DOT Pipeline Compliance News

February 2007 Issue

In This Issue

DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop – March 29, 2007

RCP will be hosting our very popular workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance on March 29 in Houston, TX. Join us for an informative, lively, and interactive workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance. This workshop has been attended by hundreds of pipeline personnel, with excellent feedback. The workshop provides an overview of the DOT pipeline regulations, and is appropriate for people who are new to pipeline regulations, or who could use a refresher.

Introduction to DOT/PHMSA Pipeline Regulations

  • Agency jurisdictions – what does DOT/PHMSA regulate anyway?
    • Important definitions
    • Important letters of clarification from the agency
    • Recent EPA/DOI memorandums of understanding
  • State and Federal program variations, roles and responsibilities
  • Gas and liquid design, construction, operations, maintenance, and emergency response requirements
  • Spill response planning requirements
  • How to monitor rulemaking activity and stay current with your compliance program
  • Discussion of potential rulemaking – liquid gathering rules, controller certification, etc.

Your Instructor: As principal of RCP, Mr. Byrd enjoys a solid reputation for working with the public, corporate management, and regulatory agencies to resolve complex regulatory issues. He serves on various industry association committees, works as an expert witness and consulting expert, and is frequently called upon to comment on current or proposed rulemakings at public and private meetings and conferences.

For additional information, including a seminar brochure, go to our website here.

PHMSA Issues Update of Regulatory References to Technical Standards

PHMSA is amending a final rule published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2006, which updated the pipeline safety regulations to incorporate by reference all or parts of new editions of voluntary consensus technical standards to enable pipeline operators to utilize current technology, materials, and practices. Several omissions and editorial corrections have been identified since this was published. This notice identifies these corrections and makes the final rule effective March 5, 2007. The corrections are summarizes below:

  1. Three editorial corrections are necessary in § 192.1. The spelling of the word “apply” is corrected in the introductory text of paragraph (b), the comma is replaced by a “;” at the end of paragraph (b)(2), and the comma is replaced by “; or” at the end of paragraph (b)(4)(iii).
  2. In Part 192, the restatement of the table of standards incorporated by reference inadvertently deleted API Recommended Practice 80 (API RP 80), “Guidelines for the Definition of Onshore Gas Gathering Lines” (1st edition, April 2000). PHMSA is restating the list of API standards at § 192.7(c)(2) to properly include API RP 80.
  3. Paragraph 192.227(a) incorrectly references “Appendix A.” PHMSA is correcting this to refer to “§ 192.7” and restating the entire paragraph for clarity.
  4. Paragraphs 192.727(g)(2) and 195.59(a) are updated to correctly reference the NPMS homepage at PHMSA is restating these entire paragraphs for clarity.
  5. Paragraphs 192.727(g)(1) and 195.59(b) are removed because the April 10, 2001, deadline to report pipeline facilities abandoned before October 10, 2000, has expired.
  6. Paragraphs 192.727(g)(1), 192.949, 192.951, and 195.59(a) are updated to reference the correct room number for the filing of reports, “Room 2103.” PHMSA restating these entire paragraphs for clarity.
  7. The current version of the gas pipeline safety regulations inadvertently omitted some text in the definition of High Consequence Area in paragraph § 192.903. This is corrected herein by adding back paragraphs (3) and (4) following paragraph (2)(ii) and updating the agency name.
  8. In § 192.949 paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) are corrected to read (a), (b), and (c) and the section heading is revised.
  9. In § 192.951 paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) are corrected to read (a), (b), and (c).

To request a copy of this notice, click here.

Gas Integrity Management FAQ Update

PHMSA has updated the Gas IMP FAQ’s with the following:

FAQ-237: Effect on piping installed after effective date

Question: When must the baseline assessment be completed for piping installed after the effective date of the rule?

Answer: Any newly-constructed gas transmission pipeline placed into service after the effective date of the integrity management rule, February 14, 2004, is considered “newly-installed” for purposes of the rule. Therefore, the baseline assessment on such piping is not due until 10 years following the installation of the pipeline. The same applies to pipe in covered segments that operators replace. In this case, the operator may credit this mileage as “assessed” for determining compliance with the 50% progress milestone. The ten-year due date for conducting the baseline assessment for new pipe would also apply to pipe replaced under this circumstance. This does not, however, relieve the operator of requirements to conduct tests required under other provisions of Part 192 associated with placing pipeline into service.

Integrity Management Services

RCP can assist pipeline operators with ongoing compliance management and engineering associated with your IMP. This includes direct assessment strategies, tool and vendor selection, ILI/ECDA report analysis, corrosion control programs, repair strategies, and IMP/risk model updates. For more information on how RCP can support your ongoing IMP needs, click here.

MMS issues Notice to Lessees for Shallow Water Surveys

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) has issued a Notice to Lessees and Operators and Pipeline Right of Way Holders (2007-G01 effective February 15, 2007) which describes the surveys, reports, analyses, and mitigation that will ensure that the objectives of the shallow hazards program are met. The Shallow Hazards Assessments and Analyses include provisions for the following activities:

  • Exploration Plan and Development Operations Coordination Document
  • Application for Permit to Drill
  • Platform Site Investigation Report
  • Pipeline Application

The pipeline application must include a shallow hazards analysis that assesses the proposed route 150 meters (490 feet) on either side of the centerline to a depth of 23 meters (75 feet) below the seafloor for its entire length except for areas with acoustic void caused by biogenic gas. Depending upon whether or not a pre-installation survey has been completed, the following requirements may apply:

  1. Prepare a shallow hazards report
  2. Discussion of special safety measures
  3. Basis for analysis, including data and reports
  4. Assessment of the seafloor, subsurface, and manmade features
  5. Maps with pipeline route and interpreted hazards
  6. Conduct a site-specific survey using state-of-the-art equipment

For more information or to obtain a copy of NTL 2007-G01, contact Jessica Roger.

Department of Homeland Security Issues Proposed Interim Rule for Chemical Facilities Including Pipelines Connecting to Chemical Facilities

Thanks and credit to AOPL for this information.

Last year, Congress granted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the regulatory authority to establish and require implementation of risk-based performance standards for the security of the nation’s high-risk chemical facilities. The DHS now intends to implement an appropriate regulatory program focusing its resources first on those facilities that present the highest levels of security risk.

The proposed regulations require that chemical facilities and connecting pipeline infrastructure fitting certain profiles complete a secure online risk assessment to assist in determining their overall level of risk. High-risk facilities will then be required to conduct vulnerability assessments and submit site security plans that meet the department’s performance standards. The department will validate submissions through audits and site inspections, and will provide technical assistance to facility owners and operators as needed. Performance standards will be designed to achieve specific outcomes, such as securing the perimeter and critical targets, controlling access, deterring theft of potentially dangerous chemicals, and preventing internal sabotage. Security strategies necessary to satisfy these standards will depend upon the level of risk at each facility.

Comments to the proposed rule are due by February 7, 2006. The proposed rule is available by clicking here.

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.

Extension of Comment Period for EPA Proposed NESHAP Amendment

Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0406

EPA has announced that the comment period on the proposed rule amendments for the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Source Categories: Gasoline Distribution Bulk Terminals, Bulk Plants, Pipeline Facilities, and Gasoline Dispensing Facilities, published on November 9, 2006, is being extended until February 8, 2007, rather than January 8, 2007 (see our December 2006 newsletter for further information on this proposed rule).

Texas Railroad Commission Issues Final Regulations

The Railroad Commission of Texas has adopted amendments to §3.95, relating to Underground Storage of Liquid or Liquefied Hydrocarbons in Salt Formations, and §3.97, relating to Underground Storage of Gas in Salt Formations, with changes to the versions published in the July 21, 2006, issue of the Texas Register (31 TexReg 5723). The Commission adopted these amendments in response to the gas release and fire at the Moss Bluff Hub Partners, LP natural gas storage facility and incidents at several liquid hydrocarbon storage facilities. For a copy of the Texas Register notice and new final rule language, go to this website.

Comments Due for Texas Railroad Commission Proposed Excavation Near Pipeline Regulations

Comments are due by February 20, 2007 for the Railroad Commission of Texas proposed new regulations in Chapter 18 of the TAC entitled Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention relating to

  • Scope, Applicability, and General Provisions;
  • Definitions;
  • Excavator Notice to Notification Center;
  • Excavator Obligation to Avoid Damage to Underground Pipelines;
  • Operator and Excavator Obligations with Respect to Positive Response;
  • General Marking Requirements;
  • Excavator Marking Requirements;
  • Operator Marking Requirements;
  • Options for Managing an Excavation Site in the Vicinity of an Underground Pipeline;
  • Excavation within Tolerance Zone;
  • Reporting Requirements; and
  • Penalty Guidelines

As currently drafted, the proposed new rules in Chapter 18, with some stated exceptions, would apply to all persons engaged in or preparing to engage in the movement of earth in the vicinity of an intrastate underground pipeline containing flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas, a hazardous liquid, or carbon dioxide. However, the legislation amending Texas Natural Resources Code, §117.012, and Texas Utilities Code, §121.201, specifically authorizes the Commission to exempt other entities or occupations if the Commission determines in its rulemaking process that exempting those entities or occupations from the rules is either in the public interest or not likely to cause harm to the safety and welfare of the public. The Commission gives notice that one result of this rulemaking may be the exemption of additional entities and/or activities from the new rules in Chapter 18.

Although there are some specific requirements for both excavators and pipeline operators set forth in the proposed new rules, generally the Commission attempted to avoid provisions that would either duplicate or contradict the mandates of Texas Utilities Code, Chapter 251, the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act. There may be persons exempt from the provisions of Texas Utilities Code, Chapter 251, that would be required to comply with this chapter.

For additional information, or for a copy of the proposed rule, contact Jessica Roger.

Damage Prevention Plans

RCP can develop or update your Damage Prevention plan. For more information about how RCP can assist you with your Damage Prevention Plan, click here.

Government / Industry Pipeline Research & Development Forum

PHMSA is conducting their research and development forum for government and industry stakeholders in New Orleans, February 7-8, 2007. The purpose of this forum is to:

  1. Develop a consensus agenda of technical gaps & challenges for future R&D;
  2. Identify both short and long term research objectives for liquid/gas and transmission and gas distribution pipelines;
  3. Conduct basic road mapping on identified technical gaps so solicited research are addressing the need effectively; and
  4. Provide details of the ultimate research goals so appropriate end users are factored into project scopes.

To find out more about the agenda or to register, go to this website.

THLPSSC Teleconference on Low Stress and Rural Liquid Pipeline Regulations

[Docket No. PHMSA-98-4470]

The Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (THLPSSC) will meet on Monday, February 12, 2007, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST by telephone conference call to vote on a proposed rule to extend pipeline safety regulation to rural onshore hazardous liquid gathering lines and low stress lines. Discussion will include comments received on the proposed rule published on September 6, 2006, and the recently passed Congressional direction on the subject of this rulemaking.

This proposed rule partially addresses a statutory requirement of the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement, and Safety Act of 2006 (PIPES Act of 2006). On December 29, 2006, the President signed the PIPES Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-468), which requires PHMSA to extend regulation to all low stress hazardous liquid pipelines. To accomplish this, PHMSA needs additional information on the economic and energy impacts extension of the regulations will have on the operators of these pipelines. Many of these may be small operators. While this information is gathered, PHMSA intends to act on the current proposal to extend safety regulation to currently unregulated rural onshore gathering lines and certain unregulated low stress pipelines. This will expedite safety protection for these pipelines.

The pipeline safety law requires PHMSA to seek the THLPSSC’s advice on the reasonableness, cost-effectiveness, and practicability of proposed safety standards for hazardous liquid pipelines. The pipeline safety law also requires PHMSA to submit the cost-benefit analyses and risk assessment information on each proposed standard to the appropriate advisory committee. THLPSSC evaluates the merits of the data and, when appropriate, provides recommendations on the adequacy of the cost-benefit analyses.

Members of the public may attend the meeting at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, in room 2103. Members of the public who want to make an oral statement should notify Cheryl Whetsel at (202) 366-4431 or by e-mail at before February 5. You may send or deliver your comments to DOT’s Docket Facility or send them electronically by the Web page All comments should reference docket number PHMSA-98-4470.

PHMSA will issue a final rule based on the proposed rule, the comments received from the public, and the vote and comments of the advisory committee.

Common Ground Alliance 811 Stakeholders Summit February 6th, Houston, TX

The Common Ground Alliance, CGA, is holding a free informational Summit regarding an update on the efforts of the Common Ground Alliance as well as the national 811 awareness campaign. As the implementation deadline for 811 rapidly approaches, the CGA has been preparing to develop and launch the national campaign.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Results from a national market research survey conducted with: – General Population – Professional Excavators – One Call Center Executive Directors – CGA Membership
  • Strategic Plan for introducing 811
  • Sample Creative Campaign Elements
  • National Launch Concepts and opportunities for regional launch events
  • Websites for additional information
  • Overview of 811 implementation on a national scale
  • What you can do to support 811

For more information and registration, contact Khrysanne Kerr.

Common Ground Alliance Announces Launch of New National 811 One-Call Website

January marked the official launch of the web site. The national campaign launch is set for May 1st and the web site will continue to provide all stakeholders with the most up-to-date information on getting involved with the campaign. CGA will continue to post additional content to the web site as important milestone events occur. Additional content will include launch specific information as well as radio & television Public Service Announcements available for download. This link provides details of the website lauch and other 811 campaign updates.

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