transmission?
  • What are the criteria for determining regulated onshore gathering lines?
  • What are the compliance requirements and deadlines for regulated onshore gathering lines?
  • How should operators proceed under these new regulations?

The presentation will include specific examples and case studies, and will include time for questions and answers.

Bill Byrd of RCP, Inc., is a nationally recognized pipeline safety expert and experienced workshop leader. He has conducted dozens of pipeline jurisdictional determinations that consider the intricacies of federal and state pipeline safety regulations in complex operating environments.

Register Now!

Final Rule on Gas Gathering Definition

Docket PHMSA-1998-4868

In a rulemaking that would make The Little Engine That Could proud, on March 15, 2006, PHMSA published its final rule on the definition of gas gathering lines. (The definition of gathering lines has been at issue since 1974.) This rule depends largely on API RP 80 to define the lines that are “gas gathering” with a few modifications. Of these lines, some are classified as “regulated onshore gathering” of either Type A or Type B.

The type is determined by population density around each pipeline and its operating pressure/stress level. Type A regulated onshore gathering lines are metal lines with a hoop stress of 20% SMYS or more, or non-metallic lines with an MAOP of more than 125 psi, in class 2, 3, or 4 areas. Type B lines are lines operating at lower pressures/stress levels than Type A lines in class 2, 3, or 4 areas. In addition, Type B lines in class 2 areas can be identified by one of 3 methods: the entire Class 2 area, oran area with more than 10 and fewer than 46 dwellings in a 1-mile-long rectangle extending 150’ on each side of the pipeline (“skinny class 2”), oran area with 5 or more dwellings in a 1,000-foot-long rectangle extending 150’ on each side of the pipeline (“skinny – short class 1 ½”)The amount of pipe that is regulated using methods 2 or 3 above can be reduced by truncating the area beyond 150’ from the last dwelling or cluster that causes the pipe to be jurisdictional. Note that no gathering lines in class 1 areas would be considered regulated onshore gathering, regardless of stress level or pressure. The old guidelines about residential and commercial areas, city limits, and so on, will no longer be used to identify jurisdictional gathering.

Type A regulated onshore gathering lines are required to comply with the transmission pipeline regulations, except for the requirements for making a line smart-piggable and for Pipeline Integrity Management. In addition, Type A lines in class 2 areas can meet their Operator Qualification obligations simply by describing their qualification process.

Type B lines are required to meet certain requirements for corrosion control, damage prevention, public education, line marking, and establishing the MAOP of the line. Any new, replaced, relocated, or otherwise changed lines will need to comply with current design, installation, construction, initial inspection and initial testing requirements.

The final rule takes effect April 14, 2006. Compliance dates for both Type A and B lines vary by topic and range from 10/15/2007 to 4/15/2009.

What does this mean? Operators of gas gathering pipelines will need to perform the following activities in response to this rule:

– Identify the pipelines meeting the current definition of “gas gathering.”
– Determine the operating stress level of metallic gas gathering lines and the maximum operating pressure of non-metallic lines.
– Conduct class location studies in order to determine the lines that are Type A and B regulated onshore gathering.
– Develop and implement compliance programs for all lines by the applicable deadlines.

Shameless commerce note: RCP has extensive experience with all of these activities, and we would be glad to assist your company as appropriate. We recommend that you start work quickly, as some of these activities can be time-consuming.

Contact Jessica Roger for additional information. You may also want to attend our special workshop on this topic on May 10, 2006 in Houston. (See the article above for details.)

Will your SPCC Plan pass an EPA inspection based on the new SPCC Inspectors’ Guidance document?

RCP can conduct a gap analysis of your current SPCC Plan and provide updates and recommendations based on the new SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors that was published Dec. 2, 2005. The new guidance document includes more detail than is in many of the plans in use today.

Texas Damage Prevention

On March 28, the Texas Railroad Commission held its first information-gathering meeting to prepare for developing new damage prevention regulations for pipelines in Texas. The informal meeting was used to explain the recent legislation in Texas that provides for new TRRC regulations and to gather suggestions from the audience about potential regulatory issues that should be addressed. An official docket has not yet been established for this issue, but will be by the time a proposed rulemaking is developed. For now, suggestions and comments can be sent directly to Mary McDaniel, Pipeline Safety Director at the TRRC, for her consideration in developing a proposed rule. The next meeting will be at the William B. Travis Bldg. – Room 1-100 in Austin, Texas, on May 23.

Integrity Management Services

RCP can assist pipeline operators with ongoing compliance management and engineering associated with your IMP. This includes direct assessment strategies, tool and vendor selection, ILI/ECDA report analysis, corrosion control programs, repair strategies, and IMP/risk model updates. For more information on how RCP can support your ongoing IMP needs.

MAOP Meeting

PHMSA held a public meeting on Reconsideration of Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure for Class Locations on March 21, 2006. The current gas pipeline regulations contain design factors that are used to determine the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) of each pipeline segment. These design factors vary with the Class Location of the pipeline, which is determined by the population around the pipeline. The highest design factor currently allowed by the PHMSA regulations is 0.72 (except for a few grandfathered pipelines). Other nations allow pipeline operators to use design factors up to 0.80, with good operating experience.

The Office of Pipeline Safety is willing to consider granting waivers to allow pipeline operators in the U.S. to use higher safety factors, as long as certain design and testing criteria are met. This will allow pipeline operators to move more gas through existing pipelines, and to design future pipelines more cost-effectively. The presentations at the meeting covered the following topics:

  • The economics of increasing design factors are favorable.
  • Some pipelines already operate at higher design factors without any additional problems.
  • Pipeline risk is influenced by many variables, not just the design factor.
  • Modern design, construction, and inspection techniques can effectively offset the risk of a higher design factor.

OPS intends to evaluate each request to operate with a higher design factor on its own merits, and does not intend to issue blanket criteria that will apply to all pipelines. Each operator will be required to conduct detailed engineering evaluations of each affected pipeline segment to justify the use of a higher design factor.

O & M Manual Up-To-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive procedures that you need to protect your people, facilities, and environment.

Colorado Gas Pipeline Regulations – Re-codification

The State of Colorado Public Utilities Commission has recently re-codified (and slightly modified) its regulations for gas pipelines, effective April 1, 2006. These regulations can be found at:

The rules now include a definition of “production facility” and specifically allow for the conversion of service of non-metallic pipe. The PUC regulations incorporate the Oct. 1, 2004, version of the OPS regulations found in 49 CFR Part 192, and specifically do not incorporate any subsequent revisions. The PUC plans to update its regulations to incorporate the most recent version of the federal regulations later this year. Until then, any problems caused by discrepancies between the Oct. 1, 2004, edition of the federal rules and the most recent edition should be discussed individually with the PUC.

Need to Update your Response Plan (FRP, ICP or OSRP)?

We have the expertise to update your Facility Response Plan, Integrated Contingency Plan, or Oil Spill Response Plan to include new guidance and lessons learned from recent incidents and natural disasters.

Wetlands: Proposed Compensatory Mitigation Regulations

On March 27, 2006, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced proposed revisions to regulations governing compensatory mitigation for authorized impacts to wetlands, streams, and other waters of the U.S. under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

The proposed regulations are intended to establish performance standards and criteria for the use of permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation and mitigation banks, and to improve the quality and success of compensatory mitigation projects for activities authorized by Department of the Army permits. The proposed regulations are also intended to account for regional variations in aquatic resource types, functions, and values, and apply equivalent standards to each type of compensatory mitigation to the maximum extent practicable.

The proposed rule includes a watershed approach to improve the quality and success of compensatory mitigation projects in replacing losses of aquatic resource functions, services, and values resulting from activities authorized by Department of the Army permits. They are also proposing to require in-lieu fee programs, after a five-year transition period, to meet the same standards as mitigation banks. These revisions are also designed to complement EPA’s and the Corps’ ongoing efforts to implement the 2002 National Wetlands Mitigation Action Plan. New requirements for compensation sites include:

1) more research required for compensation sites in assessing watershed needs and how specific wetland restoration and protection projects can best address those needs
2) measurable and enforceable ecological performance standards for all types of compensation so that project success can be evaluated
3) regular monitoring to document that compensation sites achieve ecological performance standards
3) specific components of a complete compensation plan based on the principles of aquatic ecosystem science
4) the use of science-based assessment procedures to evaluate the extent of potential water resource impacts and the success of compensation measures

The net result will be more research, more monitoring, and more expense for potential impacts from pipeline construction and repair projects within wetland areas, streams, and other waters of the U.S. However, the clarification of the provisions concerning mitigation banking should make banking a more viable option in many regions where this is available.

RCP can assist you with interpreting the proposed Rule and with your specific application. For assistance with your SPCC plan revisions, contact Jessica

National Emission Standards for Gasoline Distribution Facilities (Bulk Gasoline Terminals and Pipeline Breakout Stations)

Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-0019

After studying the results of a risk assessment and technology review mandated by the Clean Air Act, the EPA has decided not to revise national emission standards for gasoline distribution facilities (bulk gasoline terminals and pipeline breakout stations).

On December 14, 1994, the EPA promulgated National Emission Standards for Gasoline Distribution Facilities (Bulk Gasoline Terminals and Pipeline Breakout Stations). Section 112(f)(2) of the Clean Air Act directs the EPA to assess the risk remaining (residual risk) after the application of national emission standards controls for hazardous air pollutants. Also, section 112(d)(6) requires the EPA to review and revise the national emission standards as necessary by taking into account developments in practices, processes, and control technologies.

On Aug. 10, 2005, the EPA proposed not to revise the national emission standards based on their residual risk assessment and technology review. The EPA has now finalized that decision not to revise the national emission standards, and amends a reference error. The final decision and final rule amendment is effective on April 6, 2006.

RCP Services Spotlight — Hurricane Preparedness Planning

The Gulf Coast region was hit hard by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. However, the damage to the oil and gas infrastructure had far-reaching impacts beyond the Gulf Coast. Production, pipelines and refining facilities were shut down and many operators scrambled to find the necessary resources to quickly and efficiently bring their facilities back on line. Since these events have passed, many key lessons have been learned that will help minimize the impact of these types of events in the future. Nobody knows when or what the next natural disaster will bring, but 2005 served as a strong reminder that careful planning and preparedness up front will help minimize the effects of these events when they occur.

RCP is in the process of helping oil and gas companies update their hurricane preparedness and response plans. Taking key lessons learned across the industry as well as specific learnings from your experience, RCP can update your hurricane preparedness and response plan. A few examples of issues commonly being addressed in these updates include:

  1. Identification of operational goals and priorities following a hurricane event
  2. Assessment of available resources and assignments for both pre- and post-event activities
  3. Development of effective preparedness strategies for communications and key logistical needs
  4. Planning for the humanitarian assistance needs of employees, family, and local communities

If you are interested in how RCP can help you become better prepared for the next hurricane event, give Jessica Roger a call at (713) 655-8080.

Hurricane season is fast approaching, but there is still time to update and implement changes to your plan.

Need to Update Your Current Operator Qualification Program?

We have the expertise to update your current operator qualification program to satisfy the upcoming regulation change and inspection protocols.

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