DOT Pipeline Compliance News

February 2018 Issue

In This Issue

PHMSA Control Room Management FAQs

UPDATED 1/16/18

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) provides written clarification of the pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR Parts 190-199) in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs), and other guidance materials. PHMSA has updated the FAQs for Control Room Management in the areas of Roles and Responsibilities, Operating Experience, Training, and Compliance and Deviation. The FAQs can be found on PHMSA’s website.

Meeting on the Voluntary Information-Sharing System Working Group

[Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0128]

PHMSA has announced a public meeting of the Voluntary Information-Sharing System (VIS) Working Group on February 28, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET at a location yet to be determined in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. The VIS Working Group agenda will include briefings on topics such as mandate requirements, integrity management, data types and tools, in-line inspection repair and other direct assessment methods, geographic information system implementation, subcommittee considerations, lessons learned, examples of existing information-sharing systems, safety management systems, and more. As part of its work, the committee will ultimately provide recommendations to the Secretary, as required and specifically outlined in Section 10 of Public Law 114-183, addressing:

  • 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 website and in the docket. The VIS Working Group will fulfill its purpose once its recommendations are published online.

The meeting location, agenda and any additional information will be published on the VIS Working Group and registration page. The meetings will not be webcast; however, presentations will be available on the meeting website and posted on the E-Gov website under docket number PHMSA-2016-0128 within 30 days following the meeting. Members of the public who wish to attend in person should register no later than February 23, 2018, and will have an opportunity to make a statement during the meetings.

For information about the meeting, contact Cheryl Whetsel by phone at 202-366-4431 or by email at

GPAC Teleconference Meeting

MARCH 2, 2018

A public meeting of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, also known as the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) will be held on March 2, 2018 by teleconference from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. The GPAC will meet to continue discussing topics and provisions for the proposed rule titled “Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines.” In particular, GPAC will discuss the following:

  • Strengthening IM Assessment Methods
  • Assessments outside of HCAs
  • Record Retention Requirements
  • Repair Criteria (inside and outside of HCAs)

To participate in the teleconference you will need to register in advance on the pipeline advisory committee meeting and registration page no later than February 15, 2018. PHMSA will post the final agenda, and any additional information on the pipeline advisory committee meeting and registration page about 15 days before the meeting takes place. Anyone wishing to make a statement on the topics discussed during the meeting should send an email to Each statement should not exceed two minutes.

Underground Gas Storage Compliance

How does RCP deliver a comprehensive solution for natural gas storage operational integrity assurance?

Experienced Resources
  • Highly respected underground storage & risk management SME’s (the past Chair of PRCI’s and AGA’s underground storage committees is on our staff)
  • Professional engineering support
  • Written program development / improvement from knowledgeable technical standards developers (Our lead technical writer was the editor for the API RP1170 development team.)
State-Of-The-Art Tools (TaskOp™)
  • Program gap assessment and corrective action tracking
  • Storage risk assessment
  • Integrity assessment and remediation process tracking

For more information regarding our capabilities or to request an online demonstration of our TaskOp™ underground gas storage solution, contact Jessica Foley.

TRRC Adopts New “Call Before You Dig” Requirements

Before you pick up a shovel, remember to pick up your phone. The Railroad Commission of Texas (TRRC) damage prevention rules require anyone planning to dig deeper than 16 inches to call 811 before digging to prevent damage to underground pipelines. This call prompts pipeline operators to mark their underground natural gas or hazardous liquid pipelines.

House Bill 1818, the Commission’s Sunset Bill passed by the 85th Legislature last year, gives TRRC authority over damage incidents on interstate pipelines that cross state boundaries. Previously, the Commission’s damage prevention authority was limited to intrastate pipelines that begin and end in Texas.

Effective February 12, 2018, excavators are required to notify the pipeline operator by calling the 811 notification center as soon as possible about any damage incidents, but no later than one hour after an incident. Excavators will also be required to call 911 if any natural gas or other product is released when an underground pipeline is struck. The amendments extend the deadline for pipeline operators and excavators to file a damage report with the Commission from the current 10 days to 30 days.

More information on these new rule requirements can be found here, under “Chapter 18. Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention.”

Excavation Job Planning – New Damage Prevention Toolbox Topic Now Available Online!

Excavation Job Planning is the latest toolbox topic to be added to the Excavation Damage Prevention Toolbox website at The website is free and the new toolbox topic, as well as others, such as Excavation Monitoring and Observation, ROW Patrol and Response, ROW Usage by Landowner, One-Call Notification Screening, Operator One-Call Ticket Management Systems, and many more topics are available for downloading. The latest topic on Excavation Job Planning contains items to consider when developing a job plan to excavate safely around underground facilities to help drive down first and second party damages. Ideas for additional topics can be submitted directly to

2018 Industry Conference Schedule

July 22 – 25, 2018
Hilton Portland Downtown
Portland, OR

The American Public Gas Association (APGA) Annual Conference is the largest gathering of municipal natural gas professionals across the nation. From the educational sessions with key industry figures generating new ideas to networking opportunities with hundreds of colleagues from across the nation, the APGA Annual Conference is the event of the year for city- and community-owned natural gas utility professionals and industry experts.

July 30 – August 1, 2018
Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina
Tampa, Florida

The SGA Operating Conference format is a focused round table discussion. Attendees learn smart practices and lessons learned from their peers with 22 concurrent facilitated sessions to choose from. Breakout sessions with presentations from subject matter experts open the conference following the keynote address. Make plans to visit the exhibit hall, which will include over 100 services and product service organizations showcasing the latest products and services available to the industry.

July 30 – August 3, 2018
Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans

RCP is once again a proud sponsor and exhibitor at this year’s conference, which has been referred to as the “Premier Pipeline Safety Conference.” We are excited to showcase our newest developments and all our services for Pressure Test support.

August 28 – 29, 2018
(Note: Updated conference dates!)
M Resort in Henderson, Nevada

The Western Regional Gas Conference provides a forum for the free exchange of information between natural gas companies and their state and federal regulators, and with associated industry organizations, consultants, manufacturers and vendors that serve the pipeline industry.

August 21 – 22, 2018
AT&T Conference Center in Austin, TX

This year the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) combines its two largest regulatory conferences, the Pipeline Safety Conference and the Oil & Gas Regulatory Conference, into one event. Registration is now open for the 2018 RRC Regulatory Conference: Environmental Protection, Pipeline Safety and Well Filings. Early bird registration ends July 23rd. For additional conference information and to register, visit the RRC’s website.

October 10, 2018
San Luis Hotel, Galveston

October 18-19, 2018
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans

Each year since 2006, the Pipeline Safety Trust has hosted pipeline safety conferences. What makes them unique among pipeline conferences is the mix of attendees, who come with experience as the affected public, the pipeline industry, and government regulators. All these people come together to discuss barriers to safer pipelines.

October 30 – Nov 1, 2018
The Chattanooga Hotel
Chattanooga, TN

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.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our services with you. 


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