DOT Pipeline Compliance News

December 2016 Issue

In This Issue

Self-Audits Now Available for TRRC Regulated Industries

For the first time, the Railroad Commission of Texas (TRRC) has approved guidelines for its regulated industries to conduct voluntary audits of their facilities and operations under TRRC jurisdiction. The voluntary self-audits allow operators to ensure they are protecting public safety and the environment by proactively identifying and, if found, correcting possible TRRC rule violations.

Under the self-audit guidelines, operators may claim immunity from TRRC oil and gas violations through self-identification, reporting and remediation. Immunity applies to administrative penalties assessed by the TRRC. Immunity will not apply to violations determined by the TRRC to be intentionally or knowingly committed, recklessly committed or which resulted in substantial economic benefit giving the violator a clear advantage over business competitors. Additionally, operators may not take more than six months to conduct a self-audit, unless they receive TRRC approval for a longer self-audit timeframe.

The self-audit guidelines were developed by the Commission’s Office of General Counsel. They were adopted by the Commissioners August 9th, in an open conference pursuant to the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act. For more information on conducting self-audits contact audit.notice@rrc.texas.govor click here.

GPAC Meeting Notice / Gas Mega Rule Discussion

JANUARY 11-12, 2017

PHMSA announced that the public meeting of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, also known as the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC), scheduled for December 7-8, 2016, has been rescheduled for January 11-12, 2017. Notice of the original meeting appeared in the Federal Register on November 22, 2016, (81 FR 83795).

At this meeting, the committee will begin to consider the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), “Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines” as published in the Federal Register (81 FR 20722) on April 8, 2016. This NPRM proposes to revise the Pipeline Safety Regulations applicable to the safety of onshore gas transmission and gathering pipelines; changes to the integrity management (IM) requirements and issues related to non-IM requirements; and modifications to the regulation of onshore gas gathering lines.

Registration and additional information may be found on PHMSA’s public meeting website.

For a copy of the meeting notice published in the Federal Register with a list of agenda items, contact Jessica Foley.

Meeting of the Voluntary Information-Sharing System Working Group

[DOCKET NO. PHMSA-2016-0128]

PHMSA has announced a public meeting of the newly created Voluntary Information-Sharing System (VIS) Working Group on Monday, December 19, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EST, at a location yet to be determined in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. The VIS Working Group will convene to discuss administrative procedures and consider the development of a voluntary information-sharing system. The VIS Working Group is a newly created advisory committee established in accordance with Section 10 of the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 (Pub. L. 114-183). The VIS Working Group will consider and provide recommendations to the Secretary as specifically outlined in section 10 of Public Law 114-183:

  • The need for, and the identification of, a system to ensure that dig verification data are shared with in-line inspection operators to the extent consistent with the need to maintain proprietary and security-sensitive data in a confidential manner to improve pipeline safety and inspection technology;
  • Ways to encourage the exchange of pipeline inspection information and the development of advanced pipeline inspection technologies and enhanced risk analysis;
  • Opportunities to share data, including dig verification data between operators of pipeline facilities and in-line inspector vendors to expand knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of in-line inspection technology and methodologies;
  • Options to create a secure system that protects proprietary data while encouraging the exchange of pipeline inspection information and the development of advanced pipeline inspection technologies and enhanced risk analysis;
  • Means and best practices for the protection of safety- and security-sensitive information and proprietary information; and
  • Regulatory, funding, and legal barriers to sharing the information described in paragraphs (a) through (d).

The Secretary will publish the VIS Working Group’s recommendations on a publicly available DOT Web site. The VIS Working Group will fulfill its purpose once its recommendations are published online.

This meeting will be open to the public, but will not be web cast. Members of the public who wish to attend in person are asked to register on the PHMSA Public Meeting Website no later than December 16, 2016, in order to facilitate entry and guarantee seating. Members of the public who attend in person will also be provided an opportunity to make a statement during the meeting. The meeting location, agenda and any additional information will be published on the VIS Working Group and registration page. Any documents presented will be available on the meeting Web site within 30 days following the meeting. For information about the meeting, contact Cheryl Whetsel by phone at 202-366-4431 or by email at

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.

HAWC Annual Race Against Violence


RCP is a proud sponsor of the Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC), a local non-profit organization committed to helping individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence move their lives forward. They offer a variety of services including shelter, counseling and advocacy. (They seek social change to end domestic and sexual violence through community awareness and education.)

Please join RCP as we support HAWC by participating in the 29th Annual Race Against Violence on the morning of Saturday, February 25th. Click on the link here to join our team and help us bring about positive change in our community!

2017 Pipeline Conference News

The New Year is all about change and there are two industry conferences that have changed venues for 2017: PPIM and WRGC (note: the API PL conference always changes its location each year, so that doesnÕt count). Check out the details below. RCP will be attending the following conferences. We hope to see you there!

Pipeline Pigging and Integrity Management (PPIM) Conference
February 27 – March 2, 2017
George R. Brown Convention Center – Hall A3 / Houston, TX
RCP Booth #329

The industry’s only forum devoted exclusively to pigging for maintenance and inspection, as well as pipeline integrity evaluation and repair, this event will draw engineering management and field operating personnel from both transmission and distribution companies concerned with improved operations and integrity management. Click here for a copy of the Registration Brochure.

API Pipeline Conference and Control Room Forum
April 25 – 27, 2017
Hyatt Regency Hill Country, San Antonio, TX

API’s Pipeline Conference is the premier event of its kind in the U.S. åÊHeld every year in April the conference provides attendees with an opportunity to hear about the latest in pipeline-related developments. Once again, RCP is a proud sponsor of this event and we look forward to seeing you there.

Western Regional Gas Conference (WRGC)
August 29 – 30, 2017
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay in San Diego, CA
Registration Now Open!

Who should attend? Regulatory and Code Compliance personnel, Gas Engineers, Pipeline Construction Supervisors, Technical and Standards Engineers/writers, Customer Service Supervisors, Measurement and Control personnel, Damage Prevention personnel, Integrity Management managers, Gas Control supervisors, operations and engineering personnel.

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.

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.