DOT Pipeline Compliance News

June 2018 Issue

In This Issue

Joint Industry Comments Submitted to Docket

Joint industry comments from API, INGAA, AGA and APGA have been submitted to the docket for the pending notice of proposed rulemaking “Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines: Repair Criteria, Integrity Management Improvements, Cathodic Protection, Management of Change, and Other Related Amendments”. This NPRM is one of three rules that were split out of the original NPRM, commonly known as the Gas Mega-Rule. To read the these comments as well as other comments, go here. The final Gas Piping Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled to discuss the NPRM “Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines” on September 6th and 7th in Arlington, Virginia.

GAO Report on PHMSA / State Inspection Resource Needs

GAO-18-461: Published: May 29, 2018. Publicly Released: May 29, 2018

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recently looked into federal and state responsibilities for interstate pipeline inspections. While PHMSA expanded its inspector workforce by 25% between 2012 and 2017, the agency hasn’t planned for future workforce needs—for example, it hasn’t assessed how states can help with pipeline inspections and safety oversight. GAO has recommended that PHMSA should develop a workforce plan for interstate pipeline inspections that is consistent with leading practices in workforce planning, which should include a consideration of the additional resources and safety oversight that state pipeline officials can provide. DOT concurred with GAO’s recommendation and provided technical comments, which were incorporated as appropriate. The complete report can be found on the GAO’s website.

Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC)

The next GPAC meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Friday, September 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The GPAC meeting will discuss the NPRM, Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Gathering Lines. (See related article in the April 2018 edition of the DOT Pipeline Compliance News: GPAC Summary – Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering NPRM.) The meeting location, agenda and any additional information will be published on the PHMSA Meeting Registration webpage.

Audit of FERC Certification Process

The Office of Inspector General within the Department of Energy has published a report from its recent audit of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Natural Gas Certification Process (a.k.a. a FERC Certificate). Excerpts from that report include:

  • While nothing came to our attention to indicate that natural gas certification applications had been inappropriately approved or disapproved, FERC can take steps to improve aspects of the natural gas certification process
  • . . . we identified four areas for improvement that, if addressed, could aid FERC in more efficiently and effectively managing its natural gas certification process:
    • Process Transparency
    • Public Access to FERC Records
    • Tracking Stakeholder Comments
    • Data Integrity
  • The process transparency and public access issues that we identified above occurred, in part, because FERC had not specifically designed its public-facing systems for use by the general public.
  • Management concurred with the report’s recommendations and indicated that it had either initiated or planned corrective actions to address the issues identified in the report.

The full report can be found here.

Changes to Excavation Damage Prevention Rules in Mississippi

The State of Mississippi has recently revised Title 77 – Public Utilities and Carriers; Chapter 13 – Regulation of Excavations Near Underground Utility Facilities. In addition to various changes to the existing rules on excavation damage prevention, the rule creates a new Design Information Request, requiring response within 7 days by utility owners to a person providing professional services and making a request in preparation for bidding, preconstruction engineering, or other advance planning efforts that do not involve excavation. There is also a new section that includes the creation of a new Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Board charged with enforcement and the creation of an Underground Damage Prevention Fund which will be used by the Board.

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.