DOT Pipeline Compliance News

October 2014 Issue

In This Issue

PHMSA Advisory Bulletin (ADB-2014-03): 60 Day Construction Notification

[Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0017]

The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an Advisory Bulletin to all owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to provide further clarification regarding the notification(s) required prior to certain construction-related events. The gas and liquid regulations in 49 CFR 191.22(c)(1) and 195.64(c)(1) require each operator to notify PHMSA 60 days in advance of certain construction-related events through the National Registry of Pipeline and LNG Operators, including:

  • Construction of 10 or more miles of a new pipeline: (1) a pipeline that did not previously exist and (2) for the replacement of 10 or more contiguous miles of line pipe in an existing pipeline; or
  • Construction of a new or any planned rehabilitation, replacement, modification, upgrade, uprate, or update of a facility, other than a section of line pipe, that costs $10 million or more.

PHMSA did not specifically define the term “construction” in the codes. This may be somewhat challenging for pipeline operators attempting to determine when 60 days before a construction related event occurs for reporting purposes. Accordingly, PHMSA strongly encourages operators to provide the required notification(s) not later than 60 days prior to whichever of the following construction-related activities occurs first:

  • Material purchasing and manufacturing;
  • Right-of-way acquisition;
  • Construction equipment move-in activities;
  • Onsite or offsite fabrications; or
  • Right-of-way clearing, grading, and ditching.

That is, pipeline operators should notify PHMSA 60 days prior to whichever of these activities would occur first on the operator’s specific project.

While the notification prior to the first occurring construction-related activity is strongly encouraged and will benefit both PHMSA and the operator, these activities may not necessarily represent the commencement of construction for purposes of triggering the minimum 60-day notice period in the regulations subject to enforcement by PHMSA. [See related Advisory Bulletins (ADB–2012–01 and ADB–2012–0) on this same topic.]

For a copy of ADB-2014-03, contact Jessica Foley.

PHMSA Advisory Bulletin (ADB-2014-04) Flow Reversals

[Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0040]

The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an Advisory Bulletin to all operators of hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines of the potential significant impact flow reversals, product changes and conversion to service may have on the integrity of a pipeline. Failures on natural gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines have occurred after these operational changes. This advisory bulletin describes specific notification requirements and general operating and maintenance (O&M) and integrity management actions regarding flow reversals, product changes and conversion to service. This advisory bulletin also recommends additional actions operators should take when these operational changes are made including the submission of a comprehensive written plan to the appropriate PHMSA regional office regarding these changes prior to implementation.

PHMSA refers operators to detailed guidance published in the document, “Guidance to Operators Regarding Flow Reversals, Product Changes and Conversion to Service” which provides operators with PHMSA’s expectations with respect to complying with existing regulations and also contains recommendations that operators should consider prior to implementing these changes.

For a copy of ADB-2014-04; or, a copy of the Guidance to Operators document, contact Jessica Foley.

PHMSA Advisory Committee Meetings Oct. 21-22

[Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0124]

The Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC), also known as the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, and the Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committee (LPAC), also known as the Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee will meet in joint session on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EST to discuss a variety of topics to keep committee members up-to-date on DOT’s pipeline safety program. The committees will meet to discuss performance metrics for pipeline operations, safety management systems in other industries, and agency, state, and stakeholder priorities.

The meeting will take place at the Washington Marriott Georgetown, 1221 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC, 20037-1203. Phone 202-872-1500. Registration information and the meeting agenda can be found on the PHMSA Website.

The meetings will not be webcast; however, presentations will be available on the meeting Web site and posted on the E-Gov Website under docket number PHMSA-2014-0124 within 30 days following the meeting. Members of the public may attend and make a statement during the advisory committee meeting. If you intend to make a statement, or require additional information, please contact Cheryl Whetsel by phone at 202-366-4431 or by email.