DOT Pipeline Compliance News

June 2007 Issue

In This Issue

PHMSA Issues SNPRM for Low-Stress Hazardous Liquid Pipelines in Rural Locations

PHMSA has issued a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) for low stress hazardous liquid pipelines located in rural locations. This follows the original Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued on September 6, 2006 that addressed new regulatory requirements for Regulated Rural Gathering Lines and Regulated Low Stress Lines (reference RCP’s October 2006 Newsletter).

In response to the PIPES Act, PHMSA has decided to take a two-phased approach to regulating low-stress hazardous liquid pipelines. In phase one, PHMSA proposes to apply all existing regulations found in 49 CFR 195 for those low-stress pipelines 8 5/8 inches or greater in diameter located in or within ˝ mile of an Unusually Sensitive Area (USA). In phase two, PHMSA will initiate a separate rulemaking to apply Part 195 to all remaining unregulated rural low-stress pipelines. Gathering lines are not addressed in the SNPRM and the requirements proposed for those lines remain as described in the September 6 2006 NPRM.

Some key areas of interest in this SNPRM include the following:

  1. Once a pipeline meets the applicability criteria proposed in 195.12, all of the Part 195 regulations will apply instead of the limited set of regulations proposed in the September 6 2006 NPRM. The applicability criteria for these hazardous liquid pipelines are as follows:
    1. Pipelines with a nominal diameter of 8 5/8 inches or more
    2. Is located in or within ˝ mile of a USA
    3. Operates at a maximum operating pressure corresponding to a stress level equal to or less than 20 percent. If the stress level is unknown or the pipeline is not constructed with steel pipe, a pressure equal to or less than 125 psig.
  2. Reporting requirements found in Subpart B are extended to all currently unregulated rural low-stress pipelines. These include annual reports, safety-related condition reports, and accident reports.
  3. Although the buffer size was increased to ˝ mile for applicability determination, operators will be allowed to utilize comprehensive spread analysis for integrity management HCA analysis.
  4. Phase two will review corrosion control requirements to determine if any modifications, such as requiring cleaning pigs, are necessary on a broader scale.
  5. Allows for limited relief to implementation of certain integrity management requirements for operators who choose to abandon their low stress pipelines due to economic burdens associated with the IM assessment. To qualify for this relief, an operator of a low stress pipeline that carries oil from a production facility at a rate lower than 14,000 barrels per day (this is not an average flow rate) must notify PHMSA of its decision to abandon the pipeline due to the economic burden of the IM assessment. PHMSA will then evaluate the notification in consultation with the Department of Energy, as appropriate, to analyze the potential energy impact of the loss of the pipeline.

PHMSA is accepting written comments until June 18, 2007 on the proposed regulatory changes. For more information, contact Jessica Roger.

Will the Proposed Safety Requirements for Rural Low-Stress Pipelines in Unusually Sensitive Areas affect your pipeline operations?

RCP can conduct a detailed USA analysis of your low-stress liquid pipelines to determine if this SNPRM will affect your company. For more information, contact, Jessica Roger.

MMS Notice to Pipeline ROW Holders in the OCS Coastal Zone Management Program Requirements for OCS ROW Pipeline Applications

The Minerals Management Services (MMS) has issued NTL 2007-G20 to provide notice and assistance regarding compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) regulations at 15 CFR 930, Subpart D, as they pertain to OCS ROW pipeline applications to the MMS, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region (GOMR). Effective date: May 25, 2007.

Subpart D of 15 CFR 930 sets forth specific requirements concerning the implementation of Federal consistency provisions of the CZMA for activities requiring Federal licenses and permits and delineates the responsibilities of applicants, MMS, and affected States. Title 15 CFR 930.53(a) requires all State agencies to develop a list of Federal license or permit activities that affect any coastal use or resource, including reasonably foreseeable effects outside of its coastal zone, and which the State agency wishes to review for consistency with its Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP). This list must be included as part of each State’s CZMP, and the Federal license or permit activities must be described in terms of the specific licenses or permits involved.

All of the Gulf States and some of the Atlantic States have identified OCS ROW pipeline applications as a “listed” activity requiring consistency review. Therefore, the MMS GOMR will not approve an ROW pipeline application until each such affected State has:

  • given a general concurrence for the activities [15 CFR 930.53(b)], or
  • concurred with the consistency certification accompanying the application, or
  • been conclusively presumed to concur with the certification accompanying the application.

This NTL supersedes NTL No. 2002-G15, which was effective December 20, 2002.

For a copy of NTL 2007-G20, contact Jessica Roger.

EPA Extension for SPCC Compliance Dates

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Final Rule to extend the dates by which facilities must prepare or amend Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans, and implement those Plans. Under 40 CFR §112.3, this action extends the SPCC compliance dates for all facilities until July 1, 2009.

This action allows the EPA time to promulgate further revisions to the SPCC rule before owners and operators are required to prepare or amend, and implement their SPCC Plans. EPA expects to propose further revisions to the SPCC rule later this year.

For a copy of this SPCC extension, contact Jessica Roger.

Need to update your SPCC plan?

RCP has developed hundreds of SPCC plans for all types of facilities and is intimately familiar with all the relevant regulations and guidance documents. For assistance with your SPCC plan revisions, contact Jessica Roger at RCP.

TRRC New Chapter 18 – Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention Back to Top

The Texas Railroad Commission staff has recommended adoption of §§18.1 – 18.12 of the new Chapter 18, entitled Underground Pipeline Damage prevention (with changes to the proposed versions published December 22, 2006) 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.

The new rule is effective September 1, 2007.

The 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 a copy of the adopted 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, contact Jessica Roger.

NTL No. 2007-G16 Effective Date: May 14, 2007 Hurricane and Tropical Storm Effects Reports to MMS

The Minerals Management Service recently issued Notice to Lessees and Operators (NTL) No. 2007-G16, effective May 14, 2007, concerning reporting requirements of hurricane and tropical storm effects for pipeline and oil production facilities on the OCS. This NTL supersedes NTL No. 2006-G19, effective October 25, 2006, on this subject. It provides clarification on using the eWell Permitting and Reporting System to report hurricane and tropical storm effects information, specifies the information included in the various hurricane and tropical storm reports, updates contact information, and updates a regulatory citation.

For a copy of NTL 2007-G16, please contact Jessica Roger.

RCP Services Spotlight: Integrity Management Implementation Services and Ongoing, Long-Term Support

RCP still provides the same Professional Engineers and Regulatory Experts you have come to rely on for all your compliance needs, as well as implementation assistance and ongoing, long-term support. From data mining and data entry to the yearly maintenance of DOT required Operation & Maintenance manuals and Operator Qualification programs, RCP has the people, the know-how, and the tools to assist you with implementing your programs from start to finish.

  • IMP Implementation & Ongoing Support Services
    • Anomaly tracking
      • ILI / dig sheet validation
      • Discovery and repair date validation
      • Repair method recommendation
    • Rstreng, Rstreng modified, B31G analysis
    • ECDA / ICDA / SCCDA plan development
    • Repair plan development
    • Data integration
      • Scroller plots
    • Risk Profile Analysis
    • Updates to risk model and assessment plan
  • MAOP — RCP has the Big Answer to a Big Problem
    • RCP’s MAOP and MOP analysis tools can simplify the management of your MAOP and maintain the data every day, every year.
    • MAOP / MOP data mining
    • MAOP integration into GIS
  • Task Tracking Tools for IMP Tasks and Audit Findings
    • User-friendly, web based program:
      • Design workflow processes
      • Identify one-time and recurring tasks
      • Communicate task deadlines and requirements via email and website
      • Query task status, generate compliance reports
  • Ongoing Miscellaneous Support
    • Alignment Sheets Updates
    • APDM implementation
    • HCA analysis
    • Release flow analysis
    • Program Updates
    • Training
    • Temporary / Onsite Supplementary Staffing

If you would like information regarding RCP’s Implementation Services or other support, e-mail Jessica Roger or call (832) 255-7809.

Clean Water Act Definition of “Waters of the United States”

EPA and the Corps of Engineers have jointly issued a legal memorandum on the EPA website, June 5, 2007, that interprets the June 19, 2006 Supreme Court decision in the consolidated cases Rapanos v. U.S. and Carabell v. U.S. (known as the “Rapanos” decision).

The guidance is being released to Corps of Engineers and EPA field offices to ensure nationwide predictability, reliability, and consistency in identifying wetlands, streams and rivers subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The EPA/Corps guidance reflects the agencies’ intent to provide maximum protection for the Nation’s aquatic resources under the CWA as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Rapanos. To ensure such decisions are made in a timely manner, the agencies have released concurrently with the guidance a Memorandum of Agreement laying out a process with specific short timeframes, when necessary, for reaching interagency agreements on jurisdictional calls. In addition, a series of questions and answers provides additional information.

The agencies will assert and decide jurisdiction over several water categories. The agencies generally will not assert jurisdiction over swales or erosional features (e.g., gullies, small washes characterized by low volume, infrequent, or short duration flow) and ditches (including roadside ditches) excavated wholly in and draining only uplands and that do not carry a relatively permanent flow of water. A significant nexus analysis will be applied by the agencies to tributaries to determine its affect on navigable waters.

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

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