August 2022 Issue
In This Issue
- PHMSA Final Rule: Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines (RIN2)
- Pipeline Safety: Meeting of the Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committee
- Texas Railroad Commission Critical Infrastructure Announcement
- News Flash! AOPL is now Liquid Energy Pipeline Association
- Did you know?
- Coastal and Marine Operators Pipeline Industry Initiative
- The Enforcement Corner
- Client Feedback
PHMSA Final Rule: Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines (RIN2)
[Docket No. PHMSA-2011-0023; Amdt. No. 192-132] RIN 2137-AF39
Note that the following is intended to provide a synopsis of the rule making and should not be used as the sole source of compliance planning or associated activities.
On August 4th, PHMSA sent to the Federal Register for publication a final rule revising the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations to improve the safety of onshore gas transmission pipelines. This rule update (the Rule), commonly referred to as “RIN 2, Gas Mega Rule,” is related to the Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines: MAOP Reconfirmation, Expansion of Assessment Requirements, and Other Related Amendments rule making issued October 1, 2019, that was driven by the September 9, 2010, Pacific Gas and Electric Company incident that occurred in San Bruno, California. Amendments include clarification of certain integrity management requirements, the codification of the management of change process, the update of gas transmission pipeline corrosion control requirements, the inspection of pipelines after extreme weather events, adjust high consequence area repair requirements, and adds new requirements for non-high consequence area segments. These regulatory updates were negotiated with various stakeholders including the pipeline industry, the public, and advocacy groups through a series of public Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) Meetings. The following provides an overview of key provisions of the rule making.
With the update, operators are required to development and implement a management of change process that is consistent with ASME/ANSI B31.8S, Section 11 (incorporated by reference, § 192.7). As management of change is already required for segments subject to the integrity management requirements in Subpart O, Gas Transmission Pipeline Integrity Management, operators having pipelines subject to integrity management are expected to have a management of change process meeting these requirements for their covered segments. Compliance with this provision is required for other pipelines no later than February 2024. Operators may request an extension for up to 1 year by submitting a notification to PHMSA at least 90 days prior to the compliance date (February 2024). As with any extension request, operators must submit a reasonable and technically justified basis for the request.
As expected, and discussed in GPAC meetings, PHMSA has established that operators conducting projects that involve 1,000 feet or more of continuous backfill will conduct an assessment to determine if any coating damage exists and to ensure integrity of the coating using direct current voltage gradient (DCVG), alternating current voltage gradient (ACVG), or other technology that provides comparable insights.
Mirroring the hazardous liquids rule making issued on October 1, 2019 ([Docket No. PHMSA–2010–0229; Amdt. No. 195–102] RIN 2137–AE66), PHMSA has updated Part 192 to include a new paragraph (c) to 192.613 that establishes requirements for inspection of pipeline assets following an extreme weather event or natural disaster that could result in damage to pipelines. Extreme weather events include named tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, landslides, or earthquakes.
PHMSA updated requirements for predicted failure pressure to include critical strain level, and a new paragraph establishes robust requirements for operators to develop procedures to evaluate and repair dents and other mechanical damage.
One of the more anticipated provisions of the new rule is the establishment of new repair criteria for pipelines not subject to Gas Transmission Pipeline Integrity Management (Subpart O). Criteria for the following condition types are established:
- Immediate repairs
- Two-year conditions
- Monitored conditions
Similar to pipeline segments subject to integrity management (Subpart O,) operators will be required to evaluate and properly categorize anomalies found as a result of integrity assessments.
Integrity management updates provide additional prescription for the risk-based regulation. It is noteworthy that a number of these code additions are not entirely new, as most of the additions were already provided in ASME/ANSI B31.8S (incorporated by reference).
Data integration requirements have been updated to add specificity pertaining to data required for risk assessment; a similar approach was taken for hazardous liquids integrity requirements in October 2019. Updates also underscore PHMSA’s expectation that they do not merely integrate data in a geospatial system. Rather, operators must effectively analyze relationships through vigorous and validated risk assessments.
Gas transmission pipeline operator’s risk assessments must now specifically consider the consequences of a pipeline failure in its risk modeling. Merely stating that the area is a covered segment will not be sufficient, as PHMSA will expect operators to consider specific impacts and consequences for each high consequence area.
Threat analysis specifically requires that operators analyze the likelihood of failure due to each individual threat and each combination of threats that interact or simultaneously contribute to risk at a common location. The common practices of applying global threat interactions will now be insufficient, as operators must address threat interaction at each location along the pipeline segment.
To address unknown data and assumptions used in risk modeling that the potential for those data sets to skew risk results, operators must also account for and compensate for uncertainties or “null values” and/or assumptions employed their risk models.
Consistent with the hazardous liquids rule update that was published in October 2019, this Section was updated to includes a provision requiring that operators notify PHMSA if discovery cannot be made within the required 180-day period. Most noteworthy PHMSA updates to this Section include the addition of repair criteria for:
- Immediate conditions
- One-year conditions
- Monitored conditions
With the objective of driving more robust processes and effective preventive and mitigative measures, PHMSA updated to require that operators must consider results from their risk assessments and specific potential activities for risk reduction.
While much of the regulatory language presented in RIN 2, Gas Mega Rule, is consistent with expected updates and modifications, numerous small, but impactful, additions have been made. Also noteworthy, but not presented in this summary are the updates to internal corrosion direct assessment and direct assessment for stress corrosion cracking. With compliance expected in February 2024, operators should immediately consider each code change and carefully craft updates to their Operations and Maintenance procedures and Integrity Management Programs.
For a copy of PHMSA’s Final Rule: Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines (RIN2), contact Jessica Foley. Or, to request a copy of the full version of this Final Rule Summary compiled by RCP’s SME, click here.
Pipeline Safety: Meeting of the Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committee
[Docket No. PHMSA-2022-0077]
On August 17, 2022, the LPAC will meet virtually from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET to discuss the IFR titled: “Unusually Sensitive Areas for the Great Lakes, Coastal Beaches, and Certain Coastal Waters” that PHMSA published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2021, (86 FR 73173). The LPAC will review the IFR and its associated regulatory analyses (including, but not limited to, the cost-benefit and risk assessment analyses within the IFR and the regulatory impact analysis; the environmental assessment; and other materials pertaining to the IFR provided in the public docket under PHMSA-2017-0152). Following the meeting, PHMSA will publish a final rule that addresses the comments received and relevant information from the LPAC meeting report.
In the IFR, PHMSA amended the pipeline safety regulations in 49 CFR Part 195 to explicitly state that certain coastal waters, the Great Lakes, and coastal beaches are classified as unusually sensitive areas for the purpose of compliance with the hazardous liquid integrity management regulations. The amendment implemented mandates contained in the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, as amended by the PIPES Act of 2020. Under the IFR, a hazardous liquid pipeline that could affect these newly designated areas would have been included in an operator’s integrity management program. PHMSA requested public comments with a submission deadline of February 25, 2022. PHMSA received four comments on the IFR.
PHMSA will provide members of the public with opportunities to make a statement during this meeting. Public comments on the proceedings of the LPAC meeting must be submitted by September 19, 2022. Additionally, PHMSA will record the meeting and post a record to the public docket. PHMSA will post additional details on the meeting website in advance of the meeting. PHMSA is not always able to publish a notice in the Federal Register quickly enough to provide timely notice regarding last-minute issues that impact a previously announced advisory committee meeting. Therefore, individuals should check the meeting website or contact Tewabe Asebe by phone at 202-366-5523 or by email at email@example.com regarding any possible changes.
The meeting will be held virtually. The agenda and any additional information, including information on how to participate in the virtual meeting, will be published on the meeting website. Presentations will be available on the meeting website and on https://www.regulations.gov/, in docket number PHMSA-2022-0077 no later than 30 days following the meeting.
Texas Railroad Commission Critical Infrastructure Announcement
Beginning August 1, 2022, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) is requiring oil and gas operators to file the Form CI-D, Acknowledgement of Critical Customer/Critical Gas Supplier Designation, and Form CI-X, Critical Designation Exception Application, using the RRC Online System at https://webapps.rrc.texas.gov/security/login.do. The deadline to complete online submissions is Thursday, September 1, 2022. Hard copy form or email form submissions will no longer be accepted. Forms CI-D and CI-X are now required to be filed through RRC Online.
Form CI-D would be submitted by an operator of a facility designated as critical acknowledging the facility’s critical status based on 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §3.65 and 16 TAC §25.52.
Form CI-X would be submitted by an operator certifying a facility seeks an exception to critical designation based on 16 TAC §3.65 and Texas Natural Resource Code §91.143. To view the full notice, visit the RRC website.
News Flash! AOPL is now Liquid Energy Pipeline Association
The Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) has changed its name to the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association (LEPA). The new name better reflects the range of products delivered and business models pursued by member companies now and in the future. More information on LEPA and liquid energy pipelines is on their new website: www.liquidenergypipelines.org. Email addresses have changed, too. If you have contacts at AOPL, update the @aopl.org to @liquidenergypipelines.org.
Did you know?
At the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), we know the entire industry is exploring and implementing innovative solutions to reduce GHG emissions from operations. As a reminder, the INGAA membership announced a set of Climate Change Commitments in January 2021 that outline actions that member companies and other industry leaders can take to reach the goal of reaching net-zero GHG emissions from natural gas transmission and storage by 2050 while maintaining pipeline integrity and safety. INGAA also released a Climate Report as a follow-up to those commitments last fall that highlights many of the actions members have already taken to reduce GHG emissions from natural gas infrastructure. Learn more here!
Coastal and Marine Operators Pipeline Industry Initiative
Coastal and Marine Operators Pipeline Industry Initiative (CAMO) is a non-profit that is working to raise awareness of 811 for submerged pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and inlet waters. RCP has mentioned CAMO in our newsletters in the past and it’s time to give them another shout out for the good work they are doing. If any of you Really Cool People are not familiar with the Coastal and Marine Operators Pipeline Industry Initiative, click here for more information.
Following the Corpus Christi propane line that was hit during dredging operations in 2020, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations to PHMSA included assistance from CAMO. Specifically in Safety Recommendation P-21-018:
“In collaboration with Coastal and Marine Operators and the Council for Dredging and Marine Construction Safety, develop guidance for excavators to clearly identify proposed dredging boundaries for dredging projects before notifying one-call centers by either physically marking the boundaries where practicable, or identifying the boundary with accurate location data.”
The NTSB included additional recommendations to PHMSA and the Council for Dredging and Marine Construction Safety.
The Enforcement Corner
The Enforcement Corner summarizes recent PHMSA enforcement actions, indicating where PHMSA is putting its enforcement efforts and the fines they are proposing for various types of violations.
In June 2022, PHMSA issued 6 WLs, 6 NOAs, and 3 NOPVs accompanied by $149,900 in proposed fines. Significant proposed fines were attributed to the following code sections:
- $55,200 – 49 CFR 195.452(g)(1)(xxi) – Integrating Information into IM Program
- $61,400 – 49 CFR 195.579(b)(3) – Internal Corrosion Coupons
- $33,300 – 49 CFR 192.477 – Internal Corrosion Control Monitoring
- Pipeline operators may disagree in whole or in part with each proposed violation cited by PHMSA.
- Proposed Civil Penalties (PCP) may be reduced or eliminated before an enforcement action becomes final.
- A Corrective Action Order (CAO) usually addresses urgent situations arising out of an accident, spill, or other significant, immediate, or imminent safety or environmental concern.
- A Notice of Amendment (NOA) is frequently a result of a difference of opinion regarding written procedure requirements.
- A Notice of Proposed Safety Order (NOPSO) addresses pipeline integrity risks that may not constitute a hazardous facility requiring immediate corrective action (see Corrective Action Order described above),but do need to be addressed over time.
- A Notice of Probable Violation (NOPV) is not proof that a violation actually occurred.
- A Proposed Compliance Order (PCO) frequently documents actions the pipeline operator already planned to do.
- Warning Letter (WL) is an official notice by PHMSA that an operator needs to make improvements but that no further enforcement is proposed for those findings at this time.
RCP maintains a detailed database of all PHMSA enforcement actions dating back to 2007 and is routinely asked for data analysis of various enforcement actions. For more information on how RCP can assist with enforcement action data analysis services, contact Jessica Foley.
Need to respond to a PHMSA enforcement action?
Need to know if your enforcement action is an outlier, or par for the course?
RCP maintains a detailed database of all PHMSA enforcement actions and their resolution which enables us to compare and contrast individual enforcement actions to nationwide actions and trends. We can help put things into context to ensure an effective reply for each citation. For more information on how RCP can assist with enforcement action data analysis services, contact Jessica Foley.
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