DOT Pipeline Compliance News

May 2009 Issue

In This Issue

Incorporation by Reference Update: American Petroleum Institute (API) Standards 5L and 1104

[Docket No. PHMSA-2008-0334]

PHMSA has issued a direct final rule to incorporate by reference the most recent editions of API Specification 5L “Specification for Line Pipe” and API 1104 “Welding of Pipelines and Related Facilities.” The purpose of this update is to enable pipeline operators to utilize current technology, materials, and practices to help maintain a high level of safety relative to their pipeline operations. PHMSA is not eliminating the use of the current referenced standards but simply allowing the additional use of these new standards. PHMSA may in the future propose to eliminate the incorporation of the existing referenced standards.

This rule is effective April 14, 2009 without further action, unless adverse comment is received by June 15, 2009. If adverse comment is received, PHMSA will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register.

Georgia Public Service Commission Regulation on Distribution Public Awareness Programs

The Georgia Public Service Commission developed a new regulation to address the roles and responsibilities for pipeline public awareness program implementation in cases where the billing to the Retail Customers of the Electing Distribution Company is provided, in whole or in part, by Marketers or Poolers providing commodity sales service or distribution services on the Electing Distribution Company’s system.

The new rule establishes minimum requirements for natural gas pipeline safety and public awareness programs, requires marketer and pooler participation, establishes an annual schedule of billing inserts, and identifies the costs to be borne by the electing distribution company and the marketers and poolers. This new rule is effective March 18, 2008.

DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop – June 2 & 3, 2009

RCP will be hosting our very popular 2-day workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance on June 2 & 3, 2009, in Houston, TX. Join us for an informative, lively, and interactive workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance.


Day 1 (June 2): Gas Pipeline Regulations (49CFR192)

Day 2 (June 3): Liquid Pipeline Regulations (49CFR195)

Each day of the workshop will address the following issues as they specifically relate to either Gas or Hazardous Liquid pipelines:

  1. PHMSA Overview
  2. PHMSA Jurisdictional Boundaries
    • Production / Gathering / Transmission
    • Onshore / Inlets to the Gulf of Mexico / Offshore
  3. Compliance Requirements:
    • Design
    • Construction
    • Operation
    • Maintenance
    • Corrosion
    • Testing
    • Integrity Management
    • Operator Qualification
    • Emergency Response
    • Reporting
  4. New/Proposed Regulations
    • DIMP
    • Control Room Management
    • Liquid Rural Low Stress
    • New Regulations in Texas and Other States

For additional information go to our website here.

Mechanical Damage Report Released

This report reviews and summarizes the current state of knowledge and practice related to mechanical damage in natural gas and hazardous liquid steel pipelines, with particular focus on transmission pipelines. The report addresses several issues associated with mechanical damage including:

  • understanding mechanical damage in pipelines
  • prevention
  • detection, identification and characterization
  • assessment
  • mitigation techniques
  • pipeline industry experiences
  • regulatory practices (US, UK, Canada, UE)

The report identified several gaps which warrant further attention, including:

  • Better one-call enforcement, improved communications, an improved understanding of the effectiveness of different prevention methods and better ways of enhancing public awareness
  • The need for ILI technology that more accurately detects and assesses the severity of prior mechanical damage
  • Methods to determine the need for immediate action or pressure reduction
  • Validated methods to assess the remaining service life of pipelines impacted by mechanical damage
  • Guidelines for the selection and application of composite repair systems
  • Improved confidence in the long-term performance reliability of all repair systems

For a copy of this report, click here.

PHMSA Inspection Protocols Updated

PHMSA has posted recently updated versions of their inspection, evaluation and qualification protocol documents at PHMSA Forms Library. These inspection protocols reflect changes that have been made to pipeline regulations up to January 16, 2009. PHMSA has not posted their Pilot Integrated Inspection Protocols on this site yet. If you are interested in these protocols, please contact Jessica Roger.

AGA Operations Conference May 19 – 21, 2009

Meet us at the 2009 AGA Operations Conference and Biennial Exhibition at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The Operations Conference is AGA’s largest forum with nearly 500 operations management in attendance, including 80 speakers, and over 100 technical presentations that run the gamut of topics, such as gas measurement, operations advocacy, safety, environment, storage, engineering, construction and maintenance, gas control, supplemental gas, corrosion control and plastic materials.

RCP representatives will be attending the conference and look forward to meeting you. If you plan on attending, mark your calendar for Thursday, May 21, to attend the Distribution & Transmission Engineering Session 23. RCP’s representative, Larry Decker, will be speaking on calculating Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) for changing pipeline conditions. This presentation will present important things learned from calculating MAOP. These include: what the regulations require for MAOP analysis, what the critical/non-critical data are to justify current MAOP, the MAOP formula decision tree and best practices for maintaining MAOP data.

The preliminary agenda for the conference can be found on the AGA website. For conference details, click here.

PHMSA Workshop on New Pipeline Construction

PHMSA hosted a new pipeline construction workshop in Ft. Worth, Texas on April 23rd. PHMSA made several presentations regarding problems that have been identified during field inspections over the past year during increased transmission pipeline construction activity. Based upon the observations made in 2008, PHMSA expects to increase inspections of new construction projects in the future. The presentations made provide details of problems encountered such as material defects, poor inspection practices, poor workmanship, inadequate procedures, and lacking quality management systems. To request copies of the PHMSA presentations, please contact Jessica Roger.

API Pipeline Conference Awards & Recognitions

The 2009 API Pipeline Conference was held on April 21 & 22 in Fort Worth, Texas, celebrating their 60th Anniversary! One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the API Pipeline Environmental and Safety Awards and Recognitions for 2008. These companies and individuals are an inspiration to all and a reminder that pipeline safety is our common goal.

  • Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
  • Buckeye Partners, L.P.
  • CITGO Pipeline Company
  • Colonial Pipeline Company
  • Equistar Chemicals, LP – Equistar Pipeline
  • ExxonMobil Pipeline Company
  • Genesis Energy, LP
  • Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P.
  • NuStar Energy, L.P.
  • Portland Pipe Line Corporation
  • Wolverine Pipe Line Company

Congratulations to all of these companies for their outstanding safety performance.

RCP Presentations at the API Pipeline Conference

The 60th annual API Pipeline Conference was held April 21 – 22, in Ft. Worth, Texas. RCP made the following presentations:

  • Bill Byrd gave a presentation on “Best Practices in Damage Prevention for Parallel Construction Projects” at the session on Damage Prevention – Aerial Patrols, ROW Monitoring, Markers. (Request a copy)
  • During the session for Technology Advancements for IMP, Larry Decker presented his paper on “Pipeline Integrity Management – A Risk Assessment Model for Pipeline Facility Operations.” (Request a copy)

Bill Byrd also moderated at the session on New Regulations.

RCP Web-Based Tracking Systems

We’ve developed two (extremely handy) web-based applications that will organize your compliance information.

RCP’s Compliance Management System manages all of your permit requirements, inspections, procedures and data requirements. The Compliance Management System’s email reminders and document links provide you with the information that you need to stay in compliance with the hundreds of regulatory tasks.

RCP’s Leak Tracking System tracks all leaks through their life span and compiles the data into annual DOT reports or semi-annual TRRC reports. (The TRRC report can be quickly uploaded into the TRRC Electronic Document Interchange process.) RCP’s Leak Tracking System is customizable so that field personnel can load data from laptops or hand-held devices. It’s simple to use, easy to access and can be integrated so that the leak data can be automatically sent to your GIS system.

Because these are web-based applications, there are no IT issues to struggle through to get started. For more information on either of these systems, please contact Jessica Roger.

GIS for Oil and Gas Conference

Join us in Houston at the Marriott Westchase Hotel for the Geospatial Information and Technology Association’s GIS for Oil and Gas Conference, September 13-17, 2009. Our president, Bill Byrd, will make a presentation on September 14, 2009, about regulatory requirements for gathering, transmission, and distribution pipelines.

GIS Services

RCP is an Esri Business Partner which enables RCP to provide a better service to our clients with access to all of Esri’s related products and technical support. RCP also has direct access to the latest NOAA Navigational Charts, USGS National Hydrology data, USDA Soil data, Bureau of Energy Management offshore data, Google and Bing map imagery, plus more!

RCP has developed a suite of GIS tools for pipeline operators including: Gas Pipeline HCA Determination; Class Location Analysis, Overland Flow Spill Analysis (HCA/USA impact analysis); Gulf of Mexico and its Inlets Determination.

For more information, contact Jessica Foley.

April National Safe Digging Month

With the top cause of pipeline accidents in Texas due to third-party damage or people digging into or near underground pipelines, the state’s pipeline safety regulators—the Texas Railroad Commissioners—remind homeowners and anyone with spring digging projects to call 811 before digging.

The Common Ground Alliance, a group of public safety stakeholders including the Railroad Commission, has designated April as National Safe Digging Month, recognizing that as weather warms up, homeowners begin to excavate new gardens, build decks or patios, plant trees and shrubs, and put in new fences or mailboxes.

“In Texas, more than 76 percent of all pipeline accidents are caused by third-party digging by contractors, landscapers or homeowners,” said Chairman Victor Carrillo. “That’s why it’s important to remember to call 811 before you dig deeper than 16 inches to have underground pipelines marked.”

Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones said, “Texas has 200,000 miles of intrastate pipeline—more intrastate pipelines that any other state in the nation. To make sure you do not hit a line when doing yard work, call toll-free to 811 at least 48 hours before you plan to dig.”

Commission Michael L. Williams said, “As part of educating the public about the importance of calling 811 before digging, the Commission reminds homeowners that they can be fined if damage to underground pipelines occurs due to careless digging, and that operators can be fined for incorrectly marking pipelines.”

Striking underground pipelines can cause injuries, disrupt services to neighborhoods and result in fines and repair costs.

So far in Fiscal Year 09, 6,831 third-party incidents or about 228 per week have been reported to the Commission. The Commission has processed 2,268 of these 6,831 incidents into enforcement dockets, collecting $577,680 in penalties.

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