DOT Pipeline Compliance News

March 2003 Issue

In This Issue

OCS Crane Requirements

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) has incorporated by reference into its regulations the Fifth Edition of the American Petroleum Institute’s Specification for Offshore Cranes (API Spec 2C). MMS has taken this action to establish a minimum design standard for cranes installed on fixed platforms on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) after the effective date of this rule. The rule also requires lessees to equip all existing cranes installed on OCS fixed platforms with anti-two block safety devices. This final rule will ensure that OCS lessees use the best available and safest technologies for the design and construction of future cranes installed on the OCS.

MMS is responsible for the regulation of cranes, booms, and other material-handling equipment installed on fixed platforms according to the 1998 MMS/United States Coast Guard (USCG) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). MMS currently regulates cranes by requiring lessees and operators to comply with the American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practice for the Operation and Maintenance of Offshore Cranes (API RP 2D), Fourth Edition. As outlined in the 1998 MOU, USCG is responsible for cranes, booms, and other material-handling equipment installed on mobile offshore drilling units and floating production systems. In short, MMS regulates cranes installed on fixed platforms and the USCG regulates cranes installed on floating facilities.

This rule is effective March 17, 2003. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wilbon Rhome, Industrial Specialist, Operations and Analysis Branch, at (703) 787-1587. The full text of the rule can be downloaded from RCP’s website here through the Response Planning Gateway.

Louisiana Rules for Pipeline Integrity Management

As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the State of Louisiana publishes their own set of pipeline regulations, and does not simply incorporate the federal rules by reference. Intrastate pipelines in Louisiana must comply with the state rules, where they are more strict than the federal rules. Persons with Louisiana intrastate pipelines should note that Louisiana changed several important items concerning pipeline integrity management programs for pipeline operators with more than 500 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines. So, if you have prepared a pipeline integrity management program that includes Louisiana intrastate pipelines, you must carefully check the state rules to ensure that you are complying with those requirements.

RCP has prepared a document that summarizes the differences between the Louisiana and Federal PIM program requirements. For a copy, contact Dan Shelledy at

O&M Manual Up-To-Date?

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Homeland Security Advisory System – Brochure

The Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness Association has prepared a full-color brochure concerning the current homeland security advisory levels, and what they mean to employers and members of the general public. It gives several recommended actions for each security level (yellow, orange, etc.), and is a useful reference for all members of the public – and their employers. It can be downloaded can be downloaded from RCP’s website here through the Response Planning Gateway.

DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop – March 19-20, 2003 – Houston Includes update on the new Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 signed into law on Dec 17, 2002

RCP will conduct a 2-day workshop on DOT Pipeline Regulations on March 19th and 20th in Houston. Day 1 of this workshop will present an overview of all the current DOT regulations for pipeline operators. Day 2 will review recent regulatory initiatives such as pipeline integrity management, hazardous liquid corrosion control requirements, high consequence area (HCA) analysis and operator qualification. Day 2 will also include a review of the new Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, which includes several important self-implementing requirements that will affect pipeline operators. This workshop is suitable for personnel who need a general introduction to DOT pipeline regulatory requirements, or who need an update on recent and proposed DOT Pipeline regulatory initiatives. We have conducted this type of seminar several times, and have received excellent feedback each time. We expect this workshop to fill up rapidly. Early registration and group discounts are available. Additional information is available on our website here. Note that registrations must be received by March 3 to get the early registration discount.

Withdrawal of MMS Proposed Rule – Pipeline Repairs

Editor’s Note: File this under good news / bad news. The good news is that the proposed rule is being withdrawn. The bad news is that a complete re-write of the MMS pipeline rules is in the works, which will look a lot like the DOT / OPS rules. You may want to forward this note to any co-workers who are responsible for MMS-regulated pipelines on the OCS.

MMS has withdrawn a proposed rule that was published in the Federal Register on August 28, 2001 ( 66 FR 45236 ). The proposed rule required all lessees, lease operators, and pipeline right-of-way holders to submit in writing the measures they plan to take and the procedures they plan to follow to ensure the safety of offshore workers and to prevent pollution before beginning any operation that involves cutting into a pipeline or opening a pipeline at a flange. Issues raised during the comment period for the proposed rule led MMS to reevaluate its pipeline permitting procedures. MMS determined that a rewrite of its Subpart J pipeline regulations is a more appropriate course of action. Based on this determination, MMS is withdrawing the proposed rule. The withdrawal of this rule will not diminish the safety of offshore operations.

MMS is authorized to issue and enforce rules to promote safe operations, environmental protection, and resource conservation on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). (The OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq.) defines the OCS.) Under this authority, MMS regulates pipeline transportation of mineral production and rights-of-way for pipelines and associated facilities. MMS approves all OCS pipeline applications, regardless of whether a pipeline is built and operated under Department of the Interior (DOI) or Department of Transportation (DOT) regulatory requirements. MMS also has sole authority to grant rights-of-way for OCS pipelines. The respective responsibilities of DOI and DOT regarding OCS pipelines are defined in a 1996 Memorandum of Understanding between the two Departments.

The comments MMS received on this rule have been helpful in calling attention to certain aspects of their pipeline regulatory program that need upgrading and redefining. Moreover, the review of MMS internal permitting procedures pointed out the need for increased clarification regarding overlapping responsibilities with DOT for OCS pipelines. Therefore, MMS concluded that rather than continue with this rulemaking, they should review and rewrite the regulations under 30 CFR part 250, subpart J -Pipelines and Pipeline Rights-of-Way. MMS will rewrite the new subpart J in close cooperation with DOT’s Office of Pipeline Safety to ensure, to the extent possible, that the two agencies have compatible regulations governing OCS pipelines. MMS will subsequently publish the new subpart J as a proposed rule.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carl W. Anderson, Operations Analysis Branch, at (703) 787-1608 or e-mail at

Air Permit Needs?

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MMS Safety Alert on Pipeline Safety Joints

On February 24, 2003, the Minerals Management Service issued Safety Alert No. 211 concerning Pipeline Safety Joints. The text of the alert is contained below:

Hurricane Lili and Tropical Storm Isidore recently swept through the Gulf of Mexico, damaging several pipelines. Mudslides occurred in the West Delta and South Pass areas as a result of the storms. The pipeline in the West Delta mudslide area that was equipped with safety joints experienced separation as a result of the mudslide that precipitated from the storms. Pipeline spillage was minimal or non-existent as a result of the activation of the check valves on the safety joint and other design measures.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) requires that pipelines and related equipment on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf be designed for efficiency, environmental protection, and operational safety. The intent of this Safety Alert is to remind lessees, right-of-way holders, contractors, and others in the offshore oil and gas industry that the use of safety joints in combination with other appropriate design measures on pipelines traversing designated mudslide areas is a proven method in pipeline spill prevention.

For additional information, contact: Elizabeth Komiskey at (504) 736-2418.

OQ-2 Teleconference

The MidWest Energy Association is hosting a teleconference on March 7, 2003 from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. central time to discuss continuing issues with the Operator Qualification rule. The “OQ-2 Working Group” was formed as a result of the issues of concern identified at the January 22, 2003 Office of Pipeline Safety public meeting in San Antonio. To efficiently work towards resolution of these issues, the “OQ-2 Working Group” has taken steps to assure stakeholders are kept informed and have the opportunity to provide input.

What Will Be Discussed on This Audio Conference:

  • Review of the February 25-27, 2003 Office of Pipeline Safety public meeting in Houston
  • Path forward initiatives update

Participants will be able to ask questions of the panelists. Note: this audio conference is open to pipeline operators and contractors only.

In order to efficiently provide you with your teleconference handouts and call-in phone number, please register by March 5. Late registrations will be processed on a best effort basis. The registration fee for this audio conference is $45. If you plan to have multiple locations participating, each location will need to register separately.

Questions?: Contact Sandy Driscoll (952/832-9915 ext. 119;

Audio Tapes: This audio-conference will be recorded and audio tapes with materials will be available after this conference. Cost for a tape to those registered for the conference is $15. Cost for a tape and handout materials for those not registered for the conference is $45.

RCP Website hang-ups

Our website was recently changed to a new server. There were a few problems with e-mails that were processed by our website during this process. If you attempted to contact us (to sign up for a newsletter or register for a seminar), and haven’t heard back from us – your message is probably lost in etherspace. Please try again. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Interested in Web-Based Compliance Management Systems?

RCP has the latest technology to help manage all of your permits, inspections, procedures, and data requirements and neatly organize them into one overall compliance assurance system. This includes regulatory tasking, data management, and exception reporting. Because it is web-based, there are no IT issues to struggle through to get started. An institutional memory is created of the compliance history and ongoing compliance requirements, despite operator or personnel turnover.  Click Here

New Southeast Louisiana Area Contingency Plan

A revised Southeast Louisiana Area Contingency Plan has been approved by the US Coast Guard and the State of Louisiana. It can be accessed at The document is available in both Word and Acrobat formats. Your oil spill response plans (aka OPA90 plans, or ICPs) must be consistent with the applicable ACPs, as described below.

33 CFR � 154.1030 General response plan contents. (applicable to marine dock facilities)

(f) The information contained in a response plan must be consistent with the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) (40 CFR part 300) and the Area Contingency Plan(s) (ACP) covering the area in which the facility operates. Facility owners or operators shall ensure that their response plans are in accordance with the ACP in effect 6 months prior to initial plan submission or the annual plan review required under � 154.1065(a). Facility owners or operators are not required to, but may at their option, conform to an ACP which is less than 6 months old at the time of plan submission.

49 CFR �194.107 General response plan requirements. (applicable to DOT pipelines)

(c) Each response plan must be consistent with the National Contingency Plan (NCP) (40 CFR part 300) and each applicable Area Contingency Plan (ACP). An operator must certify that it has reviewed the NCP and each applicable ACP and that its response plan is consistent with the existing NCP and each existing applicable ACP.

Definition of “Waters of the United States”: extension of comment period

On January 15, 2003, the Department of the Army (Army) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on the Clean Water Act (CWA) regulatory definition of “Waters of the United States” ( see our February, 2003 newsletters). That ANPRM requests public input on issues associated with the definition of “waters of the United States” in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) (SWANCC). It also solicits information or data from the general public, the scientific community, and Federal and State resource agencies on the implications of the SWANCC decision for jurisdictional decisions under the CWA. The input received from the public in response to the ANPRM will be used by the agencies to determine the issues to be addressed and the substantive approach for a future proposed rulemaking addressing the scope of CWA jurisdiction.

The Army and EPA sought responses to the ANPRM by March 3, 2003. In response to comments from the public requesting additional time to fully analyze the issues, gather requested information, and prepare comments, the comment period is being extended to April 16, 2003 (Docket ID No. OW-2002-0050).

Pipeline Integrity Management in High Consequence Areas (Gas Transmission Pipelines): Notice of public meeting

Editor’s note: this meeting has not been “officially announced” as of newsletter publication time, but we have heard from reliable sources that it will occur as described below. The on-line registration site mentioned below does not yet contain this meeting information, but should soon.

OPS will conduct a one-day public meeting to address issues raised at a recent workshop jointly organized by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) Foundation and the American Gas Association (AGA) on the proposed 49 CFR Part 192.763, “Pipeline Integrity Management in High Consequence Areas”. This meeting is intended to give participants a better understanding of the proposed rule. OPS representatives will give an overview of the proposed regulation and will fully discuss identification of high consequence areas and moderate risk areas; confirmatory direct assessment methods; assessment schedules, and criteria for the performance approach to the program. RSPA/OPS is also seeking information on the costs and benefits of implementing the proposed requirements.

The meeting is open to all. There is no cost to attend. This meeting will be held on Friday March 14, 2003, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Marriott At Metro Center hotel located at 775 12th Street, NW, Washington, DC; Tel: 202-737-2200); fax: 202-347-5886; website: You may register electronically for this meeting at: Please make your reservations as soon as possible as hotel rooms are limited. For other details on this meeting contact Janice Morgan at 202-366-2392.

The preliminary agenda for this meeting is as follows:

  • Pipeline Safety Legislation – The impact of the recently passed legislation on integrity management program requirements.
  • Overview of Proposed Regulation – The intent and structure of the proposed rule.
  • HCA Identification – The refinement of the definition of high consequence areas and moderate risk areas in the proposed rule.
  • Risk Assessment, Plan Development, and Data Integration – Proposed risk assessment, with particular emphasis on confirmatory direct assessment methods, and the proposed plan development process, identification of high consequence areas and moderate risk areas; confirmatory direct assessment methods; assessment schedules, and criteria for the performance approach to the program.
  • IMP Implementation & Data Integration.
  • Costs and Benefits – The draft regulatory evaluation.
  • Open Forum & Q&A.;

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