DOT Pipeline Compliance News

April 2012 Issue

In This Issue

AGA Emergency Response Webinar April 5, 2012

As a follow up to the release of AGA’s white paper on the “Industry Considerations for Emergency Response Plans Technical Note“, AGA has scheduled an Emergency Response Webinar. The webinar will be conducted Thursday, April 5th, 2012, 2:00-4:00 PM ET (1-3PM CT, 12-2PM MT, 11-1 PM PT).

The primary intent of the webinar is to allow AGA member companies to share with other members, information on their emergency response communication programs. The webinar will feature presentations from Southwest Gas, Public Service Electric and Gas Company, and Consolidated Edison Company of New York on topics including information shared with emergency response officials; changes companies have made since San Bruno; materials used for training, available online, or customized for the audience and how many employees are tasked to perform these assignments.

The Registration fee is $125.00. Registration is required in order to receive the dial-in and web log-in instructions, which will be sent prior to the webinar. Consider using a conference room and having your entire team participate. Please click here to register or contact Aaron Johnson,

DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop – May 15, 16 & 17, 2012

Join us May 15, 16 & 17 in Houston at our new office and dedicated training facility for an informative, lively, and interactive workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance and OPA Planning for DOT Pipelines. 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, who could use a refresher, or anyone who needs to know the latest information in these areas.


Day 1 (May 15): Gas Pipeline Regulations (49CFR192)
The workshop will include an introduction to DOT/OPS pipeline compliance; State and Federal program variations; roles and responsibilities; design, construction, operations, maintenance, and emergency response requirements; how to monitor rulemaking activity and stay current with your compliance program; operator qualification, public awareness; with a specific emphasis on the gas integrity management regulations. Each attendee will receive general training materials which include the applicable DOT 49 CFR 192 regulations for gas pipelines (cd-rom), inspection checklists, and speaker’s PowerPoint presentation handouts.

Day 2 (May 16): Special Topics
Back by popular demand! RCP is conducting a special workshop day to discuss topics that many of our clients have expressed an interest in. The workshop topics will include a detailed review of the recently enacted Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (pipeline reauthorization bill).

Day 3 (May 17): Liquid Pipeline Regulations (49CFR195)
The workshop will include an introduction to DOT/OPS pipeline compliance; State and Federal program variations, roles and responsibilities; design, construction, operations, maintenance, and emergency response requirements; spill response planning requirements; how to monitor rulemaking activity and stay current with your compliance program; operator qualification and public awareness. Each attendee will receive general training materials which include the applicable DOT 49 CFR 195 regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines (cd-rom), inspection checklists, and speaker’s PowerPoint presentation handouts.

To register, or for additional information, click here.

Federal Oversight of State Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs – NPRM

[Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0192] RIN 2137–AE43

PHMSA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish the criteria and procedures for PHMSA to exercise federal oversight of state damage prevention programs, and to implement federal programs when the state programs are deemed to be inadequate. The proposed regulations would revise the Pipeline Safety Regulations to establish:

  • criteria and procedures for determining the adequacy of state pipeline excavation damage prevention programs;
  • an administrative process for making adequacy determinations;
  • the Federal requirements PHMSA will enforce in a state (if required); and,
  • the adjudication process for administrative enforcement proceedings against excavators where Federal authority is exercised.

Pursuant to the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement, and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2006, establishment of review criteria for state excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs is a prerequisite should PHMSA find it necessary to conduct an enforcement proceeding against an excavator in the absence of an adequate enforcement program in the state where the violation occurs. The development of these criteria and the subsequent determination of the adequacy of state excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs is intended to encourage states to develop effective excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs to protect the public from the risk of pipeline ruptures caused by excavation damage, and allow for Federal administrative enforcement action in states with inadequate enforcement programs.

Submit comments on this NPRM by June 1, 2012, and reference Docket Number PHMSA–2009–0192. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

For a copy of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, contact Jessica Roger.

Engineering Ethics Course May 31, 2012 – Houston, TX

In support of the TBPE Outreach Program, RCP is hosting an engineering ethics course in our offices on May 31, conducted by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Mr. Charles Pennington, P.E., Engineer Specialist with the Board, will be the guest speaker for a presentation on, “Texas Board of Professional Engineers – Professional Practice Update / Ethics: Updates on Board rule changes within the last year, general updates on initiatives the Board is working on, information on enforcement statistics, and the engineering Code of Conduct.”

Time: 11:30am-12:30pm CST
Location: 801 Louisiana Street, Suite 200 / Houston, TX 77002

The 1-hour course is free, but there is limited space. Please email Donna Williams or call (918) 518-5327 to register.

PHMSA ADB-2012-04 Implementation of Nat’l Pipeline Registry (OPID)

[Docket No. PHMSA-2012-0001]

PHMSA issued Advisory Bulletin (ADB–2012–04) to Owners and Operators of Pipeline and LNG Facilities, regarding the Implementation of the National Registry of Pipeline and LNG Operators. A full copy of this Advisory Bulletin is printed below. Please note: Effective March 27, operators can complete the validation process online.

Advisory: This notice advises owners and operators of pipeline facilities of PHMSA’s plan for implementing the national registry of pipeline and LNG operators. This notice provides updates to the information contained in a PHMSA Advisory Bulletin on the same subject published on January 13, 2012 (77 FR 2126).

OPID Assignment Requests— §§ 191.22(a) and 195.64(a)
From January 1, 2012, to January 27, 2012, PHMSA collected fillable pdf versions of OPID Assignment Request (Form F 1000.1). Starting January 27, 2012, the Online Data Reporting System (ODES) is used by entities requesting a new OPID. PHMSA is entering the pdf versions of OPID Assignment Request forms into ODES and will notify requestors when the OPID has been established.

While subject to the pipeline safety regulations, operators of master meter systems or petroleum gas systems that serve fewer than 100 customers from a single source are not required to file annual reports (see 49 CFR 191.11(b)). There were several thousand master meter system operators and several hundred small liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) operators who fell within the scope of this exception as of December 31, 2011. While also subject to the requirements of 49 CFR 191.22, PHMSA previously determined that the operators of these systems would not be required to obtain an OPID. Instead, PHMSA agreed to create OPIDs for these operators based on the existing data in the agency’s files. That is currently underway and will be completed by May 1, 2012.

In light of this experience, PHMSA has decided that master meter and small LPG operators established after December 31, 2011, will be required to obtain an OPID in accordance with 49 CFR 191.22. On May 1, 2012, PHMSA will modify ODES to allow these master meter and small LPG operators to request an OPID. The requirement to request an OPID continues to not apply to master meter and small LPG operators in existence prior to December 31, 2011.

Notifications—§§ 191.22(c) and 195.64(c)
On January 1, 2012, PHMSA began collecting fillable pdf versions of Notifications (Form F 1000.2). Starting March 27, 2012, operators will be able to submit notifications online through ODES, and PHMSA will enter all of the pdf versions of the notifications into ODES shortly thereafter.

Hazardous liquid pipeline operators are advised to disregard the notification requirement in §195.64(c)(1)(iii). That provision requires notification for construction of any new pipeline facility without regard to cost. Section 195.64(c)(1)(i) also requires notification for construction of a new pipeline facility, but only for those projects with a cost of $10 million or more. PHMSA only wants notification of hazardous liquid pipeline facility construction projects with a cost of $10 million or more and plans to remove § 195.64(c)(1)(iii) in a future rulemaking.

OPID Validation — §§191.22(b) and 195.64(b)
On March 27, 2012, operators will be able to complete the validation process online. PHMSA requests that all OPIDs issued prior to January 1, 2012, complete the validation process. As with OPID Assignment Requests, master meter and small LPG operators in existence prior to December 31, 2011, are not required to complete the validation process. Based on the delayed availability of the on-line validation process, PHMSA is extending the regulatory deadline for validation from June 30, 2012, to September 30, 2012. PHMSA recommends that operators submit calendar year 2011 annual reports at least five working days prior to completing the validation process.

Further details on how to submit reports to PHMSA are available at Questions should be directed to the Office of Pipeline Safety operator helpline at 202–366–8075.

Introducing MaxOp*

RCP is extremely proud to announce the launch of a web-based version of our popular MAOP calculator model. Just like the model we built to conduct MAOP studies as a service, MaxOp* is the most comprehensive MAOP tool on the market. Through a secure web service, our customers can now push their MAOP data sets into RCP’s MaxOp* tool, link documentation to MAOP algorithm variables, dynamically segment their data, run MAOP calculations, identify potential discrepancies between the established and calculated MAOP values, and export calculated data sets and customizable reports back to their own native data sets. The tool will accept common pipeline database formats including Excel, PODS, APDM and others.

MAOP Validation Services

RCP has developed a turnkey process by which pipeline operating companies will have a traceable, verifiable and complete MAOP dataset. It starts with our MAOP document review services where RCP conducts detailed reviews of relevant MAOP documents, extracts the necessary data onto our MaxOp* cover sheets and posts the data into the database for future dynamic segmentation and calculation. For each document, a MaxOp* cover sheet is attached and re-filed, awaiting digitization by the market leading document management services company, Iron Mountain. Once these documents are scanned and posted, MaxOp* will retain a permanent link from the data set to the document image. Finally, once the document review is complete, MaxOp* will dynamically segment any spatially related data and run the MAOP calculations. The resulting values and data sets can then be exported to our customer’s in-house pipeline data set (ex. Excel, PODS, APDM, other). At the completion of this effort, the basis for an MAOP management of change has been established and our customers can be confident that their MAOP values are capable of being traced back to source documentation, the calculated values have been validated with the most comprehensive calculator tool on the market, and the MAOP values have been completely evaluated and any potential deficiencies identified.

For more information about RCP’s MAOP services or the MaxOp* calculator, please contact Jessica Roger.

* MaxOp is a US Trademark and property of RCP Inc

PHMSA Advisory Bulletin (ADB–2012–05) Cast Iron Pipe

[Docket No. PHMSA–2012–0039]

The Department of Transportation/Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued Advisory Bulletin ADB-2012-05 to owners and operators of natural gas cast iron distribution pipelines and state pipeline safety representatives. Recent deadly explosions in Philadelphia and Allentown, PA involving cast iron pipelines installed in 1942 and 1928, respectively, gained national attention and highlight the need for continued safety improvements to aging gas pipeline systems. This bulletin is an update of two prior Alert Notices (ALN– 91–02; October 11, 1991 and ALN–92– 02; June 26, 1992) covering the continued use of cast iron pipe in natural gas distribution pipeline systems.

This advisory bulletin reiterates two prior Alert Notices which remain relevant, urges owners and operators to conduct a comprehensive review of their cast iron distribution pipelines and replacement programs and accelerate pipeline repair, rehabilitation and replacement of high risk pipelines, requests state agencies to consider enhancements to cast iron replacement plans and programs, and alerts owners and operators of the pipeline safety requirements for the investigation of failures.

In addition, the latest survey and reporting requirements of cast iron pipelines required by the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 are included for information.

For a copy Advisory Bulletin ADB-2012-05, contact Jessica Roger.

Pipeline Safety: Public Comment on Leak and Valve Studies Mandated by the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011

[Docket ID PHMSA–2012–0021]

The Department of Transportation / Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is providing an important opportunity for all stakeholders to publically comment on the scope of recently commissioned studies involving leak detection systems and valves.

The recent passage of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 has called for several commissioned studies and reports to Congress that PHMSA must address and complete. PHMSA has commissioned two studies to gather facts and perform technical, operational, and economical analyses about the constraints and implications for expanding the uses of leak detection systems and automatic and remote controlled valves.

Submit comments on these commissioned studies by close of business April 30, 2012 and reference Docket No. PHMSA–2012–0021. Comments may be submitted via the E–Gov Web Site.

For a copy of this notice in the Federal Register, contact Jessica Roger.

EFRD Evaluation

RCP can assist pipeline operators (both gas and liquids) with performing an emergency flow restricting device (EFRD) evaluation based on the criteria, e.g. type of leak detection installed, product transported, quantity released, local topography, etc., identified in the Integrity Management rules. §192.179 requires that intermediate valves be installed along a cross country pipeline at the time of construction at specified intervals based on class location. Likewise, §195.260 identifies for liquids pipelines locations where valves must be installed at the time of construction but it is much less specific than for gas lines. For more information on an EFRD Study for your pipeline assets, contact Jessica Roger.

Gathering Unregulated Pipeline Data GAO-12-388

On March 22, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued GAO-12-388 on Pipeline Safety, “Collecting Data and Sharing Information of Federally Unregulated Gathering Pipelines Could Help Enhance Safety.” While the safety risks of onshore gathering pipelines that are not regulated by PHMSA are generally considered to be lower than for other types of pipelines, PHMSA does not collect comprehensive data to identify the safety risks of unregulated gathering pipelines.

In response to a GAO survey, state pipeline safety agencies cited construction quality, maintenance practices, unknown or uncertain locations, and limited or no information on pipeline integrity as among the highest risks for federally unregulated pipelines. Without data on these risk factors, pipeline safety officials are unable to assess and manage safety risks associated with these pipelines. Furthermore, changes in pipeline operational environments cited in response to GAO’s survey and by industry officials could also increase safety risks for federally unregulated gathering pipelines. This report identifies the safety risks that exist, if any, with onshore hazardous liquid and natural gas gathering pipelines that are not currently under PHMSA regulation; and, practices States use to help ensure the safety of these pipelines.

A small number of state pipeline safety agencies GAO surveyed reported using at least one of five practices that were most frequently cited to help ensure the safety of federally unregulated pipelines. These practices include:

  1. damage prevention programs,
  2. considering areas of highest risk to target resources,
  3. safety inspections,
  4. public outreach and communication, and
  5. increased regulatory attention on operators with prior spills or leaks.

The GAO is recommending that the DOT should (1) collect data on federally unregulated hazardous liquid and gas gathering pipelines and (2) establish an online clearinghouse or other resource for sharing information on pipeline safety practices.

For more information, contact Susan A. Fleming at (202) 512-2834 or

For a full copy of the GAO-12-388 report, contact Jessica Roger.

National Safe Digging Month

April 2012 is National Safe Digging Month, the time of year when all Common Ground Alliance (CGA) stakeholders come together to communicate how important it is that professionals and homeowners alike call 811 and follow the safe digging process to help prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages. To assist damage prevention stakeholders in promoting National Safe Digging Month, CGA has created a full suite of tools – ads, news releases, grassroots marketing programs, etc. For more information on how to order the new “2012 CGA Communications Plan” visit the 811 website.

CGA Best Practices 2012

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) announced that the latest version, Best Practices Version 9.0, was published in March 2012 and includes all new practices approved prior to December 2011. To download a copy, or for ordering information, go the CGA website.

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.

Meet me at the Conference

Have you registered and confirmed your reservations for these upcoming conferences? RCP will have representatives speaking at both API and AGA.

API 2012 Pipeline Conference
Phoenix, AZ | April 17 – 19

  • “Preventing Incidents through Accelerated Industry Learning”
    Bill Byrd, Speaker/Panelist
    Wednesday Morning, April 18

AGA Operations Conference
San Francisco, CA | May 1 – May 4

  • “Findings from the Industry Learning Study”
    Bill Byrd, Speaker
    Wednesday Afternoon, May 2, Track B1

    AGA and other major pipeline industry associations in the US and Canada commissioned a study to look at programs that have been developed in industries outside the pipeline industry (nuclear, aviation, chemicals, etc.) to improve their industry’s safety performance. This presentation will present some key findings and their potential application to the pipeline industry.
  • “MAOP Validation Process at Williams Gas Pipeline”
    Chris Foley (RCP) and Glenn Koch (Williams Gas Pipeline)
    Thursday Afternoon, May 3, Track G1

Summer / Fall Conference Schedule

LGA 191/192 & 195 Pipeline Safety Conference
New Orleans, LA | July 23 -27

SGA Operating Conference & Exhibits
Ft. Worth, TX | July 23 – 25

Western Region Gas Conference
Tempe, AZ | August 21 & 22

International Pipeline Conference
Calgary, Canada | September 24 – 28

PHMSA Recruiting for a Compliance Officer

The Department of Transportation/Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will be recruiting for a Compliance Officer, reporting to the Director, Enforcement Division. This person will help develop PHMSA’s pipeline enforcement program; guide the risk-based application of pipeline safety regulations, technical consensus engineering standards and compliance practices by natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators; work with Region Directors and the Office of Chief Counsel to ensure compliance with Federal pipeline safety regulations; and provide technical expertise in analyzing issues underlying policy and regulatory development, accident investigation and follow-up compliance actions.

Those having questions about the position are welcome to call Rod Dyck, Director of the Enforcement Division, at 202-366-3844 or by e-mail at

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