DOT Pipeline Compliance News

November 2009 Issue

In This Issue

ANPRM on PHMSA Enforcement of Damage Prevention Laws

[Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0192]

PHMSA has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to initiate a rulemaking procedure to establish criteria for determining adequate state enforcement of pipeline damage prevention laws. Under the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Safety, and Enforcement (PIPES) Act of 2006, establishment of these criteria is a prerequisite should PHMSA find it necessary to conduct an enforcement proceeding against an excavator for violation of one-call damage prevention laws in the absence of enforcement action by the state where the events occurred.

The ANPRM solicits feedback and comments regarding the criteria and procedures PHMSA should use to determine if a state’s enforcement of its damage prevention laws is adequate. These procedures will encourage states to develop effective excavation damage prevention enforcement programs to protect gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, but also allow federal enforcement authority should any state fail to do so.

Persons interested in submitting written comments on this ANPRM must do so by December 14, 2009 to and reference Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0192. PHMSA will consider late filed comments so far as practicable.

Compliance Management System

We’ve developed and successfully implemented an extremely powerful, affordable and simple-to-use web-based application that will streamline how you manage compliance activities and associated data. Some of the features of this application include:

  • Web-based subscription with no “black-box” technology or license agreement hassles to work through
  • GIS data interface is easily configured, allowing for reporting of data for web portal viewing and configured to import/export to any end-user GIS data model – very very cool
  • Works well with web-enabled handheld devices or laptops allowing for data to be entered directly to the application without the need for hard copy inspection forms ever again
  • Customized reporting and extremely powerful data query functionality
  • E-mail reminders and compliance status reports for any task, activity, work order, qualification/training
  • Document storage and linkage for any document or file, including procedures, inspection forms, maps, and images
  • Multiple security and user privilege settings available

Existing applications either successfully implemented or under development include:

  • Pipeline compliance management (O&M, OQ, IMP, reporting, etc.)
  • Leak management (surveys, leak life cycle management, leak repair and closure, TX PS-95 reporting)
  • Third party damage data (unauthorized encroachment, damage incident management, TX Chapter 18 reporting)
  • Environmental, health and safety (inspections, permits, training)
  • DIMP (system knowledge, threat ID, risk analysis, performance measurement, reporting, P&M measures, A/A actions)
  • Management of Change
  • Customer data management
  • Measurement

To request a demonstration or to learn more about this, please contact Jessica Roger.

PHMSA Updates FAQ’s for Alternative MAOP Regulations

PHMSA has posted several updates to the list of frequently asked questions concerning the Alternative MAOP regulations found under 49 CFR 192.620. The latest revisions are posted below. To download a complete list of these FAQ’s, go to the following website:

1. What is the alternative MAOP Rule?
The alternate MAOP Rule was promulgated by PHMSA to allow certain gas transmission pipelines to operate at higher pressures and pipeline stress levels than regulations previously allowed when designed and operated with more rigorous safety standards. By allowing pipelines to operate at higher pressures and stress levels, greater efficiencies and gas product throughput can be achieved (73 FR 62148).
Revised: 9/11/09

11. How will PHMSA handle Special Permit requests to allow pipeline operation at higher stress levels that were submitted prior to the issuance of the alternative MAOP Rule?
Formerly pipeline operators were allowed to submit Special Permit requests to PHMSA to request approval to operate at pressures greater than allowed by the former regulations. Operators of those pipelines must comply with the final rule in order to operate their pipelines at a higher alternative MAOP. PHMSA will examine special permits that have already been granted, as appropriate, to determine if any modifications are needed.
Revised: 9/11/09

16. Can existing pipelines that have experienced a failure indicative of materials concerns qualify for the use of a higher alternative MAOP?
49 CFR 192.620 (b) provides for the performance of a root cause analysis to determine if a failure is indicative of a systemic problem and precludes use of a higher alternative MAOP only if a failure is determined to be systematic in nature. Results of the analysis must be reported to regulators (PHMSA Regional Office or applicable state regulatory authorities).
Revised: 9/11/09

20. How is overpressure protection addressed when operation is at a higher alternative MAOP?
The alternative MAOP is higher than the upper limit of the required overpressure protection under previous regulations. 49 CFR 192.620(e) increases the overpressure protection limit to 104 percent of the MAOP, which is 83.2 percent of SMYS for a pipeline segment operating at the alternative MAOP in a Class 1 location.
Revised: 9/11/09

23. Why include conditions on plate or coil quality when operating at a higher alternative MAOP?
All steel pipe is made from either plates or coils. If these steel plates or coils are of superior quality, then the pipe will also be of superior quality. Assuring quality requires that the mill that made the plate or coil had an inspection and quality control program to limit variation and to improve the quality of its final product – the plate and/or coil. The condition simply requires that operators verify that such a program was in place at the mill.
Revised: 9/11/09

24. Why are mill test reports required for the Alternate MAOP rule?
The alternate MAOP rule allows operators to establish MAOPs higher than previously allowed by 49 CFR Part 192. One of the requirements is to have mill test reports (mechanical and chemical properties) on the steel that went into the pipe that will operate under the higher stress levels allowed by the alternate MAOP rule. This requirement was included because PHMSA needs assurance that the pipe operating at higher stress levels does not to pose a risk to the integrity of the pipeline. To provide this assurance, an operator must have documented proof of the actual yield strength, tensile strength, and chemistry properties of the steel used in the pipe.
Revised: 9/11/09

26. Does the recent advisory bulletin ADB-09-01 (Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0148 – “Potential Low and Variable Yield and Tensile Strength and Chemical Composition Properties in High Strength Line Pipe”) affect pipelines that are planned to operate in accordance with the MAOP Rule?
The advisory bulletin informs pipeline system owners and operators of the potential for high strength line pipe installed in recent pipelines may exhibit inconsistent chemical and mechanical properties. Yield strength and tensile strength properties that do not meet the line pipe specification minimums have been observed. This advisory bulletin pertains to microalloyed high strength line pipe grades, generally Grade X-70 and above. PHMSA has reviewed metallurgical testing results from several recent projects indicating pipe joints produced from plate or coil from the same heat may exhibit variable chemical and mechanical properties by as much as 15% lower than the reported strength values by the pipe manufacturer. The advisory bulletin can be obtained online here.

PHMSA expects operators of pipelines under the alternate MAOP to perform in-Line Inspections (ILI) that will identify (remove) all threats to the pipeline. The operator should plan to use a high resolution deformation tool in lieu of a geometry tool to address the threat described in the Advisory Bulletin. The deformation tool must include multi-finger sensors and have an accuracy of +/- 1% to identify expanded pipe and dents.

The results of the initial ILI must be integrated with the initial CIS and DCVG/ACVG surveys required in accordance with §192.620(d). The operator should evaluate and repair all anomalies, expanded pipe and dents in accordance with the MAOP Rule prior to increasing the pressure above the 72% SMYS MAOP to the alternative MAOP of 80% SMYS for Class 1 locations.

The results of all deformation and geometry tool run results for expanded pipe and dents should be analyzed and submitted to the PHMSA Regional Director. All pipe exhibiting an indicated diameter greater than 1.00 % (based upon pipe diameter) above the nominal pipe diameter should be noted on the report of potential deformations.

The operator should review with PHMSA Regional Director, the deformation and/or geometry tool reports. This analysis will consider pipe properties and property distributions, hydrostatic test pressures and reported test behavior, and pipe end to center variations. Based on local pressure and expected behavior, any expansion exceeding anticipated expansion by more than 1.50% may be investigated by excavation to determine actual expansion and, if necessary, to verify pipeline special permit segments yield and ultimate tensile strengths, elongation and chemistry. This guideline may be modified by PHMSA if initial verification reviews by PHMSA Regional Director show negligible integrity risk.
Revised: 9/11/09

PHMSA Adds New Liquid IMP FAQ #12.13

12.13 Are Safety-Related Condition Reports required to be filed when an operator implements a pressure reduction for an immediate repair per §195.452(h)(4)(i)?

The requirements for safety-related condition reports are distinct from those for integrity management. Where the provisions of §195.55 require a report, such report must be made independent of any requirements in the integrity management rule.
Last Revision: 10/15/09

PHMSA Advisory Committee Meeting – Advance notice

We have received notice that PHMSA plans to hold a joint session of the hazardous liquid and natural gas technical pipeline safety advisory committee members from noon December 9 until noon December 10. The advisory committee members will vote on the proposed rules “Updates to Pipeline and Liquefied Natural Gas Reporting (the One Rule)” and “Pipeline Safety: Periodic Updates of Regulatory References to Technical Standards and Miscellaneous Edits”. The meeting will be held in the Washington DC area, but is not listed yet on PHMSA’s website.

Standard Operating Procedure Updates

RCP has developed standard operating procedures for hundreds of pipeline operators ranging from gas transmission, hazardous liquids, gas distribution, reservoir and salt dome gas storage facilities, oil terminals, regulated onshore gathering and offshore oil & gas facilities. Our procedure development process goes well beyond the typical cookie-cutter generic templates that you can buy off the shelf. We have a strong track record with successful PHMSA and state inspection performance. Our procedure development process integrates with the daily operating processes that your personnel and contractors currently follow. When complete, you will have a comprehensive set of procedures that are easy to manage and comply with federal and state regulatory requirements. For more information, contact Jessica Roger.

New Jersey Pipeline Regulations – Misc. Revisions

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has made numerous changes to their natural gas pipeline safety regulations, as of October 19, 2009. These regulations can be found in Chapter 7 of Title 14 of the New Jersey State regulations. The revisions include changes to pipeline siting, construction supervision, directional drilling, pressure testing, burial, backfilling, leak detection, and valve spacing requirements, as well as responding to Notices of Probable Violations.

Florida Pipeline Safety Regulations – Misc. Proposed Revisions

The Florida Public Service Commission is proposing to make several minor changes and updates to their pipeline safety regulations. The proposed changes include adopting more recent federal pipeline safety regulations, incorporating a newer welding standard, and increasing the dollar amount for reporting accidents to the Commission. Various minor changes include adding clarifying language, deleting references to a repealed rule, correcting an address, changing a date, updating a form number and reducing the number of copies filed for a required report, and eliminating an unneeded report. For additional information, contact Kathryn Cowdery, Office of General Counsel, 2540 Shumard Oak Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0850, (850) 413-6216,

Joint Workshop on New Spill Reporting Forms for the Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Industry

Both the industry’s Pipeline Performance Tracking System (PPTS) reporting forms and the PHMSA 7000-1 have undergone significant changes. There is new reporting in the areas of integrity and control room management in the 7000-1, as well as enhanced reporting for some failures, and expanded cause detail. This forum will provide a one-stop shop for explanations and answers for these new reporting requirements. Everyone who will be providing input for their company’s reporting — from control room supervisors to integrity specialists to compliance specialists and data entry personnel — should attend. You will hear from those who know it best: PHMSA personnel and the industry’s team that manages PPTS.

The workshop will be held December 2-3 at the Hilton Westchase Hotel in Houston, Texas. There is a modest registration fee. For more information, go to or contact Cheryl Trench, Allegro Energy Consulting at

To register on-line please click here. You do not have to be a participant in PPTS to attend.

ASME Conference

November 18, 2009

Attend the International Mechanical Engineering Conference and Exhibition for the Safety Engineering, Risk Analysis and Reliability Methods (SERAD) presentations track, co-chaired by our president Bill Byrd, on November 18, 2009. At the conference, you will get unique insights into engineering’s cutting-edge research and development and how it will determine the evolution of technology worldwide. You will also discover trend setting innovations and tools being showcased by industry leading companies. The conference will be held at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Click here for more information on the conference.

Pipeline Regulations for iPhone

At our request, Tekk Innovations has developed an iPhone application containing the federal pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR 40, and 190-199). It has keyword search and the capability to e-mail excerpts of the regulations to others. The app can be found in the iTunes store by searching for “pipeline regulations” or by clicking here. The cost is $9.99.

Tekk Innovations has also developed apps for all the other CFRs, including all of 49 CFR for those who want all the transportation regulations, not just the pipeline ones.

Editor’s Note: I like the app with just the pipeline parts of 49 CFR, since I can search the pipeline regulations easier that way without getting hits from the other transportation regulations.

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