DOT Pipeline Compliance News

February 2004 Issue

In This Issue

DOT Pipeline Compliance / Gas Integrity Management Workshop April 6-8, 2004 – Houston Includes updates on the new Gas Pipeline Integrity Management regulations published on Dec 15, 2003 recent and guidance for Operator Qualification and Public Awareness Programs.

RCP will conduct a 3-day workshop on DOT Pipeline Regulations on April 6-8th in Houston. Day 1 of this workshop will present an overview of all the current DOT regulations for pipeline operators. Day 2 will review recent regulatory initiatives for pipelines such as SPCC requirements, operator qualification, public awareness programs, pipeline security, as well as, gas and liquid pipeline integrity management developments. Day 3 is dedicated to the latest regulations and information necessary for Gas Pipeline Integrity Management. This workshop is suitable for all levels of pipeline regulatory expertise. We have conducted several of these seminars in the past, and have received excellent feedback. We expect this workshop to fill up rapidly. Early registration and group discounts are available. You can register or find additional information on our website here.

TPSSC (gas) and THLPSSC (liquid) Meetings

Meetings of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (TPSSC) and the Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (THLPSSC) will be held from Tuesday, February 3 to Thursday, February 5, 2004, at the Washington-Dulles Airport Marriott Hotel, 45020 Aviation Drive, Dulles, Dulles, Virginia. The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) will provide briefings on pending rulemakings and regulatory initiatives. The advisory committees will discuss and vote on various proposed rulemakings and associated risk assessments.

Members of the public may attend the meetings. An opportunity will be provided for the public to make short statements on the topics under discussion. Anyone wishing to make an oral statement should notify Jean Milam, (202) 493-0967, not later than January 16, 2004, on the topic of the statement and the length of the presentation. The presiding officer at each meeting may deny any request to present an oral statement and may limit the time of any presentation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Whetsel, OPS, (202) 366-4431 or Richard Huriaux, OPS, (202) 366 4565, regarding the subject matter of this notice.

Integrity Management Plan Up-to-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive Integrity Management Plans for both liquid and gas pipelines. Click Here if you would like information on RCP’s Integrity Management Services and receive a copy of our FREE Integrity Management CD.

OPS Releases Final Rule Requiring Annual Reports for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) released in January the final rule requiring the hazardous liquid pipeline operators to submit an annual report (69 FR 537 January 6, 2004). “This action requires operators of pipeline systems subject to RSPA’s hazardous liquid pipeline safety regulations to prepare and file annual reports containing information about these systems. This data will provide the basis for more efficient and meaningful analyses of the safety status of hazardous liquid pipelines. RSPA’s Office of Pipeline Safety (RSPA/OPS) will use the information to compile a national pipeline inventory, identify and determine the scope of safety problems, and target inspections.”

The new rule is as follows:

§ 195.49 Annual report.
Beginning no later than June 15, 2005, each operator must annually complete and submit DOT form RSPA F 7000–1.1 for each type of hazardous liquid pipeline facility operated at the end of the previous year. A separate report is required for crude oil, HVL (including anhydrous ammonia), petroleum products, and carbon dioxide pipelines. Operators are encouraged, but not required, to file an annual report by June 15, 2004, for calendar year 2003.

49 CFR 195.49 will become effective February 5, 2004. The required reporting form can be downloaded from RCP’s website here through the DOT Gateway.

Pending Audits?

Has the DOT notified you of a pending audit? RCP can provide confidential internal auditing to help ensure that your facilities are up to the agency’s latest standards.
Click Here.

Periodic Underwater Inspections: Comment Period Extended

The Office of Pipeline Safety has issued a notice to extend the comment period to March 10, 2004 for the proposed amendment (see the January 2004 DOT Pipeline Compliance News) to the pipeline safety regulations to require operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to have procedures for periodic inspections of pipeline facilities in offshore waters less than 15 feet deep or crossing under a navigable waterway. These inspections would ensure that the pipeline is not exposed or a hazard to navigation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: L.E. Herrick by phone at (202) 366-5523, by fax at (202) 366-4566, or by e-mail at, regarding the subject matter of this proposed rule. General information about RSPA’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) programs may be obtained by accessing OPS’s Internet page at

Need A Security Plan or Audit?

We have the expertise to develop a security plan and perform risk assessments for pipeline and terminal facilities to meet recent DOT Hazmat Transportation & Pipeline regulations. We can also assist you in USCG security plans for dock facilities and vessels. Please contact Jessica Roger for more information.

DOT/OPS Issues Final Gas Pipeline Integrity Management Rule

As noted in our newsletter last month, DOT/OPS issued pipeline integrity management rule for gas transmission pipelines on December 12, 2003. The rule is contained in a new Subpart O of §192. DOT/OPS has established a new website at containing the rule’s text and other relevant gas integrity management topics.

Some key dates associated with the new rule:

Effective date of the Rule February 15, 2004
Complete written program December 17, 2004
Complete initial integrity assessments for 50% of covered segment mileage December 17, 2007
Complete initial integrity assessments for remaining covered segment mileage December 17, 2012
Reassessment of a covered segment utilizing a prior assessment as its Baseline Assessment December 17, 2009
Discovery of a condition Maximum 180 days after completing integrity assessment

One of the most important elements of the new rule is the identification of transmission pipeline segments located in HCA’s. Operators are required to identify HCA’s in the vicinity of its pipelines and determine the impact of its pipeline on those identified HCA’s. Key to identifying an HCA is determination of a potential impact circle based on pipe size, pressure and product transported. This is a completely different identification process to that used by Liquid Operators.

RCP has developed and / or assisted pipeline operators with 28 pipeline integrity management programs to-date. Our breadth of experience enables us to develop quality integrity management plans, on time and within budget. If you require assistance with any portion (or all) of your integrity management program, please contact our Vice President of Business Development, Mr. Dan Shelledy, at

Gas and Hazardous Liquid Gathering Lines: Clarification of Rulemaking Intentions and Extension of Time for Comments

This notice clarifies RSPA/OPS’s rulemaking approach to gathering lines regulation and explains the type of information RSPA/OPS is seeking. It also extends the deadline for written comments to March 4, 2004 [Docket No. RSPA-98-4868 (gas), Notice 4; and RSPA-03-15864 (liquid), Notice 2]. All written comments should identify the gas or liquid docket number and notice number stated in the heading of this notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: DeWitt Burdeaux by phone at 405-954-7220 or by e-mail at regarding the subject matter of this notice.

Because of disagreements over the meaning of gas “gathering line” in 49 CFR part 192 , RSPA/OPS has twice proposed to redefine the term. The first proposal was withdrawn (43 FR 42773; September, 1978), and the second (56 FR 48505; September 25, 1991) remains open. In reaction to unfavorable comments on these proposals, RSPA/OPS delayed final action pending the collection and consideration of further information on the gas “gathering line” issue. In contrast, RSPA/OPS has had little difficulty applying the definition of petroleum “gathering line” in 49 CFR part 195.

Following the second proposal to define gas “gathering line,” Congress directed DOT to define “gathering line” for both gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, and, “if appropriate,” define as “regulated gathering line” those rural gathering lines that, because of specific physical characteristics, should be regulated (49 U.S.C. 60101(b)). In furtherance of the open rulemaking proposal and the congressional directives, RSPA/OPS held an internet discussion that focused on a definition offered by the Gas Processors Association (GPA) (Docket No. RSPA-98-4868; 64 FR 12147 ; March 11, 1999).

However, follow-up action stalled because RSPA/OPS and its associated state pipeline safety agencies were concerned that physical pipeline features referenced in the GPA definition were changeable. As a stopgap, while deliberating on a suitable alternative to the 1991 proposal, RSPA/OPS published an advisory bulletin reminding pipeline operators that we would continue to define gas gathering based on historical interpretations and court precedents until further notice ( 67 FR 64447 ; October 18, 2002).

Specific Requests for Comment

Seven gathering line issues that RSPA believes are important are repeated below:

  1. The point where gas production ends and gas gathering begins.
  2. The point where gas gathering ends and gas transmission or distribution begins.
  3. In defining “regulated gathering line,” whether we should consider factors besides those specified by Congress. For example, should we consider population density (by census or house count), or, for hazardous liquid lines, potential for environmental damage.
  4. Whether Part 195 should apply to rural gathering lines that operate at more than 20 percent of SMYS, or that could adversely affect an “unusually sensitive area” as defined in Sec. 195.6? (Note: certain crude oil gathering lines are, by law, exempt from safety regulation.)
  5. If you recommend safety regulations for rural gas or hazardous liquid gathering lines, to which rural lines would the regulations apply and why, approximately how many miles would be covered by the regulations, and what would be the estimated cost per mile of complying with the regulations?
  6. The approximate mileage of rural gathering lines not now covered by Part 195.
  7. Whether safety regulations for gas or hazardous liquid rural gathering lines operating at low stress (e.g., 20 percent or less of SMYS) or a specified pressure for plastic lines should be fewer and possibly less stringent than regulations for other rural gathering lines?

Other Considerations

Non-rural gathering lines. Under Parts 192 and 195, onshore gathering lines are considered rural–and unregulated–if they lie outside the limits of any incorporated or unincorporated city, town, village, or any other designated residential or commercial area, such as a subdivision, a business or shopping center, or community development. Conversely, some gathering lines or portions of lines that are inside these limits–and now regulated–are similar to rural lines in that they are not in, or close to, inhabited areas. Should the risk-based approach to regulating rural gathering lines also apply to the regulation of non-rural gathering lines? If so, assuming population density was the risk-based approach, what reduction in currently regulated mileage might result from particular density levels? What would be the associated savings in cost of compliance?

Compliance time. In the public meetings, RSPA discussed time lines for compliance. What would be the appropriate time for operators to achieve compliance? RSPA has also considered establishing milestones for achieving compliance, including early compliance dates for easily implemented regulations, coupled with longer times for more complex regulations requiring greater capital expenditures. Does this appear to be an appropriate path and, if so, what should these times be and which categories of regulations should fall into which time frames?

Acquiring a pipeline?

RCP can provide due diligence audits to help you ensure that potential compliance issues have been addressed before the sale is final. Click Here.

SPCC Deadlines Extended by EPA (REMINDER)

EPA extended (68 FR 18890), by eighteen months, the compliance dates in §112.3(a) and (b). The longer time frame is intended to address concerns raised by the regulated community, and also avoids a potentially overwhelming number of individual extension requests.

Summary of Compliance Dates – If an onshore or offshore facility that:

  1. was in operation on or before August 16, 2002 must maintain its existing Plan, but must amend it, if necessary, to ensure compliance, on or before August 17, 2004, and must implement the amended Plan as soon as possible, but not later than February 18, 2005.
  2. becomes operational after August 16, 2002 through February 18,2005, and could reasonably be expected to have a discharge as described in 40 C FR 112.1(b), must prepare a Plan on or before February 18, 2005, and fully implement it as soon as possible, but not later than February 18, 2005.
  3. becomes operational after February 18, 2005, and could reasonably be expected to have a discharge as described in 40 CFR 112.1(b), must prepare and implement a Plan BEFORE it begins operations.

RCP’s Fantastic 1-Page Version of New SPCC Regulation

The deadline for SPCC Plan revisions is fast approaching, February 17, 2006! RCP has developed a 1-page version (in tiny type) of the new SPCC regulations, to be revised as per the April 17, 2003 rule modification. To receive a complimentary copy along with a CD of valuable SPCC Reference Materials Click Here to request additional information.

API RP 1162 Finalized (from API’s website):

The American Petroleum Institute has issued new guidance to U.S. pipeline operators to improve public awareness of pipelines. The purpose of the guidelines, known as Recommended Practice 1162 or Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators, is to reduce pipeline accidents, which are often attributable to digging by homeowners, contractors, and farmers.

Pipeline companies have long conducted public awareness programs, but the federal Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 established new standards. RP 1162 is designed to help companies meet them.

In preparing RP 1162, API collaborated with federal and state regulators and representatives of natural gas and liquid transmission companies and local distribution companies.

Although pipelines are the safest and most economical way to distribute oil and gas, the oil and natural gas industry recognizes that development of open areas means more homes and businesses are close to pipelines. It believes that everyone living or working near pipelines should understand how they work, why they are important, how problems can be avoided, and what to do in the unlikely event something goes wrong.

RP 1162 identifies audiences to be contacted, effective messages and communications methods, and information for evaluating and updating public awareness programs. Potential audiences for a program meeting RP 1162 standards include public officials and local and state emergency response agencies as well as the public and commercial and agricultural excavators. RP 1162 applies to operators of both liquid and gas pipelines.

After reviewing RP 1162, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, an independent agency that investigates transportation accidents, including pipeline accidents, concluded the new guidelines met its recommendations for improved public awareness programs.

To order RP 1162, contact Global Engineering Documents at 1-800-854-7179 or

Need to update your Public Awareness Program?

RCP can help develop your updated plan to meet API RP 1162 standards, and provide turnkey implementation, mail-outs, evaluations, and tracking of your program. For more information call or Click Here.

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) Schedules Spill Response Planning Meetings

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) will conduct 3 information transfer meetings to discuss oil spill response planning and preparedness activities, as shown below:

  • March 3, 2004 Galveston 8:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.
  • March 4, 2004 Port Arthur 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • March 10, 2004 Corpus Christi 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The agenda for the meetings is shown below:

  • Registration 8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
  • GLO Presentations 8:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
  • Break 10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
  • USCG Presentations 10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
  • OSPRA Award Presentations 11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

For a registration brochure, contact the GLO or our Vice President of Business Development, Mr. Dan Shelledy, at

CPM Leak Detection Data Collection

On January 13, 2004, the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) published a notice seeking public comments on a proposed renewal of an information collection for Incorporation by Reference of Industry Standard on Leak Detection. This information collection requires hazardous liquid pipeline operators who have leak detection systems to maintain records of those systems. Pipeline safety regulations do not require hazardous liquid pipeline operators to have computer-based leak detection systems. However, if these operators choose to acquire such software-based leak detection systems they must adhere to the American Petroleum Institute API 1130 when operating, maintaining and testing their existing software-based leak detection systems. The testing information of these systems must be maintained by hazardous liquid pipeline operators.

Comments on this notice must be received no later than March 15, 2004 to be assured of consideration [Docket RSPA-98-4957; Notice 04-01].

Pipeline Integrity Management in High Consequence Areas (Gas Transmission Pipelines) – Correction

OPS has corrected the effective date of a final rule published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2003 (68 FR 69778) [Docket No. RSPA-00-7666; Amendment 192-95]. That rule requires operators to develop integrity management programs for gas transmission pipelines located where a leak or rupture could do the most harm, i.e., could impact high consequence areas (HCAs). The rule requires gas transmission pipeline operators to perform ongoing assessments of pipeline integrity, to improve data collection, integration and analysis, to repair and remediate the pipeline as necessary, and to implement preventive and mitigative actions. The published effective date was in error. This notice corrects the effective date from January 14, 2004, to February 14, 2004, to meet the 60 day requirement for Congressional review of major rules. (5 U.S.C. 801(a)(4).)

Pipeline User Fees for 2004

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is providing pipeline operators the following information to facilitate the process of estimating their Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 User Fees. DOT has not yet billed pipeline operators for FY 2004 User Fees.* FY 2004 appropriations for the DOT have not yet been enacted. DOT is operating under Continuing Resolutions, the most recent of which provides an appropriation through January 31, 2004.

So that operators can estimate their financial liability related to the User Fee Assessment, we are providing the following relevant financial information. Based upon information available to DOT at this time, we have calculated an estimated per-mile assessment, shown below. Please note that this is an estimate, subject to revision based upon the final enacted appropriation. Please also review our final record of mileage by Operator Id. We derived this mileage from submission of the 2004 User Fee Assessment Request for Information Verification, which was due by September 30, 2003. FY 2004 user fee assessments are based upon mileage of record on December 31, 2002.

Per Mile Fee Total Miles
Liquid Operators $100.00 151,610
Gas Transmission Operators $137.00 304,657

While in FY 2003 we found it necessary to fund the Pipeline Safety Fund (PSF) through incremental assessments, we have deemed our current funding levels as sufficient and will not at this time invoice an assessment. We will re-examine our funding levels mid-January 2004, prior to the expiration of the continuing resolution. If at that time an interim assessment is necessary to replenish the PSF, we will provide notification on this website. Please refer to this website often for updated information.

Please note that the User Fee Assessment methodology for LNG operators has not changed. Operators should compute their liability using FY 2003 methodology. LNG operators will be invoiced at the same time we invoice Liquid and Gas Transmission operators.

* Section 60301 of Title 49, U.S. Code (formerly ‘7005 of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) authorizes the assessment and collection of user fees to fund the pipeline safety program activities conducted under U.S. Code 60101 et seq.; by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Annual fiscal year appropriations form the basis of the user fee assessments that are deposited in the Pipeline Safety Fund (PSF). The PSF provides the funding for the DOT’s pipeline safety activities, including the daily operations and program activities of the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS).

RCP Services Spotlight – Pipeline Acquisition Due Diligence & Program Support

RCP has provided expert support for various pipeline acquisitions. A recent project included due diligence on crude assets in West Texas and New Mexico of over 2000 miles of regulated transmission pipeline, gathering systems, and environmental assessments for 38 sites such as breakout, pump, and tank battery stations. The types of services we provide include the following:

  • Environmental Site Assessments (Phase I and Phase II) – An Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is an evaluation of a property and all structures on the property to determine the likelihood of a recognized environmental condition.
  • Pipeline Risk / Liability Assessments – RCP will evaluate the pipeline’s operating and maintenance history, its environment, and other factors to identify any unusual risks or liabilities. This can include, for example, problems identified during previous in-line inspections which have never been corrected.
  • Regulatory Compliance Review – RCP can conduct a comprehensive permit and authorizations audit for all state and federal agencies (air, water, waste, etc.). For pipelines, this includes a review of the existing O&M; Manuals, Operator Qualification Program, and Integrity Management Program to evaluate compliance with existing regulations.
  • Compliance Program Development – RCP can assist you with the integration of these assets into your existing regulatory compliance programs. This may include consolidating programs or in some cases creating new manuals and programs for the new pipeline system.

Please Click Here if you would like information on RCP’s Pipeline Acquisition Support Services.

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