DOT Pipeline Compliance News

March 2005 Issue

In This Issue

RCP’s VP of Project Development to Speak at the Southern Gas Association’s Public Awareness Workshop, March 23-24

RCP’s VP of Project Development, Susan Waller, will be presenting API’s Recommended Practice 1162 at the Southern Gas Association’s upcoming Public Awareness Workshop in Charlotte, NC, on March 23-24. She will explain the development of this new Recommended Practice, and will provide attendees with samples of written public awareness programs and brochures designed for the four stakeholder audiences. For more information on the upcoming presentation or on RCP’s Public Awareness services, contact Susan at

OPS Issues New Liquid Pipeline Integrity Management Inspection Protocols

On February 8, 2005 RSPA/OPS issued new integrity management inspection protocols, dated December 31, 2004, replacing those dated January 21, 2003. The new protocols contain revisions reflecting the experience gained by the inspection teams using the January 21, 2003 protocols. The new protocols contain three new protocols questions, #’s 7.01, 8.05 and 8.06 that consolidate numerous similar questions found in the old protocols. Many of the protocol questions are the same as in the earlier version but many also contain revisions requiring more detail in specific processes and documentation of results. The new protocols are available on RSPA/OPS’s hazardous liquids integrity management website. RSPA/DOT also noted that the Consolidated Protocols are expected to by updated by the end of 2005.

Integrity Management Plan Up-to-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive Integrity Management Plans for both liquid and gas pipelines. Click Here if you would like information on RCP’s Integrity Management Services and receive a copy of our FREE Integrity Management CD.

GAS IMP Oversight Implementation and Inspection Protocol Workshop Presentation Materials Available

The Research and Special Programs Administration’s (RSPA) Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) cosponsored a workshop on January 19-20, 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss the oversight implementation of the Gas Integrity Management program and the Inspection Protocols. The workshop provided a detailed review and discussion of Gas Pipeline Integrity Management Inspection Protocols as posted on the Gas Integrity Management Public Web Site at The RSPA/OPS and NAPSR gathered issues presented at the workshop needing additional clarification or guidance material development for the implementation of the rule oversight program.
The materials can be found at include:

  1. Slides.
  2. Consolidated question and answer listing.
  3. Links to view the webcast (available through March 31, 2005).

Operator Qualification Programs – Direct final rule

The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) has issued a Direct Final Rule concerning new Operator Qualification program requirements for personnel training, notice of program changes, government review and verification of programs, and use of on-the-job performance as a qualification method. This Direct Final Rule goes into effect July 1, 2005, if OPS does not receive any adverse comment or notice of intent to file an adverse comment by May 2, 2005. The affected rule sections are given below, with the modifications shown in underscore for new text, and overstrike for deleted text. The rule revisions are identical for both the gas and liquid pipeline regulations.

§192.805 Qualification program. (§195.505 in liquid rules)

Each operator shall have and follow a written qualification program. The program shall include provisions to:

  1. Identify covered tasks;
  2. Ensure through evaluation that individuals performing covered tasks are qualified;
  3. Allow individuals that are not qualified pursuant to this subpart to perform a covered task if directed and observed by an individual that is qualified;
  4. Evaluate an individual if the operator has reason to believe that the individual’s performance of a covered task contributed to an incident as defined in Part 191;
  5. Evaluate an individual if the operator has reason to believe that the individual is no longer qualified to perform a covered task;
  6. Communicate changes that affect covered tasks to individuals performing those covered tasks; and
  7. Identify those covered tasks and the intervals at which evaluation of the individual’s qualifications is needed.;
  8. After December 16, 2004, provide training, as appropriate, to ensure that individuals performing covered tasks have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the tasks in a manner that ensures the safe operation of pipeline facilities; and
  9. After December 16, 2004, notify the Administrator or a state agency participating under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601 if the operator significantly modifies the program after the Administrator or state agency has verified that it complies with this section.

§192.809 General. (§195.509 in the liquid rules)

  1. Operators must have a written qualification program by April 27, 2001. The program must be available for review by the Administrator or by a state agency participating under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601 if the program is under the authority of that state agency.
  2. Operators must complete the qualification of individuals performing covered tasks by October 28, 2002.
  3. Work performance history review may be used as a sole evaluation method for individuals who were performing a covered task prior to October 26, 1999.
  4. After October 28, 2002, work performance history may not be used as a sole evaluation method.
  5. After December 16, 2004, observation of on-the-job performance may not be used as the sole method of evaluation.

Operator Qualification Update – B31Q Comments

The ASME B31Q committee charged with developing the new pipeline operator qualification standard made the draft version available for public comment on February 2, 2005. Although the comment period is now closed, there have been numerous comments made to the B31Q committee. A meeting was held in Houston last week to consider the comments submitted. However, RCP understands that the committee was not able to complete this review and plans to meet again in April to review and consider the remaining comments. A few comments submitted to the committee include:

  • Provide a general provision to allow operator’s an option to “provide alternative processes for meeting the mandatory requirements of the standard provided the alternative processes can be justified”.
  • Allow the operator the option of devising an alternative approach to handling “Shall” statements as long as the operator is prepared to justify the approach.
  • Allow for individuals qualified under a previous OQ Program to be considered qualified under this standard until the time they need to meet the subsequent qualification requirements of the standard.
  • Move the responsibility of the pipeline operator to administer, oversee and audit the training and evaluation programs of contractors to the contractor for their employees. Contracts state that personnel performing work on the pipeline must be qualified and existing programs list the qualification methods the operator finds acceptable.
  • Remove Integrity Management “data analysis or decision making” tasks. This also includes gathering, analysis, evaluation and management of pipeline integrity data.
  • Agree with including “activities and tasks conducted during the construction, installation, and commissioning of a pipeline” as long as proper clarity is provided in the key terms throughout the standard that relate to the type of facility that is impacted or the nature of the task intended to be included.
  • The non-mandatory task list was not reviewed in great detail due to lack of time. However, a comment was made to extend the one year interval for qualification of Control Center personnel.
  • Provide “elements” of a training program rather than “requirements”
  • Give more latitude to expand subsequent qualification intervals.
  • Allow greater flexibility in selecting clearly defined evaluation methods for subsequent qualification evaluations.
  • Remove the portability section of the standard and include a statement in the program describing the process for accepting portable qualifications, including those from industry associations and other third party qualification providers.
  • Less prescriptive section for determining the programs effectiveness in meeting expected goals.
  • Leave the section on Program Communication and Managing Change brief. Require programs to gave a process and give guidance on what type of program information and changes require communication. Allow the operator to establish the type of communication and documentation that works best for their plan and operations.

Questions Regarding OPA 90 Containment Credits?

RCP can evaluate your plan in light of the more specific (and generous) guidance about secondary containment credits. Click Here for more information.

On January 5, 1993, OPS published an interim final rule which established oil spill response planning requirements for onshore pipeline operators. The OPS is now adopting the interim rule as a final rule. As a result of public comments made in response to this issuance, amendments have been made to various portions of the rule. These amendments include a range of items, including English language requirements, clarification of drill requirements, and specification of the qualified individual, among others.

One of the more significant changes that the OPS is implementing is to secondary containment credits. The interim final rule allows operators to reduce the calculated worst case discharge from breakout tanks, due to secondary containment. However, the interim rule is not specific as to the amount of credit that an operator is allowed. The final rule adopted by the OPS specifies the amount of prevention credit that an operator is allowed to claim, up to 75% of the worst case discharge volume; the credits are incorporated into 49 CFR 194.105(b) as a new subparagraph, (4). Higher credits will be considered by the OPS on a case-by-case basis.

For more information contact Jessica Roger at (888) 727-9937 or

Are Your Response Plans Current?

RCP can provide audits and updates to help ensure that your spill and emergency response plans are current and meet federal and state requirements. Click Here.

Texas Pipeline Regulations – Proposed Revisions

The Texas Railroad Commission proposes amendments to Title 16, Part 1 of the Texas Administrative Code, §8.1, relating to General Applicability and Standards, §8.201, relating to Pipeline Safety Program Fees, and §8.210, relating to Reports.

Section 8.1 concerns minimum safety standards and adopts by reference the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) pipeline safety standards. The current rule adopts the federal pipeline safety standards as of April 9, 2004; the proposed amendment will show this date as September 14, 2004. This will incorporate into the Texas rules the recent federal amendments numbered 192-96, 192-97, 192-98, 195-82, 195-81 (with subsequent correction), 199-22, and amendment number 21 to 49 CFR Part 199, which was inadvertently omitted from a previous TRRC rule update.

The proposed amendments in §8.201(a) correct a typographical error; in subsection (b)(1) and (2) change the calendar year from 2003 to 2004 and the deadline by which the annual pipeline safety program fee is to be filed from March 15, 2004, to March 15, 2005; and in subsection (b)(3)(E) add wording that state agencies, as defined in Texas Utilities Code, §101.003, shall not be billed this fee. The fee remains at $0.37.

The proposed amendment in §8.210(a)(4)(A) corrects an internal citation.

Need help with the new Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) deadline?

RCP can help determine whether these new rules are applicable to you as well as develop, update & submit permits for your construction projects. Click Here to request additional information.

New Research and Innovative Technology and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrations Announced

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced February 15th the creation of two new agencies at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) – one to focus on innovation and research and the other on pipeline and hazardous materials safety – to help the Department more effectively execute its mission of developing and applying innovative technologies to create the transportation system of the 21st century.

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) were authorized on Nov. 30, 2004 when President Bush signed the Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act.

“These new agencies will help the Department focus on two critical priorities for our nation’s transportation system — innovation and safety,” Secretary Mineta said. “RITA reflects how important research and technology are to our core mission, while the creation of PHMSA will continue and strengthen our commitment to safety.”

RITA will be dedicated to the advancement of the department’s priorities for innovation and research in transportation technologies and concepts. PHMSA will oversee the safety of the more than 800,000 daily shipments of hazardous materials in the United States and the 64 percent of the nation’s energy that is transported by pipelines.

Need to update your Public Awareness Program?

RCP can help develop your updated plan to meet API RP 1162 standards, and provide turnkey implementation, mail-outs, evaluations, and tracking of your program. For more information call or Click Here.

Three-Digit Dialing Roll Out Planned for March 10

According to Ben Cooper of AOPL, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell will announce the establishment of a toll-free nationwide three-digit number to connect callers with their local one-call system at the March 10th meeting. Which three digits to be chosen are not known at this time, but the leading candidates are 344 and 811.

Air Permit Needs?

Are you planning to expand or acquire? Air permit applications can be complex and consuming. RCP has the expertise to navigate through the application process, develop compliance assurance systems, and submit reports. Click Here

API Publishes RP 1133, Guidelines for Onshore Hydrocarbon Pipelines Affecting High Consequence Floodplains, First Edition

API RP 1133 sets out criteria for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and abandonment of onshore pipelines that could affect high consequence floodplains and associated commercially navigable waterways. This RP applies only to steel pipelines that transport gas, hazardous liquids, alcohols or carbon dioxide.

The design, construction, inspection and testing provisions of this RP should not apply to pipelines that were designed or installed prior to the latest revision of this publication. The operation and maintenance provisions of this RP should apply to existing facilities.

For more information go to

RCP’s Fantastic 1-Page Version of New SPCC Regulation

The deadline for SPCC Plan revisions is fast approaching, February 17, 2006! RCP has developed a 1-page version (in tiny type) of the new SPCC regulations, to be revised as per the April 17, 2003 rule modification. To receive a complimentary copy along with a CD of valuable SPCC Reference Materials Click Here to request additional information.

Railroad Commissioners Approve Pilot Project To Help Conserve Water At Drilling Sites

The Texas Railroad Commissioners has approved a pilot project that may help conserve fresh water as well as limit the disposal of waste saltwater from drilling operations through a process that recycles drilling waste water on site. The process involves on-site distilling units that apply heat to separate brine from water used to fracture gas formations. In the Barnett Shale — a geologic formation that is underneath an approximate 17-county area centered around Fort Worth — operators are producing previously inaccessible gas by using fresh water to fracture (frac) formations and release gas through these fractures. An average frac job uses about 55,000 barrels of water. When water injected to fracture formations returns to the surface, it is known as frac-flow back fluid but becomes unusable due to its high salt content and must be transported to a disposal well.

Under the pilot program, instead of hauling unusable frac fluid to a disposal well, the frac-flow back fluid will be stored in tanks on location and piped into treating equipment. Natural gas produced on location will boil the used frac fluid and produce fresh distilled water. Is it estimated that 85 percent of the used frac fluids will be converted to fresh distilled water. It is estimated that for every 2,350 barrels of frac fluid, 2,000 barrels of distilled water and about 350 barrels of concentrated salt water and dirt will be recovered. The distilled water will then be used to frac another well. The concentrated salt water and dirt will be removed by a permitted RRC hauler to a permitted saltwater disposal well.

RRC Chairman Victor Carrillo said, “This technology holds the promise of addressing two issues in the rapidly developing Barnett Shale area – the use of fresh water to fracture gas formations and the disposal of this waste water after a formation is fractured. If this technology works the way we believe it will, it will offer tremendous benefits by allowing up to 85 percent less fresh water to be used at each frac job. This process also would help reduce the amount of wastewater that must be disposed into injection wells.”

O&M Manual Up-To-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive procedures that you need to protect your people, facilities, and environment. Click Here

RCP Services Spotlight – Underwater Inspection Procedures and Interval Risk Modeling

Underwater Inspection Procedures – On August 10, 2004, the DOT published final amendments to 49 CFR 195.413 and 49 CFR 192.612 for Periodic Underwater Inspections of regulated pipeline facilities located in water depths of 15’ or less in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets. Effective August 10, 2005, operators of certain hazardous liquid and gas pipelines will be required to have procedures in place to identify, inspect, and address those pipelines that are exposed or pose a hazard to navigation. RCP has experience developing comprehensive pipeline safety procedures including procedures to meet the new underwater inspection requirements. RCP can develop comprehensive and customized procedures that address these requirements, including:

  • General application criteria
  • Underwater inspection technologies most appropriate for your pipelines
  • Measures to be taken in the event pipelines are exposed or pose a threat to navigation
  • Risk-based analysis to determine appropriate inspection intervals

Inspection Interval Risk Modeling – The recently finalized regulations for Periodic Underwater Inspections are performance-based and require certain pipeline operators to develop procedures to identify and take appropriate action for lines that pose a hazard to navigation or are otherwise exposed. The Office of Pipeline Safety suggests the use of risk analysis when developing the rationale for inspection intervals. RCP’s development of a proven integrity management risk model has enabled us to translate that success into development of a similar approach to identify underwater inspection intervals.

If you would like information regarding RCP’s Underwater Inspection Procedures or Interval Risk Modeling e-mail Jessica Roger or call (713) 655-8080.

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