DOT Pipeline Compliance News

July 2021 Issue

In This Issue

PHMSA Update

PHMSA recently provided an update on the agency’s current activities.  Some notes taken from the presentation are provided below.

  • GPAC and LPAC meetings scheduled for October 20-21.  Items likely to be discussed include
    • Class Location NPRM
    • Hazardous Liquid Regulatory Reform
    • Standards IBR Update
  • Safety of Gas Transmission Lines (RIN 2) scheduled to be finalized late 2021. Major Topics under consideration:
    • Repair criteria for both HCA and non-HCA areas
    • Extreme weather inspections
    • Strengthening assessment requirements
    • Corrosion control 
    • Management of change
    • Integrity management clarifications
  • Safety of Gas Gathering Lines (RIN 3) scheduled to be finalized late 2021. Major Topics under consideration:
    • Revision to the definitions for gas gathering (production, gathering, incidental gathering, elimination of RP 80 reference)
    • Data collection for all gas gathering lines (including unregulated gas gathering): Annual reporting and Incident Reporting
    • Appropriate regulations for large diameter-high pressure lines and establish minimum set of requirements for pipelines 8.625 inches in diameter and greater
  • Rupture Detection and Valve Rule scheduled to be finalized late 2021. Major Topics under consideration:
    • Installation of automatic shut-off valves (ASV) or remote controlled valves (RCV) on newly constructed or entirely replaced (2 miles or more) natural gas and hazardous liquid transmission pipelines (with nominal diameters ≥ 6 inches) with the objective of improving overall incident response for new and replaced pipelines
    • Operators must be able to detect ruptures within 10 minutes
    • Valves must be closed within 40 min of detection or as soon as practicable
  • Liquefied Natural Gas NPRM scheduled for mid-2022.  Major Topics under consideration:
    • Revise 49 CFR Part 193 to incorporate current industry developed standards (via NFPA 59A-2019)
    • Address LNG export facilities
    • Address small scale LNG facilities
    • Incorporate other provisions as necessary
    • AGA Petition
    • PIPES Act 2020 Section 110
  • Standards Update scheduled to be discussed at next GPAC/LPAC meeting (October 2021).  Standards to be discussed include:
    • API 5 L   – 46th edition
    • API 1104 – 21st edition
    • B31.8 – Nov 2018
    • B31.8S  – 2016 edition; asks for comments on 2018 edition
    • NFPA 58 – 2020 edition
  • Liquid Pipeline Regulatory Reform to be discussed at next LPAC meeting (October 2021).  Items to be discussed include:
    • Submitting information to PHMSA
    • Response plan clarifications
    • Accident reporting criteria
    • Remote monitoring of rectifiers
    • Corrections to Integrity Management guidance
  • Leak Detection NPRM scheduled for mid-2022.  Major Topics under consideration:
    • Leak detection issues for gas pipelines addressed in Section 113 & Section 114 of the PIPES Act 2020
    • Considering revisions to leak survey frequency, repairs of leak survey and the use of Advance Leak Technology
    • Section 114 contains self-executing provision for operators to minimize releases of natural gas
    • Per section 114, PHMSA is initiating a study on best available practices to minimize leaks
  • Safety of Gas Distribution Pipelines NPRM scheduled for mid-2022.  Major Topics under consideration:
    • Risks related to the presence of cast iron via DIMP
    • Risks related to operation of low-pressure distribution systems
    • Communications during a pipeline emergency 
    • O&M manuals in regard to the handling of over-pressurizations and management of change procedures 
    • Critical records for ensuring proper pressure controls
    • Presence of qualified employees relative to pressure controls
    • Assessments and upgrades for district regulator stations

For a pdf copy of the presentation, contact Jessica Foley.

PHMSA FAQs on 911 Notifications Following Possible Pipeline Ruptures

[Docket No. 2020-0164]

PHMSA is soliciting public comment on draft frequently asked questions (FAQs) intended to clarify existing regulatory requirements that operators of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines and hazardous liquid pipelines alert emergency responders when a pipeline emergency occurs.  The draft FAQs explain that compliance with these existing requirements is best achieved when operators promptly identify a possible rupture and alert emergency responders in the impacted community or jurisdiction through 911 services, or direct contact with emergency responders in areas where 911 services are not available.  The FAQs are posted in the docket.

And for all of you Really Cool People, make sure to check out the new website. It’s easier to use with a simplified commenting process, and an interface that adapts to various screen sizes for mobile devices. Click on the Introduction Video for a quick tutorial on how to navigate the new

Texas Railroad Commission: The Pipeline, Inspection, Permitting, and Evaluation Public Portal

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has launched the Pipeline Inspection, Permitting, and Evaluation System (PIPES) Public Portal. Intrastate pipeline operators can file a plan of correction, safety-related condition reports, integrity notifications, and PS-95 reports online. The public can go online and access documents in the RRC’s pipeline safety inspection process. Users can search for inspections, complaints, and incidents using a variety of criteria, including operator name, location, dates, etc. People requesting documents through the open records process can view the information on RRC PIPES.  To access RRC PIPES, click here.

Stay tuned for information about our upcoming webinar to explain the new Texas RRC Pipeline Portal!

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


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