DOT Pipeline Compliance News

November 2005 Issue

In This Issue

Pipeline Public Awareness Programs: How to Reach Compliance

Do you know how to structure your public awareness program to comply with the new rules that take effect next year? Workshops to guide you through the process will be held Nov. 9-10 in Baltimore and Dec. 7-8 in Houston.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) will sponsor the workshops, which will offer guidance on how to:

  • Determine the content of public awareness messages
  • Establish delivery methods for public awareness messages
  • Determine supplemental enhancements to baseline programs
  • Evaluate public awareness program effectiveness

Revised regulations require operators of pipeline systems to implement public awareness programs in accordance with American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice (RP) 1162, Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators, First Edition, December 2003. On June 16, 2005, PHMSA issued a Final Rule Correction Notice (70 FR 35041) to clarify that all pipeline system operators must follow the baseline and, where appropriate, the supplemental requirements of API RP 1162.

Most operators must enhance their public awareness programs to meet the new requirements by June 20, 2006. Small propane and master meter operators have until June 20, 2007, to revise their programs.

To fulfill the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, PHMSA issued a Final Rule (70 FR 28833) on May 19, 2005, establishing requirements for pipeline operator public awareness programs. This Final Rule revised 49 CFR §§192.616 and 195.440.

The Nov. 9-10 workshop, which will focus on gas distribution operators, will be held at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore on the Inner Harbor, 300 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Hotel reservations under the U.S. Department of Transportation room block can be made at 410-528-1234 or 1-800-233-1234.

The Dec. 7-8 workshop, which will focus on hazardous liquid and gas transmission operators, will be held at the Hilton America, 1600 Lamar Street, Houston, TX 77010. Hotel reservations under the U.S. Department of Transportation room block can be made at 713-739-8000 or 1-800-4HILTON.

To register, select the workshop you would like to attend at

For hotel reservations, contact the hotel directly. Both workshops will be web cast and will be available for one month after each workshop. The web cast Internet address will be posted to the registration web page prior to the workshop.

For more information, contact Blaine Keener, OPS, (202) 366-0970,

PHMSA has created a public awareness resource web page at

In addition to providing updates on the compliance review plan, these workshops will provide a forum to share strategies for implementing these new requirements successfully. Participants can learn about collaborative efforts undertaken in different sectors of the pipeline industry to improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of their related programs.

PHMSA and NAPSR will discuss oversight plans. In particular, they will discuss current plans to use a central clearinghouse approach to review public awareness programs. Finally, PHMSA will respond to frequently asked questions. PHMSA will post agendas for the workshops on its web site ( approximately two weeks prior to the workshop.

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.

Meetings of the Pipeline Safety Advisory Committees

[Docket No. RSPA-98-4470]

The Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (TPSSC) and Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (THLPSSC) will meet in joint sessions on December 13-14, 2005, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel at 480 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, D.C. 20024 to discuss the following regulatory issues:

Tuesday, December 13 (8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.)

  • Responding to National Emergencies: Discuss lessons learned by industry and the Department of Transportation in responding to the most recent large-scale transportation emergencies.
  • Gas Gathering Lines: Discuss comments received on the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking and the associated regulatory analysis.
  • Hazardous Liquid Gathering Lines: Discuss the regulatory approach to address the statutory requirement to address unregulated liquid gathering lines that could affect unusually sensitive areas.
  • Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP): Discuss DIMP team report findings on approaches to managing the integrity of gas distribution systems.
  • Excavation Damage Prevention: Discuss hurricane recovery activities with the Common Ground Alliance (CGAs), approaches to enforcement, and program progress among Regional CGAs.
  • Operator Qualifications: Discuss conceptual regulatory approaches to strengthen operator qualification programs. A public meeting on this issue will be held December 15, 2005.
  • Annual Update of Standards Incorporated by Reference: Committee vote on NPRM that proposes to update the pipeline safety regulations to incorporate by reference all or parts of new editions of voluntary consensus technical standards.

Wednesday, December 14 (8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.)

  • Recommendations on In-Line Inspection Options: Present findings from the public meeting and discuss next steps in enhancing in-line inspection efforts.
  • Operator Control Room Issues: Discuss findings of Controller Certification Pilot Program for the Report to Congress and provide an update on NTSB recommendations to address controller safety issues.
  • Integrity Management Program Modifications and Clarifications: Discuss the notice of proposed rulemaking that addresses an API petition to allow more flexibility in scheduling repairs and reassessment intervals of hazardous liquid pipelines.
  • Internal Corrosion in Gas Transmission Pipelines: Discuss the notice of proposed rulemaking to address internal corrosion when designing and constructing new and replaced gas transmission pipelines.
  • Enforcement: Discuss program strategy and performance goals.
  • Liquefied Natural Gas: Discuss PHMSA safety issues addressed in consensus standards and provide an update on the status of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) initiatives.
  • Reauthorization: Discuss energy and legislative proposals that pertain to pipeline safety.

For additional information regarding these meetings, contact: Cheryl Whetsel at (202) 366-4431; PHMSA will post more a detailed agenda and any additional information or changes on its Web page ( approximately 15 days before the meeting date.

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.

Public Meetings on Operator Qualifications

[Docket No. RSPA-04-19857]

This notice announces a public meeting on operator qualification programs. PHMSA is preparing a Report to Congress on the status and results of programs to ensure the qualifications of individuals performing safety tasks on pipelines.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has almost completed developing a consensus standard qualifying individuals performing safety tasks on pipelines.

The two purposes of this public meeting are to gather information about improvements in operator qualification programs for the Report to Congress and to identify how we can best use B31Q to strengthen the programs.

The meeting will take place at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, D.C. 20024 on December 15, 2005, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number for reservations at the hotel is 202-484-1000. The agenda includes discussion of the following issues:

  • Why do we have more confidence today in the qualifications of pipeline personnel?
  • What are the primary contributions made during the past four years in improving safety through better qualification programs for pipeline personnel? To what extent have these exceeded regulatory compliance?
  • What is the best way to use the B31Q standard to improve programs?
  • Are there any elements of the B31Q standard that PHMSA should incorporate into the regulations? If so, which ones would be the best to incorporate?
  • Are there any aspects of operator qualification that require greater flexibility to avoid cost impacts with minimal safety benefit?
  • Can operators develop performance metrics that could assure equivalent safety through a more flexible performance-based approach?
  • How do we continue to improve operator qualification programs without the uncertainty of continual change?
  • Are protocols and “Frequently Asked Questions” the best way to provide necessary prescription, clarity, and consistency to performance regulations?
  • When is training appropriate?
  • How does an operator provide enough objectivity in evaluating an employee’s knowledge and skills?
  • Should the regulations go beyond operation and maintenance and include additional tasks that affect the safety and integrity of the pipeline as covered tasks?
  • How do we best foster the portability of qualifications?
  • Should emergencies such as Katrina trigger exceptions?
  • Would mechanisms for operators to share success stories about operator qualification benefit overall safety?

Need to Update Your Current Operator Qualification Program?

We have the expertise to update your current operator qualification program to satisfy the upcoming regulation change and inspection protocols. Click Here to request more information.

New MMS NTL on Damage Caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) Gulf of Mexico OCS Region (GOMR) has issued NTL 2005-G20 (superseding NTL 2005-G16) to describe the inspections to conduct and the plans and reports to prepare because of the known and potential damage to OCS facilities caused by Hurricane Katrina when it struck land on August 29, 2005, and Hurricane Rita when it struck land on September 24, 2005.

By November 4, 2005, lessees and operators on federal leases and pipeline right-of-way holders on the OCS must submit the information listed below by e-mail to

  • A list of all OCS platforms and other structures that are required to be surveyed.
  • For each listed structure, an initial inspection plan that generally describes the work to be performed to determine the condition of the structure; and
  • A timetable that shows completion of all inspections by May 5, 2006.

The MMS GOMR will review the initial inspection plans and advise you concerning their acceptability. As you gain experience from your inspection efforts, you may submit amendments to your list and inspection plans for MMS consideration. Thoroughly justify all requested changes. Further, submit an amendment to your inspection plan whenever the results of a Level II survey require you to conduct a Level III survey.

Contact Jessica Roger at RCP for the full text of the NTL, containing detailed inspection requirements.

RCP Services Spotlight – RCP Auditing, Due Diligence and Expert Witness Services

RCP’s approach to audits and assessments is typically either consultative or enforcement oriented depending upon the client’s needs. The consultative approach is typically viewed by clients as a cooperative effort that assesses regulatory compliance status in concert with operational and maintenance issues. This method provides feedback on existing management practices versus industry standards.

The consultative approach not only identifies opportunities for regulatory compliance improvement, but also provides recommendations on how existing management practices can effectively achieve and sustain these improvements. An enforcement approach gives the client an idea of how well a facility can manage an agency audit and how likely it would be for an agency inspector to issue a Notice of Violation.

RCP provides comprehensive, confidential regulatory consulting services, including:

  • Quick-Hit Regulatory Compliance Checkups
  • Comprehensive Regulatory Compliance Audits
    • Compliance program gap analysis
    • Recordkeeping evaluation
    • Field inspections
  • Regulatory Agency Jurisdictional Determinations, Interpretations & Audits
    • DOT
      • Integrity Management Program
      • Operator Qualification
      • Operations & Maintenance
      • Public Awareness API RP1162
      • Facility Response Plans
    • U.S. Coast Guard
      • Dock Operations
      • Oil Spill Response Plans
      • Facility Security Plans
    • EPA
      • Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure Plans
      • Air/Wastewater Permitting
      • Facility Response Plans
      • Risk Management Plans
    • OSHA
      • Process Safety Management
      • Health & Safety Plans
    • State-Specific Regulations
  • Asset Acquisition Due Diligence
    • Phase 1 Environment Assessments
    • Permitting & Associated Agency Notifications
    • Compliance Program Development
    • Employee Qualification & Training Program Assessment
    • Asset Integrity Management Liability Assessment
    • Record Keeping, Documentation & Data Room Inspections
  • Expert Witness Service
    • Pipeline Safety
    • Regulatory Interpretation

If you would like information regarding RCP’s Auditing, Due Diligence and Expert Witness Services, e-mail Jessica Roger or call (713) 655-8080.

MMS to Hold Structural Assessment Process Dissemination Meeting

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) Gulf of Mexico OCS region will hold a half-day Structural Assessment Process Dissemination Meeting on the proposed American Petroleum Institute (API) Structural Integrity Management Recommended Practice in Houston on November 15, 2005. The Meeting will take place at The Texas A & M University System Health Science Center, IBT Facilities Auditorium, 2121 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030-3303 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

In recognition of the need to demonstrate the fitness-for-purpose of existing offshore structures, MMS hosted a workshop in September 2003 on the “Assessment of Existing Offshore Structures.” The workshop acknowledged that Section 17 of API RP 2A provides an important and robust process to determine the fitness-for-purpose of existing platforms, but identified several important areas where greater clarity would be beneficial.

In addition, MMS made it clear that they were not comfortable with certain areas of the recommended practice. A key recommendation from the workshop was for API, through Sub-Committee 2, formally to address the specific concerns of MMS and to consider the benefits of updating Section 17 and developing a stand-alone Recommended Practice (RP) for the Structural Integrity Management (SIM) of Existing Offshore Platforms.

Since the workshop, a task group was established to review the requirements and update RP 2A Section 17. A status of this work was discussed with industry at a workshop held at the MMS New Orleans offices in October 2004. This work is now nearing completion. API is in the process of issuing a Supplement to API RP 2A that will include modifications to Section 17. The new SIM RP is nearly complete in draft form.

The purpose of this meeting is to share the content and status of the API 2A Supplement and the draft SIM RP with structural engineers involved in the assessment process. The objectives are to communicate the introduction of a supplement to API RP 2A, with focus on Modifications to API Section 17, and to discuss the proposed content and status of the stand-alone API Recommended Practice entitled Structural Integrity Management of Existing Offshore Platforms. MMS will provide details and examples for reporting of API Section 17 assessments, specifically ultimate strength assessments, and follow up with a panel discussion and addressing questions from the participants.

To register for the event via email: to Kristina Taylor at

For more information and to register online, visit

Registration details must be confirmed no later than November 11, 2005, by the end of business day. No walk-ins will be permitted.

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

Pre-Filing Procedures for Review of LNG Terminals and Other Natural Gas Facilities

[Docket No. RM05-31-000; Order No. 665]

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) is amending its regulations in accordance with section 311(d) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) to establish mandatory procedures requiring prospective applicants to begin the Commission’s pre-filing review process at least six months prior to filing an application for authorization to site and construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

Section 311(d) of EPAct 2005, enacted on August 8, 2005, directs the Commission to promulgate such regulations within 60 days after enactment of EPAct 2005. The regulations’ mandatory procedures are designed to encourage applicants for LNG terminal siting and construction authority to cooperate with state and local officials, as required by EPAct 2005.

The regulations also make the pre-filing process mandatory for prospective applicants for authority to construct related jurisdictional pipeline and other natural gas facilities, as defined in the regulations.

The regulations also require a prospective applicant to comply with the pre-filing procedures prior to filing an application to make modifications to an existing or authorized LNG terminal if such modifications involve significant state and local safety considerations that have not been previously addressed.

Under this Final Rule, prospective applicants may elect on a voluntary basis to undertake the pre-filing process prior to filing applications for other facilities subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act (NGA).

The rule will become effective November 17, 2005. For further information contact:

Richard Hoffmann, Office of Energy Projects, (202) 502-8066,

John Leiss, Office of Energy Projects, (202) 502-8058,

Whit Holden, Office of the General Counsel, (202) 502-8089,

Integrity Management Services

RCP can assist pipeline operators with ongoing compliance management and engineering associated with your IMP. This includes direct assessment strategies, tool and vendor selection, ILI/ECDA report analysis, corrosion control programs, repair strategies, and IMP/risk model updates. For more information on how RCP can support your ongoing IMP needs, Click Here.

Pipeline Safety: Standards for Direct Assessment of Gas and Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

[Docket No. RSPA–04–16855; Amdt.192–101 and 195–85]

Under current regulations governing integrity management of gas transmission lines, if an operator uses direct assessment to evaluate corrosion risks, it must carry out the direct assessment according to PHMSA standards.

In response to a statutory directive, OPS has issued a final rule prescribing similar standards operators must meet when they use direct assessment on certain other onshore gas, hazardous liquid, and carbon dioxide pipelines. Broader application of direct assessment standards will enhance public confidence in the use of direct assessment to assure pipeline safety.

This Final Rule takes effect November 25, 2005. Incorporation by reference of NACE Standard RP0502–2002 in this rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of November 25, 2005.

For further information contact: L.M. Furrow by phone at 202–366–4559, by fax at 202–366–4566, by mail at U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, D.C. 20590, or by e-mail at For a copy of the entire federal register publication, contact Jessica Roger at

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