DOT Pipeline Compliance News

August 2017 Issue

In This Issue

Fundamentals of Pipeline Operations Workshop

September 13-14, 2017

Join us September 13-14, 2017 in Houston at our corporate office and dedicated training facility for this new workshop on the fundamentals of pipeline operations. This 2-day course is designed to give a comprehensive overview of gas and liquid energy transmission pipelines and how they are operated and maintained. It is appropriate for both technical and non-technical personnel who are new to the energy transmission pipeline industry, as well as those who need a broader understanding of pipeline operations and management in general. The course walks through the practical things that a typical pipeline company’s operations organization does on a regular basis to operate and maintain the pipeline system as a whole. Course topics include:

  • Components of a pipeline system (types of pipe, coatings, tanks, valves, pumps, compressors, pressure vessels, pig traps, meters, instrumentation, control systems / SCADA)
  • Operations activities (starting / stopping, batching, managing receipts and deliveries, measurement, monitoring, pressure control, leak detection)
  • Inspection and Maintenance (valves, ROWs, tanks, pumps, compressors, instrumentation, pigging, cathodic protection)
  • Repair (in-service repair techniques, welding, OOS repairs / replacements)
  • Integrity Management (ILI, Pressure Tests, Direct Assessment), including assessment processes, analysis, follow-ups
  • Emergency Response (planning, organization / ICS, drills, response)
  • Public Awareness / Damage Prevention / One Calls

Each attendee will receive the presentation as well as applicable handouts in a hardcopy notebook.

The course involves many hands-on demonstrations and examples using RCP’s in-house Pipeline Flow Loop*. To promote an optimal learning environment, class size will be limited. To register for our workshop, click here .

*RCP’s in-house Pipeline Flow Loop is an engineering marvel (!). It is a working 2” diameter pipeline system incorporating many of the components of a transmission pipeline system including state-of-the-art SCADA control system and instrumentation for flow, pressure, temperature, and volume, as well as automated valves, pig traps, variable speed pump, and more. It also incorporates clear pipe segments so that students can see a pig in operation, see phase separation as it occurs, and understand the importance of elevation change. It occupies 2 walls outside our training room. Students can monitor and control the pipeline from the training room (“control room”), and then step into the hall to see the pipeline in action.

PHMSA Extends Due Date for UGS Annual Report Submission

PHMSA is extending the due date for the first submission of the annual report for Underground Natural Gas Storage facilities. PHMSA regulations at 49 CFR 191.17 require operators of underground natural gas storage facilities to submit an annual report by July 18, 2017. PHMSA is extending the due date for the submission of Calendar Year 2016 annual report for several months from the date the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approves the collection of the annual report under OMB Control Number 2137-0522. When OMB approves the report, PHMSA will post the date of OMB approval on the Office of Pipeline Safety website. PHMSA will also publish a Federal Register notice announcing this delay and providing additional information.

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, visit our website or contact Jessica Foley.

PHMSA Pipeline Safety Research and Development Forum

Research Announcement (RA) # DTPH56-17-RA-00002

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) is now soliciting for new pipeline safety research, white papers on individual projects addressing key pipeline challenges, and cover emerging areas of underground natural gas storage and LNG. The November 2016 Pipeline R&D Forum identified several technical gaps as potential new research projects. These research topics include:

  • Threat Prevention
  • Leak Detection
  • Anomaly Detection / Characterization
  • Underground Natural Gas Storage
  • Liquefied Natural Gas

Researchers should visit to understand more about PHMSA’s pipeline research strategy and performance and visit to review all related current and previous research. The merit review panel will not evaluate any white paper that duplicates current or previous research efforts.
Announcement details including areas of research, white paper requirements and submission, can be found at

Be on the Lookout for 811 Day Events in Your Area

811 is the nationwide number that excavators can call to reach their local “one call” center, which alerts the operators of buried utilities in the planned excavation area to go out and mark the location of their facilities (such as pipelines) before the excavator starts digging. The 811 system is similar to the better-known 911 system for emergency notifications. There are many outreach programs to educate excavators about “811”… including special events of various types on August 11 (8-11). For example, Block Parties will be held in Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis, with food, drinks, and entertainment. Other typical events include special offers for pizza (large pizza for $8.11), fun runs with an $8.11 entry fee, etc. Click here for a listing of events. The block party in Houston will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St., which is only 1 block from RCP’s downtown Houston offices. Please let us know if you would like to drop by for a tour!

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm…

According to the PHMSA Pipeline enforcement activity website, PHMSA has initiated 125 new enforcement cases in the first 6 months of 2017 (for an annual rate of 250 cases a year). This compares to 164 cases in 2016, 197 cases in 2015, and 154 cases in 2014. The lesson is clear. While new rulemaking activity may be progressing slowly in 2017, PHMSA is actively enforcing the rules that are in place.

Pipeline 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!

2017 RRC/PHMSA Pipeline Safety Training
September 20-22, 2017
Embassy Suites, San Antonio Riverwalk

PHMSA will have trainers available to talk about various aspects of the Pipeline Safety Rules in place at the time and to discuss upcoming PHMSA rules and regulations in the process of being passed or implemented. This will also be an excellent opportunity to meet with and get to know the Railroad Commission personnel. The Agenda, registration links and hotel information can be found on the Texas Gas Association (TGA) website.

Pipeline Safety Trust
November 2-3, 2017
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans

Join us in New Orleans for the annual conference hosted by the Pipeline Safety Trust. This conference provides a unique forum to gather pipeline operators, regulators, local governments and concerned citizens for two days to talk all things pipeline safety. Online registration, the agenda and hotel information can be found on the Pipeline Safety Trust website . Early bird registration ends September 30th.

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.

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

Best regards,

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