DOT Pipeline Compliance News

December 2015 Issue

In This Issue

TRRC Pipeline Damage Prevention Program

16 TAC Chapter 18

16 TAC Chapter 18

The Railroad Commission of Texas (TRRC) recently took part in the Central Texas Damage Prevention Council’s Live Dig Demo to educate excavators, contractors and homeowners to call 811 before digging. The primary cause of pipeline incidents in Texas comes from digging or excavation and in 29 percent of those incidents, 811 was not called or notified. In Texas, failure to call before digging or incorrectly marking a pipeline location can result in fines of up to $200,000 per day, per violation.

With more than 431,000 miles of pipeline, Texas has the largest pipeline infrastructure in the nation. The TRRC regulates 217,065 miles of intrastate pipeline in Texas. TRRC’s Pipeline Damage Prevention Program enforces the state law requiring excavators and the public to call 811 to have underground pipelines located and marked before beginning any digging project. More information on TRRC’s Pipeline Damage Prevention program can be found on the TRRC website.

[Docket No. BOEM-2012-0076]

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) and the INGAA Foundation have launched a strategic communications campaign called America’s Energy Link designed to educate everyday Americans about the benefits of natural gas and natural gas pipelines. It provides materials that companies and individuals can use to demonstrate to the public how pipelines serve as a vital link to bring energy to homes and businesses, and enhance their quality of life.

These materials can be used by individuals and companies on their social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (at #energylink). At the campaign website users can obtain sample posts and graphics, and sign up receive a monthly newsletter. The website also includes an introductory video.

API PSMS Workshop – Save the Date!

Houston – February 16, 2016

The American Petroleum Institute (API) will be hosting a Pipeline Safety Management System (PSMS) workshop regarding API’s Recommended Practice (RP) 1173 requirements. The Workshop will be held at the Hyatt Regency Houston Galleria (2626 Sage Road, Houston, TX 77056) on February 16, 2016. Additional details will be available soon.

Industry Group Launches Marine Safety and Pipeline Alert System

The Coastal and Marine Operators (CAMO) group launched the world’s first pipeline safety effort and successfully completed the first step in rolling out a major initiative to protect the safety of mariners, the environment and pipelines from being damaged. In August, 2015, CAMO began transmitting Automatic Information System (AIS) safety messages directly to mariners in two charted pipeline corridors in Port Fourchon, significantly improving their situational awareness by providing immediate alerts for vessels in close proximity to submerged pipelines.

The first phase of CAMO’s AIS-based pipeline damage prevention and awareness program was launched in partnership with the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (Port Fourchon) and Oceaneering®, a global provider of engineered services and products primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry. When the PortVision service detects a vessel operating at a speed less than 0.5 knots for three minutes or more within one of these corridors, an addressed, one-time AIS Safety Related Message is immediately transmitted directly to the vessel’s wheelhouse that says, “PIPELINE BELOW.”

These vessel safety messages use existing AIS technology that is already deployed on most commercially operated vessels. The system makes it easier for mariners to know where and when to take protective measures as they transit or operate near submerged pipelines. CAMO originally focused on the Gulf Coast and Gulf of Mexico but quickly found that inland marine assets were also at risk with no protection. They look forward to a successful roll-out in other ports nationwide.

CAMO is a non-profit industry group focused on all aspects of marine safety and was developed with a goal to diminish the gap between onshore and offshore spills, releases, and pipeline damage prevention initiatives. A key component of this group’s mission is to educate marine stakeholders and the public about the risks that damage to offshore utilities and pipelines can pose to personal safety and the environment. Although pipeline operators have vigorous inspection and maintenance programs to insure the integrity of their assets, the risk of third-party damage to a pipeline is a continual threat. Most every company has assets that cross rivers, lakes, bays, etc., and damage prevention programs need to address these situations. Being a member of CAMO and using their materials may help to fill that need.

For more information about CAMO and becoming a member can be found on the CAMO website along with a Marine Safety Video that was made possible by a PHMSA grant.

Save the Dates!

RCP Workshop Schedule for 2017

  • DOT Gas & Liquid Pipeline Workshop: March 21-23 (Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday)
  • Fundamentals of Pipeline Operations Workshop: May 24-25 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • Pressure Test Workshop: June 20-21 (Tuesday & Wednesday)

Visit our training website for updates, registration, and hotel information.

API RP1173 Assessment Services

API recently published a new Recommended Practice (RP) concerning safety management systems for pipelines. API RP 1173 provides pipeline operators with a comprehensive way to make safe operations and continuous safety improvement a constant focus of their operations. The first step for most pipeline operators will be to assess their current safety management system maturity – from nothing in place to a sustainable, improving system. RCP can assist operators in the evaluation of the maturity levels of each element of the recommended practice, and establish an action plan for further development / maturity. Contact Jessica Foley for API RP 1173 Assistance.

PHMSA Incident and Annual Data Analysis

RCP can provide detailed and timely analysis of PHMSA historical incident and annual data for clients needing to compare their performance against the industry averages, respond to press inquiries, or analyze trends. Contact Jessica Foley for more information.

Season’s Greetings from RCP!

RCP would like to thank our valued clients for a wonderful year. We appreciate the opportunities you have given us to serve as your Professional Engineers, Regulatory Experts, and Trusted Partners. We look forward to working with you on even more projects in the years ahead. Best wishes for the holiday season and the New Year, from your friends at RCP.

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