DOT Pipeline Compliance News

April 2007 Issue

In This Issue

DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop – May 15, 2007

RCP will be hosting our very popular workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance on May 15 in Houston, TX. Join us for an informative, lively, and interactive workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance. This workshop has been attended by hundreds of pipeline personnel, with excellent feedback. The workshop provides an overview of the DOT pipeline regulations, and is appropriate for people who are new to pipeline regulations, or who could use a refresher.

Introduction to DOT/PHMSA Pipeline Regulations

  • Agency jurisdictions – what does DOT/PHMSA regulate anyway?
    • Important definitions
    • Important letters of clarification from the agency
    • Recent EPA/DOI memorandums of understanding
  • State and Federal program variations, roles and responsibilities
  • Gas and liquid design, construction, operations, maintenance, and emergency response requirements
  • Spill response planning requirements
  • How to monitor rulemaking activity and stay current with your compliance program
  • Discussion of potential rulemaking – liquid gathering rules, controller certification, etc.

Your Instructor: As principal of RCP, Mr. Byrd enjoys a solid reputation for working with the public, corporate management, and regulatory agencies to resolve complex regulatory issues. He serves on various industry association committees, works as an expert witness and consulting expert, and is frequently called upon to comment on current or proposed rulemakings at public and private meetings and conferences.

For additional information, including a seminar brochure, go to our website here.

API Pipeline Conference, April 17 – 18

The Pipeline Conference will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico this year with registration April 16 and the conference April 17 and 18. Unlike in previous years, there will be technical sessions following the luncheon on the 18th, with the last sessions ending at 4:00pm on the 18th. Admiral Thomas Barrett, the PHMSA Administrator, is scheduled as the luncheon speaker on the 18th. The Environmental and Safety Awards and the Distinguished Environmental &Safety; Award will be presented during the luncheon, with API President, Red Cavaney, scheduled to attend the reception on April 17 and present the Distinguished E&S; Award on April 18. In addition, this year API will honor our pipeline members who have been active over the years in standards development. To register, please click here

GeoGathering 2007 Conference, May 7-8

The GeoGathering 2007 Conference is dedicated to providing oil and gas gathering system professionals with a venue to share their experiences implementing and operating geospatial system and the opportunity to discuss industry best practices. Speakers will include W. R. (Bill) Byrd, President of RCP, and others from companies such as Anadarko, BP, Chevron, DCP Midstream, EnCana, and ESRI. Speaker presentations will focus on real work experiences and cover topics ranging from integrity management and gathering system regulatory requirements to field data collection, SCADA/GIS integration and GIS based system analysis.

The conference will be held at the Estes Park Conference Center in Estes Park, Colorado. To register or get more information, click here or call 1-877-670-4434.

OSHA Unveils New Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for Influenza Pandemic

OSHA unveiled new workplace safety and health guidance that will help employers prepare for an influenza pandemic.

Developed in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic provides general guidance for all types of workplaces, describes the differences between seasonal, avian and pandemic influenza, and presents information on the nature of a potential pandemic, how the virus is likely to spread and how exposure is likely to occur.

Under the president’s National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan, the Labor Department is responsible for promoting the health, safety and welfare of employees and providing guidance to assist employers in protecting the health and safety of employees during a pandemic flu.

To help employers determine appropriate workplace practices and precautions, the guidance divides workplaces and work operations into four risk zones, according to the likelihood of employees’ occupational exposure to pandemic influenza. Recommendations for employee protection are presented for each of the four levels of anticipated risk and include engineering controls, work practices and use of personal protective equipment such as respirators and surgical masks and their relative value in protecting employees.

The Labor Department/HHS guidance also encourages employers to prepare a plan to deal with a depleted workforce during a pandemic. In addition, the guidance includes links to helpful Web sites with additional information and a list of technical articles and resources, including a history on flu pandemics, symptoms and outcomes of various strains of the influenza, and details on the transmission of the virus.

It is important to note that workplace safety and health guidance may evolve and change over time as new information becomes available. For instance, the characteristics of the specific strain of influenza virus ultimately responsible for the pandemic may affect the way in which the disease is spread and therefore additional guidance would be tailored to that information. Up-to-date information and guidance is available to employers, employees and the general public through, the federal government’s Web site for information regarding pandemic flu.

Comments Posted for Proposed Texas Damage Prevention Regulations

The Railroad Commission of Texas has published the comments received in response to the proposed damage prevention regulations in Chapter 18 of the TAC entitled Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention relating to

  • Scope, Applicability, and General Provisions;
  • Definitions;
  • Excavator Notice to Notification Center;
  • Excavator Obligation to Avoid Damage to Underground Pipelines;
  • Operator and Excavator Obligations with Respect to Positive Response;
  • General Marking Requirements;
  • Excavator Marking Requirements;
  • Operator Marking Requirements;
  • Options for Managing an Excavation Site in the Vicinity of an Underground Pipeline;
  • Excavation within Tolerance Zone;
  • Reporting Requirements; and
  • Penalty Guidelines

To read the published comments, go to the following website:

As currently drafted, the proposed new rules in Chapter 18, with some stated exceptions, would apply to all persons engaged in or preparing to engage in the movement of earth in the vicinity of an intrastate underground pipeline containing flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas, a hazardous liquid, or carbon dioxide. However, the legislation amending Texas Natural Resources Code, §117.012, and Texas Utilities Code, §121.201, specifically authorizes the Commission to exempt other entities or occupations if the Commission determines in its rulemaking process that exempting those entities or occupations from the rules is either in the public interest or not likely to cause harm to the safety and welfare of the public. The Commission gives notice that one result of this rulemaking may be the exemption of additional entities and/or activities from the new rules in Chapter 18.

Although there are some specific requirements for both excavators and pipeline operators set forth in the proposed new rules, generally the Commission attempted to avoid provisions that would either duplicate or contradict the mandates of Texas Utilities Code, Chapter 251, the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act. There may be persons exempt from the provisions of Texas Utilities Code, Chapter 251, that would be required to comply with this chapter.

For additional information, or for a copy of the proposed rule, contact Jessica Roger.

Damage Prevention Plans

RCP can develop or update your Damage Prevention plan. For more information about how RCP can assist you with your Damage Prevention Plan, click here.

PHMSA Issues Guidelines for Guided Wave Direct Assessment Methodology

PHMSA has issued guidance on guided wave technology used for integrity management direct assessment. These target items are for guidance only and do not require that notifications contain only this material. Where operators have alternatives to this guidance, it is suggested that they include it along with any justification in their notification. PHMSA will review each notification on the merits of the individual submittal. Topics addressed in the guidance include:

  1. Generation of Equipment and Software – G-3 for GUL and Rev 3 for Teletest.
  2. Inspection Range – 60 ft. to 100 ft., 80 ft probably good max. to use
  3. A 20% Overlap needs to be provided or alternative such as several shots with different starting location.
  4. Sensitivity – threshold of 5% Cross Sectional Area for Go-No Go.
  5. Frequency – can be 15 to 50 kHz, normally 20 to 40 kHz
  6. Signal or Wave Type – torsional and longitudinal
  7. DAC – required for each inspection
  8. Dead Zone – 3 to 6 ft. from collar
  9. Near Zone – function of frequency – 1 to 2 ft. out from dead zone
  10. Coating type- inspections have been on coal tar enamel, FBE, wax, extruded with some girth welds coated with tape and shrink sleeves, have not affected results.
  11. End Seal – always remove end seal and visually inspect 1st 2 to 5 feet of pipe in casing.
  12. Weld Calibration – good method to set DAC curve. The weld has to be excavated and measured either before or after the calibration shot.
  13. Validation of Operator Training – Level II minimum
  14. Equipment – should be traceable from vendor to contractor.
  15. Calibration, Onsite – diagnostic test on site and system check on site. Prior to shipment owner to perform calibration checks.
  16. Use on shorted (either direct or electrolytic) casings is not permitted.
  17. Direct examination of all indications above the testing threshold is required.
  18. Timing of direct examinations of indications above the testing threshold.

For a full copy of the guidance document, contact Jessica Roger.

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, click here.

PHMSA Issues revised FAQ for Gas Pipeline Integrity Management

FAQ 90: Timing for Determining and Performing Preventive and Mitigative Actions

Question: When must operators implement additional preventive and mitigative measures? For example, how long after completing the baseline assessment for a segment can an operator take to conduct a risk analysis and determine whether additional preventive or mitigative actions are needed (including the need for ASVs/RCVs)? If an operator determines that additional actions are warranted, how long does it have to implement them?

Answer: An operator should not wait until after an assessment is conducted to perform its risk analysis and implement appropriate preventive and mitigative measures. Preventive and mitigative actions are a response to the threats faced and the relative risk of the pipeline subject to those threats. It could be valuable for operators to have assessment results in hand to consider when identifying additional preventive and mitigative measures, but the baseline assessment for some segments may not be conducted for several years (e.g., as late as 2012). Operators can, and should, gather enough information before this time to evaluate risk and make the required determinations regarding preventive and mitigative measures. Operators need to document the basis for these determinations, and should have a means of monitoring to determine if the additional measures are effective.

After an operator completes its baseline assessment for a segment, it should revisit its risk analysis, incorporating the results of the integrity assessment and identifying the significant risks that remain. The operator should then analyze those risks to determine if additional actions (or other additional Preventive & Mitigative Measures) should be undertaken. Although the rule establishes no firm time limits by when this risk analysis must be performed, PHMSA believes it is reasonable to expect that this analysis as well as the identification of any additional potential preventive and mitigative actions should be completed within one year after the assessment has been performed. This will allow time for reviewing the assessment results and excavating the worst features, thereby developing confidence in the validity of the assessment and an understanding of the line’s condition.

PHMSA recognizes that the time required to implement preventive and mitigative actions is highly dependent on the proposed risk control activity. Some actions may be simple “quick fix” activities that can readily be implemented in the field. Other actions may involve major capital expenditures and require significant time for budgeting, engineering and design, and implementation. Because of this wide disparity, there is no fixed time requirement for implementing preventive and mitigative actions. PHMSA expects operators to provide a schedule by when additional preventive and mitigative measures will be taken, and to act as quickly as practical after identifying the need for such risk controls. In situations where lengthy periods are required for implementation, operators should determine if there are relatively simple, interim measures that can be taken to reduce risk while major projects are being implemented.

PHMSA Issues Revised Inspection Protocols

PHMSA has published revised inspection protocols on their website. Several of these protocols have revisions that are not apparent unless they are compared to the previous versions. The Operator Qualification Inspection Protocols include additional guidance questions as well as provide a cross-reference to other associated protocol questions. For example, the items in bolded font below are new additions to question 2.01:

2.01 Development of Covered Task List
How did the operator develop its covered task list?

  • Verify that the operator applied the four-part test to determine whether 49 CFR Part 192 or 49 CFR Part 195 O&M; activities applicable to the operator are covered tasks. [Enforceable]
  • Verify that the operator has identified and documented all applicable covered tasks. [Enforceable] (Associated Protocols: 8.01)

Guidance: The rule requires that the operator identify covered tasks, which are those tasks covered by regulations that meet the four-part test set forth in the Operator Qualification Rule. Investigation of the following characteristics is important to determine whether the requirements of the rule have been met:

  1. The method used by the operator to develop its covered task list was thorough, documented, and considered all tasks performed to meet applicable regulatory requirements by employees and contractors.
  2. The operator understands the personnel qualification-related activities that pose significant risk to the integrity of pipeline facilities (e.g., excavation and backfilling) and has considered them in the development of its covered task list.
  3. The operator identifies how it ensures the addition, revision, or deletion of covered tasks to incorporate changes to operations or regulations.
  4. The operator definition of operations and maintenance is consistent with regulatory requirements as they are applied to pipeline facilities.
  5. The operator identifies the individuals that are qualified to perform the covered tasks.
  6. Review the coverage of each covered task to ensure the task is not too broad of a category, especially for contractors’ use (e.g. Corrosion Control).

The list of recently updated inspection protocols include:

  1. PHMSA Form-1 (Standard Inspection Report of a Gas Transmission Pipeline)
  2. PHMSA Form-2 (Standard Inspection Report of Gas Distribution Operator)
  3. PHMSA Form-3 (Standard Inspection of a Liquid Pipeline Carrier)
  4. PHMSA Form-4 (Standard Inspection Report of an LNG Facility)
  5. PHMSA Form-5 (Evaluation Report of Gas Pipeline & Compressor Station Construction)
  6. PHMSA Form-7 (Evaluation Report of Liquid Pipeline Construction)
  7. PHMSA Form-10 (Breakout Tank Inspection Form)
  8. PHMSA Form-11 (Pipeline Failure Investigation Report)
  9. PHMSA Form-12 (Gas Storage Field Review)
  10. PHMSA Form-14 (Operator Qualification Inspection Form)
  11. PHMSA Form-15 (Operator Qualification Field Inspection Form)
  12. PHMSA Form-18 (Evaluation of LNG Facility Siting, Design, Construction and Equipment)
  13. PHMSA Form-19 (Hazardous Liquid IMP Field Verification Inspection)

The inspection protocols can be downloaded at the following website:

Pending Audits?

Has the DOT notified you of a pending audit? RCP can provide confidential internal auditing to help ensure that your facilities are up to the agency’s latest standards. Click here to find out more.

PHMSA Opens NPMS for Public Viewing

PHMSA has launched a new web-based tool called the NPMS Public Viewer. The Public Viewer is designed to help the public understand which transmission pipelines exist in their area and to provide a means for the public to contact pipeline operators to obtain additional information.

The Public Viewer is accessible on the NPMS web site ( The user chooses a county to view. Only one county’s pipelines may be viewed per session, but a user may re-launch the Public Viewer to see another county’s pipelines. The user may zoom in to the level shown below, view information about the pipelines (including operator name, operator contact information, and commodity carried), and print maps. Liquefied Natural Gas facilities and breakout tanks are also visible. A manual is available on the website that contains detailed instructions for using the Public Viewer. Users should read the manual before using the Public Viewer for the first time.

Additionally, PHMSA is allowing county and local government officials to share county-level previously restricted NPMS data with their partners and with the general public. This initiative will help communities manage smart growth and will provide another way for the public to view pipeline data.

MMS Issues Notice to Lesees regarding Revised Civil Penalties

The Minerals Management Services has issued NTL 2007-N02 which outlines revised civil penalties for operators of oil and gas facilities located in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The MMS regulates pipeline facilities, including producer pipelines that originate within the OCS. The revised maximum civil penalties are now set at $35,000 per day per violation for violations occurring after March 30, 2007. Civil penalties are outlined in a matrix and are determined based upon the Enforcement Code (Warning, Component Shut-In, or Facility Shut-In) and the Category of threat (injury, harm to marine or coastal receptors, pollution volume and duration, and damage to mineral deposits). Other factors can play a part in assessment of civil penalties such as compliance history, severity, precedence of similar cases, and previous civil penalty case history. For a copy of this NTL, contact Jessica Roger.

OSHA to Train Additional 120 PSM Compliance Inspectors

OSHA expects to have 280 staff members trained to conduct process safety management inspections by August, Assistant Labor Secretary for OSHA Edwin L. Foulke Jr. announced. So far, the federal workplace safety agency has more than 160 employees who are qualified to conduct the inspections. Adding inspectors will ensure that every refinery will be inspected under OSHA’s new national emphasis program. His announcement came the same day that witnesses and members of the House Education and Labor Committee charged that OSHA failed to adequately inspect BP America Inc.’s Texas City, Tex., refinery for years prior to a Mar. 23, 2005, fire and explosion which killed 15 workers and injured 180 there.

The Chemical Safety Board’s final report on the Texas City fire and explosion called on OSHA to identify refineries and chemical plants at the greatest risk of a catastrophic accident and to conduct comprehensive inspections of those facilities. It also recommended that the US Department of Labor division hire or develop new, specialized inspectors and expand the PSM training curriculum at its national training institute.

Process Safety Management Services

RCP can develop a comprehensive Process Safety Management Program for your facility; or an assessment of an existing program for maintaining compliance. Click here if you would like information on RCP’s Process Management Services.

Louisiana DNR Updates Pipeline Regulations

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources has updated the state regulations for natural gas pipelines (Title 43, Part 13 Office of Conservation Pipeline Safety). The majority of changes were made in order to be consistent with updates made to 49 CFR 192 within the past year. Sections included in the revised regulations include:

  • Section 3 – Annual Reports, Incident Reports and Safety Related Condition Reports
  • Section 5 – General [Subpart A]
  • Section 9 – Pipe Design [Subpart C]
  • Section 11 – Design of Pipeline Components [Subpart D]
  • Section 13 – Welding of Steel in Pipelines [Subpart E]
  • Section 15 – Joining of Materials Other Than by Welding [Subpart F]
  • Section 21 – Requirements for Corrosion Control [Subpart I]
  • Section 27 – Operations [Subpart L]
  • Section 29 – Maintenance [Subpart M]
  • Section 31 – Operator Qualification [Subpart N]
  • Section 33 – Pipeline Integrity Management [Subpart O]

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