DOT Pipeline Compliance News

January 2023 Issue

In This Issue


RIN2 Compliance Enforcement Discretion

In relation to its final rulemaking entitled “Pipeline Safety:  Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines: Repair Criteria, Integrity Management Improvements, Cathodic Protection, Management of Change, and Other Related Amendments,” PHMSA is providing notice that it will exercise regulatory enforcement discretion against operators of existing onshore gas transmission pipelines in service as of the publication date of the Final Rule on August 24, 2022.  PHMSA has determined additional agency guidance and time to ensure timely, careful, and complete implementation of the Final Rule would provide additional safety benefits to the public.  The enforcement discretion will remain in place, with certain exceptions, until February 24, 2024.

See the Enforcement Discretion for complete details.


PHMSA Pipeline Safety: CY 2023 D&A Random Rate and MIS Reporting

[Docket No. PHMSA-2022-0137]

PHMSA announced that it has determined that the minimum random drug testing rate for covered employees will be reduced to 25 percent during calendar year 2023 (effective January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023). Operators are reminded that drug and alcohol testing information must be submitted for contractors who are performing or are ready to perform covered functions. For calendar year 2022 reporting, the username and password for the Drug and Alcohol Management Information System will be available in the PHMSA Portal.


California State Fire Marshall Amends Enforcement Proceedings

The California State Fire Marshall has updated their hazardous liquid regulations associated with enforcement proceedings.  Several new sections have been added to State Fire Marshall code under Chapter 14 – Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety, Article 6. Enforcement Proceedings.  These new and amended regulations address how hazardous liquid pipeline operators and the State Fire Marshall address enforcement processes when potential non-compliance issues are identified, including:

  • New definitions
  • Warning letters
  • Notice of probable violations
  • Corrective action orders
  • Consent orders
  • Immediate closure orders
  • Response options
  • Petitions for reconsideration
  • Civil penalties
  • Final orders.

For more information or a copy of the amended regulations, contact Jessica Foley.


Texas Railroad Commission 2023 Pipeline Mileage Fee Due April 1

Pipeline operators need to prepare for the 2023 pipeline mileage fee that is due on April 1. The annual mileage fee is calculated using pipeline permit mapping information supplied by the operator. The miles in each permit of Group A and Group B pipelines are added together and rounded up to the nearest mile. The sum is used to calculate the annual mileage fee.

Operators will use the number of miles permitted as of December 31, 2022, to calculate their 2023 pipeline mileage fee. The deadline for payment without incurring late penalties is April 1 and can be paid through the Pipeline Online Permitting System starting on January 1.


Texas Railroad Commission Notice to Pipeline Operators: Gathering Line Mileage Fee and Permit Clarification

On November 15, 2021, PHMSA published a final rule titled “Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines: Extension of Reporting Requirements, Regulation of Large, High-Pressure Lines, and Other Related Amendments.” The final rule makes changes to the federal pipeline safety regulations to improve the safety of onshore gas gathering pipelines. Operators of certain Type C and Type R gathering lines are required to meet compliance deadlines in the new rule of November 16, 2022 (49 CFR §192.8) and May 16, 2023 (49 CFR §192.9).

Due to these federal rule changes related to gas gathering under 49 CFR Part 192, the Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) would like to provide clarification regarding how to classify these newly regulated gathering lines in accordance with 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §3.70, relating to Pipeline Permits. At this time, all pipeline facilities defined as Type C and Type R gathering lines per 49 CFR §192.8(c) shall continue to pay the mileage fee associated with Group B pipelines in accordance with 16 TAC §3.70(i)(1)(B).

TRRC has updated “A Guide to Shapefile Submissions” to reflect that pipeline facilities defined as Type C and Type R gathering lines should continue to be coded as “N” for the “Texas Regulatory Pipeline Status” required field until further notice from TRRC.

Click here for TRRC’s Notice to Pipeline Operators. For questions regarding this notice, please contact TRRC’s Pipeline Safety Permitting Section at pops@rrc.texas.gov.


Arkansas Gas Pipeline Regulations Update

[Docket No. 22-020-R]

Arkansas updated its gas pipeline regulations to harmonize them to the federal gas pipeline regulations. Arkansas, in general, republished the federal requirements into the state regulations. However, there are exceptions. In some of these exceptions, Arkansas did not adopt the federal rules as written in 49 CFR 191 and 192 and instead either paraphrased or summarized the federal requirements or did not adopt certain federal requirements. Examples of where the federal and state regulations differ include but are not limited to not including Type C gathering lines in the updated regulation, developing new failure pressures for general metal loss, and incorporating metal loss as an identified risk in the IMP.

RCP’s SME has created a “Changes Summary Table” for these Arkansas Gas Reg updates. For a copy of the summary table, contact Jessica Foley.


The Enforcement Corner

The Enforcement Corner summarizes recent PHMSA enforcement actions, indicating where PHMSA is putting its enforcement efforts and the fines they are proposing for various types of violations.

In November 2022, PHMSA issued 1 WL, 6 NOAs, and 5 NOPVs accompanied by $254,700 in proposed fines. Significant proposed fines were attributed to the following code sections:

  • $46,600 – 49 CFR 195.452(b)(5) – Integrity Management
  • $58,400 – 49 CFR 195.563(a) – Cathodic Protection
  • $27,100 – 49 CFR 195.573(a)(1) – Monitoring External Corrosion
  • $103,600 – 49 CFR 195.406(b) – Maximum Operating Pressure
  • $19,000 – 49 CFR 195.583(a) – Atmospheric Corrosion Control

Please note:

  1. Pipeline operators may disagree in whole or in part with each proposed violation cited by PHMSA. 
  2. Proposed Civil Penalties (PCP) may be reduced or eliminated before an enforcement action becomes final.
  3. A Corrective Action Order (CAO) usually addresses urgent situations arising out of an accident, spill, or other significant, immediate, or imminent safety or environmental concern.
  4. A Notice of Amendment (NOA) is frequently a result of a difference of opinion regarding written procedure requirements.
  5. A Notice of Proposed Safety Order (NOPSO) addresses pipeline integrity risks that may not constitute a hazardous facility requiring immediate corrective action (see Corrective Action Order described above),but do need to be addressed over time.
  6. A Notice of Probable Violation (NOPV) is not proof that a violation actually occurred.
  7. A Proposed Compliance Order (PCO) frequently documents actions the pipeline operator already planned to do.
  8. Warning Letter (WL) is an official notice by PHMSA that an operator needs to make improvements but that no further enforcement is proposed for those findings at this time.

RCP maintains a detailed database of all PHMSA enforcement actions dating back to 2007 and is routinely asked for data analysis of various enforcement actions. For more information on how RCP can assist with enforcement action data analysis services, contact Jessica Foley.

Need to respond to a PHMSA enforcement action?
Need to know if your enforcement action is an outlier, or par for the course? 

RCP maintains a detailed database of all PHMSA enforcement actions and their resolution which enables us to compare and contrast individual enforcement actions to nationwide actions and trends.  We can help put things into context to ensure an effective reply for each citation.  For more information on how RCP can assist with enforcement action data analysis services, contact Jessica Foley.


Did you know?

INGAA and its members are strongly committed to ensuring the security, reliability, and resilience of natural gas transmission pipelines, and work diligently to secure and protect their cyber and physical assets every day. Whether the threat stems from a natural event, criminal or terrorist activity, or a cyber attack, the design and operational attributes of the natural gas pipeline system reduce the likelihood of an adverse effect on a locality or the nation. INGAA and its members take the security of our systems very seriously, and work collaboratively and regularly with government agencies to share information about threats and best practices for protecting and enhancing critical energy infrastructure. Read more: https://lnkd.in/eT2eVjcf


2023 Conference News

PPIM 2023 (Pipeline Pigging & Integrity Management Conference)
February 6-10, 2023 | George R. Brown Convention Center | Houston, TX

RCP Booth #520 / Be our Guest and Click Here for a Free Exhibition Pass.
Stop by RCP’s booth and talk to our integrity team and learn more about how we can help support your pipeline integrity and compliance programs. PPIM Registration and conference details can be found at https://ppimconference.com/registration/

API 2023 Pipeline Conference and Expo
May 1-3, 2023 |JW Marriott Nashville, TN

Registration is now open. Program details and the schedule at a glance is posted on API’s event page.

2023 AGA Operations Conference and Biennial Exhibition
May 2-4, 2023 | Gaylord Texas Resort & Convention Center | Grapevine, TX

The annual AGA Operations Conference is the natural gas industry’s premier gathering of natural gas utility and transmission company operations for the sharing of technical knowledge, ideas and practices to promote the safe, reliable, and cost-effective delivery of natural gas to the end-user. The Operations Conference is AGA’s largest forum including 100 speakers and over 120 technical presentations that run the gamut of topics, such as gas measurement, operations advocacy, safety, environment, storage, engineering, construction and maintenance, gas control, supplemental gas, corrosion control and piping materials. The 2023 exhibition will be held in conjunction with the conference. The exhibition attracts approximately 250 domestic/international vendors.


DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshops (In Person)

Join us January 31 – February 2, 2023 in Houston at our corporate office and dedicated training facility for an informative, lively, and interactive workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance topics.

Topics to be addressed in the workshop include:

  • An overview of DOT/OPS pipeline compliance requirements
  • State and Federal agency roles for pipeline safety
  • PHMSA Jurisdiction
  • PHMSA Inspections and Enforcement Processes
  • Engineering Concepts and Stress/Strain Relationships; %SMYS
  • Design Requirements
  • Construction Requirements
  • Corrosion Control Concepts and Requirements
  • Operations and Maintenance Requirements
  • Emergency Response Requirements (including spill response planning requirements for liquid pipelines)
  • Damage Prevention Programs
  • Operator Qualification Programs
  • Drug and Alcohol Programs
  • Public Awareness Programs
  • Integrity Management (gas and liquid) Programs
  • Control Room Management Programs

We will also discuss the PIPES Act of 2021; recent Advisory Bulletins from PHMSA; and new, pending and proposed rulemakings.

Each attendee will receive an electronic copy of the presentation as well as applicable handouts, and applicable regulations and voluminous reference materials including rulemakings, letters of interpretation, and other guidance documents.

To register for this workshop, click here.


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

Sincerely,

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