DOT Pipeline Compliance News

October 2004 Issue

In This Issue

Advisory Bulletin – Hurricane Ivan Pipeline Damage

On September 23, 2004, the Office of Pipeline Safety issued the following advisory bulletin to owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipeline systems in the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent state waters regarding the potential for damage to pipeline facilities caused by the passage of Hurricane Ivan. The advisory warned that pipeline safety problems may have been caused by the passage of Hurricane Ivan on September 16, 2004. RSPA received several reports of damage to pipeline facilities, particularly offshore Louisiana.

Pipeline operators should consider taking the following actions regarding the gas and hazardous liquid pipelines located in areas impacted by Hurricane Ivan:

  1. Identify persons who normally engage in shallow water commercial fishing, shrimping, and other marine vessel operations and caution them that submerged offshore pipelines may have become unprotected on the sea floor. Marine vessels operating in water depths comparable to a vessel’s draft or when operating bottom dragging equipment can be damaged and their crews endangered by an encounter with a submerged pipeline.

  2. Identify and caution marine vessel operators in offshore shipping lanes and other offshore areas where Hurricane Ivan may have affected a pipeline that deploying fishing nets or anchors, and dredging operations may damage the pipeline, their vessels, and endanger their crews.

  3. In the process of bringing offshore and inland transmission facilities back online, operators are advised to check for structural damage to piping, valves, emergency shutdown systems, risers and supporting systems. Aerial inspections of pipeline routes should be conducted to check for leaks in the transmission systems. In areas where floating and jack-up rigs have moved and their path could have been over the pipelines, operators are advised to review possible routes and to check for sub-sea pipeline damage where required.

  4. Identify and correct any conditions on the pipeline that violate the Federal pipeline safety regulations. ( 601; 49 CFR 1.53).

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.

Pipeline Safety: Pressure Limiting and Regulating Stations Final Rule Goes into effect October 8, 2004

The Research and Special Programs Administration Office of Pipeline Safety (RSPA/OPS) published a direct final rule on May 17th, 2004, that removed an unintended impact of regulations on pressure limiting and regulating stations. The direct final rule modified pressure limits that could have required a reduction in the operating pressure of certain pipelines and been impracticable for other pipelines to meet. The new document confirms the effective date of that direct final rule and goes into effect October 8, 2004.

Pending Audits?

Has the DOT notified you of a pending audit? RCP can provide confidential internal auditing to help ensure that your facilities are up to the agency’s latest standards.
Click Here.

RSPA Corrects Final Rule-Periodic Updates to Pipeline Safety Regulations

On June 14th, 2004, RSPA published a final rule entitled “Pipeline Safety: Periodic Updates to Pipeline Safety Regulations”. That final rule amended and updated various sections of the pipeline safety regulations and incorporated the most recent editions of the voluntary consensus standards publications are referenced in 49 CFR parts 192 and 195. After the final rule was published, RSPA received ten written comments identifying an apparent inconsistency in the definition of “Transmission line” in the final rule.

After review, RSPA determined that the June 14, 2002, final rule made an inadvertent error in the definition of “Transmission line” in §192.3, failed to properly amend Appendix B to part 192 due to an improper amendatory instruction, and inadvertently reversed a recent amendment to §195.222. It also contained several typographical and punctuation errors.

The new document corrects the final regulations by revising the relevant sections. For the full text of the corrections, the file can be downloaded here (Pipeline Safety Regulation Corrections) or contact Laura Wager at

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.

RSPA Reorganization Proposed

The Secretary of Transportation has submitted proposed legislation to Congress that would reorganize the Research and Special Programs Administration, and establish 2, more focused organizations. The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) would coordinate research-driven innovative technology and transportation statistics. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) would carry out the pipeline and hazardous materials transportation regulatory responsibilities currently administered by RSPA.

Editor’s note: The DOT expects there to be no budgetary impact due to this proposal, and the Office of Management and Budget takes no objection to it. The proposal appears to have wide support within the pipeline industry. We expect that it will be approved without significant opposition.

Acquiring a pipeline?

RCP can provide due diligence audits to help you ensure that potential compliance issues have been addressed before the sale is final. Click Here.

EPA Stormwater Construction General Permit – proposed modifications

On July 1, 2003, EPA noticed in the Federal Register (68 FR 29087 ) issuance of the final NPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activities (hereinafter called the “construction general permit” or “CGP”) for activities located in EPA Regions 1-3 and 5-10. (All references in this notice to the CGP also include the construction general permit issued in the State of Massachusetts on August 4, 2003. 68 FR 45817.) Operators of both large (> 5 acres) and small (1-5 acres) construction sites may be eligible to obtain coverage under the CGP for allowable storm water and non-storm water discharges. The CGP is available only in those areas where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority. The EPA has proposed revisions to the CGP to clarify that permit noncompliance only appy to sites with permit coverage. In addition, this proposed modification includes correction of a typographical error in the permit and a corresponding error in the fact sheet.

The CGP and accompanying fact sheet are available on EPA’s Internet Web site at:

PREP Schedule for 2005 – 2007

The Coast Guard, the Research and Special Programs Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minerals Management Service, in concert with representatives from various State governments, industry, environmental interest groups, and the general public, developed the Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) Guidelines for oil spill response exercises.

The guiding principles for PREP distinguish between internal and external exercises. Internal exercises are conducted within the plan holder’s organization. External exercises extend beyond the plan holder’s organization to involve other members of the response community. External exercises are separated into two categories: (1) Area exercises, and (2) Government-initiated unannounced exercises. These exercises are designed to evaluate the entire pollution response mechanism in a given geographic area to ensure adequate response preparedness.

A National Schedule Coordination Committee (NSCC) was established for scheduling these Area exercises. The NSCC is comprised of personnel representing the four Federal regulating agencies-the USCG, U.S. EPA, MMS, and RSPA’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS). Since 1994, the NSCC has published a triennial schedule of Area exercises. In short, the Area exercises involve the entire response community (Federal, State, local, and industry participants) and therefore, require more extensive planning than other oil spill response exercises. The PREP Guidelines describe all of these exercises in more detail.

This notice announces the next triennial schedule of Area exercises. The PREP schedule for calendar years 2005, 2006, and 2007 for Government-Led and Industry-Led Area exercises is available on the Internet at If a company wants to volunteer for an Area exercise, a company representative may call either the Coast Guard or EPA On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) where the exercise is scheduled.

RCP President, Bill Byrd Speaks at Recent Energy Breakfast

Bill Byrd, President of RCP gave a lively presentation at the recent Energy Breakfast hosted by the law firm Locke Liddell & Sap. Mr. Byrd, along with Bill Swanstrom, Co-head of LLS’ Energy Practice Group, focused on the regulatory compliance due diligence process in a typical midstream acquisition, and shared a few war stories about the types of issues that come up, how to structure around them, and what can happen if you don’t discover or deal with those issues.

Highlights of the presentation included:

  • The Importance of Due Diligence
  • How good deals go wrong…What to Do, Data Issues, Applicability, Compliance and Duration
  • Post Diligence Considerations…Contractual Protections, Representation, Terminations
  • Indemnities…Scope, Thresholds, Caps and Duration

    For information regarding RCP’s acquisition and due diligence services contact Laura Wager at

RCP Services Spotlight – Litigation Support / Expert Witness Services

RCP’s professionals frequently are called upon to serve as expert witnesses or to provide other types of litigation support work. RCP has the expertise and the corporate infrastructure needed to provide results for our clients.

  • Expertise
    • RCP has the credibility that comes from conducting audits and developing programs for literally dozens of pipeline companies throughout the United States. RCP’s subject matter experts have in-depth knowledge and expertise on the DOT Pipeline Safety regulations for both gas and liquid pipelines. They are frequently called upon to make presentations at industry meetings, and are published in industry journals and magazines. For example, RCP literally “wrote the book” for DOT compliance for pipelines in the chemical industry. Many of our employees have years of relevant industry experience, including one employee who is a retired Regional Administrator for the Office of Pipeline Safety.
  • Infrastructure
    • RCP has the ability to commit significant company resources as needed to mount an effective case, including professional engineers, compliance specialists, and technical writers. We are able to generate a lot of work in a short amount of time in order to meet court or client deadlines. RCP has world-class information management systems, with impressive data management capabilities. Our organizational skills give us the ability to wade through thousands of pages of documentation to find the important documents, and the ability to organize them as needed to clearly explain the relevant facts and information. RCP also has field personnel who can provide on-the-ground support for litigation issues, including corrosion program data gathering, photography, and other measurements and data gathering
  • Results
    • RCP has successfully defended pipeline companies in both large and relatively small cases. In one case, the plaintiff totally abandoned claims related to the issues that we defended. In another case, the plaintiff dropped their request for a temporary restraining order within 24 hours of our expert’s deposition and presentation of our calculations.

Please Click Here if you would like additional information on RCP’s litigation support services.

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