DOT Pipeline Compliance News

September 2004 Issue

In This Issue

DOT Pipeline Compliance / Integrity Assessment Workshop September 28 – 30, 2004 – Houston Early Registration-on or before September 6, 2004.

RCP will conduct a 3-day workshop on DOT Pipeline Regulations on September 28 – 30 in Houston.

  • Day 1 of this workshop will present an overview of all the current DOT regulations for pipeline operators.
  • Day 2 will review recent integrity management initiatives and national standards (ASME, NACE, API) for liquid gas pipelines including ECDA/ICDA, SCCDA, and ILI standard development.
  • Day 3 will review a variety of regulatory requirements associated with integrity assessments, including permitting, waste management, remediation/repair, excavation, hydro testing, and ILI.

This workshop is suitable for all levels of pipeline regulatory and integrity management expertise. We have conducted several of these seminars in the past, and have received excellent feedback. We expect this workshop to fill up rapidly. Early registration and group discounts are available.

For more information or to register, you may visit our website or call Maria at 1-888-727-9937.

Marketing Snoops on your pipeline?

OPS recently issued the following advisory bulletin concerning unauthorized excavations and installation of monitoring equipment on pipelines:

Advisory Bulletin (ADB-04-03)

To: Owners and operators of gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines.

Subject: Potential for unauthorized excavations and the installation of acoustic monitoring devices or other data acquisition devices on pipeline facilities.

Purpose: To ensure that pipeline owners and operators are aware of and take actions to prevent or mitigate the dangers associated with unauthorized excavations and the attendant installation of devices by entities seeking to exploit the pipelines for other purposes, and to remind operators and the public of the need to ensure that underground pipeline facilities are adequately located and protected from inadvertent damage prior to excavations.

Advisory: RSPA/OPS urges all owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to vigilantly monitor their right-of-ways for unauthorized excavation and the installation of data acquisition devices by third parties seeking to extract product movement information from the pipelines. This activity can impact pipeline integrity either through damage to the pipeline caused by the excavation activities or damage to the pipe coating caused by the attachment of the devices to the pipeline. The installation of pipeline monitoring devices should only be performed with the express knowledge, consent, and support of the pipeline operators.

Damage to underground facilities caused by unauthorized excavation can occur without any immediate indication to the operator. Sometimes a damaged underground pipeline facility will not fail for years after the completion of excavation activities. Excavation equipment does not need to fully rupture a pipeline facility to create a hazardous situation. Damage to coatings and other corrosion prevention systems can increase the risk of a delayed ‡corrosion failure. Escaping and migrating gas can create a safety issue for people living and working near these facilities long after the completion of excavation activities. Leakage from a damaged or ruptured hazardous liquid pipeline can create environmental and safety issues. The primary safety concern is to ensure that excavation operations do not accidentally contact existing underground pipeline facilities. This can be averted by knowing the precise locations of all underground pipeline facilities in proximity to excavation operations and closely monitoring excavation activities.

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.

Pipeline Safety: Periodic Underwater Inspections

Approximately 125 companies operate underwater pipelines in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets. RSPA / OPS has published a final rule that will require each of these companies to prepare and follow a procedure to identify pipelines in waters less than 15 feet deep that are at risk of being an exposed underwater pipeline or a hazard to navigation and to conduct appropriate periodic underwater inspections. RSPA/OPS believes that at most 10% of the affected pipelines may need to be reinspected periodically. RSPA/OPS estimates that the initial cost of this proposal is $6.25 million with annual reinspection costs of approximately $200,000 per year. Under the periodic depth-of-burial inspection regulation, RSPA / OPS has:

  • imposed the same requirements for natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines
  • limited the underwater periodic inspection requirement to waters less than 15 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets, and clarified that certain requirements only apply to waters less than 15 feet deep.
  • confirmed that the existing regulations at § 192.612(b)(1) and 195.413(b)(1) remain in effect.
  • confirmed that adoption of the risk analysis systems provided in the NPRM and further articulated in the TTI report is discretionary.
  • incorporated the phrase “underwater natural bottom (as determined by recognized and generally accepted practices)” in place of the term “seabed” in the affected sections, and allowed for the use of recognized and generally accepted practices to determine the underwater natural bottom
  • allowed for a performance-based alternative to reburial.
  • not including abandoned pipelines in the rule.
  • required an operator to notify RSPA/OPS if it cannot obtain required state or Federal permits in time to comply with the regulation.

This rule is effective on September 9, 2004. RCP has prepared a “marked-up” version of the old rules with the new revisions. For a copy, please contact Laura Wager at

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.

EPA SPCC Plan Extension

The EPA has granted an 18 month extension to the new SPCC plan requirements. The actual text of the rule extension / modification is given below.

§ 112.3 Requirement to prepare and implement a Spill, Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan.

  1. If your onshore or offshore facility was in operation on or before August 16, 2002, you must maintain your Plan, but must amend it, if necessary to ensure compliance with this part, on or before February 17, 2006, and must implement the amended Plan as soon as possible, but not later than August 18, 2006. If your onshore or offshore facility becomes operational after August 16, 2002, through August 18, 2006, and could reasonably be expected to have a discharge as described in § 112.1(b), you must prepare a Plan on or before August 18, 2006, and fully implement it as soon as possible, but not later than August 18, 2006.
  2. If you are the owner or operator of an onshore or offshore facility that becomes operational after August 18, 2006, and could reasonably be expected to have a discharge as described in § 112.1(b), you must prepare and implement a Plan before you begin operations.
  3. If you are the owner or operator of an onshore or offshore mobile facility, such as an onshore drilling or workover rig, barge mounted offshore drilling or workover rig, or portable fueling facility, you must prepare, implement, and maintain a facility Plan as required by this section. You must maintain your Plan, but must amend and implement it, if necessary to ensure compliance with this part, on or before August 18, 2006. If your onshore or offshore mobile facility becomes operational after August 18, 2006, and could reasonably be expected to have a discharge as described in § 112.1(b), you must prepare and implement a Plan before you begin operations. This provision does not require that you prepare a new Plan each time you move the facility to a new site. The Plan may be a general Plan. When you move the mobile or portable facility, you must locate and install it using the discharge prevention practices outlined in the Plan for the facility. The Plan is applicable only while the facility is in a fixed (non-transportation) operating mode.

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.

RCP President to speak at the GITA conference

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) is a nonprofit educational association serving the global geospatial community. The 13th Annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition will be held at the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Houston on September 20-22, 2004. Our president, Bill Byrd, will be speaking on the 20th at the pre-conference seminar entitled “Integrity Management – Maximizing Your Data”. The conference brochure can be downloaded at: We hope to see you there!

OSHA Whistleblower Webpage

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created The Whistleblower Program webpage at: The new page consolidates a variety of whistleblower information, such as links to the implementing regulations, the Office of Administrative Law Judges, and the Administrative Review Board. This site provides a single source for obtaining detailed information on the 14 laws with whistleblower protections administered.

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.

MOU on Pipeline Repair Permitting Streamlining

A copy of the “Memorandum of understanding on coordination of environmental reviews for pipeline repair projects” is now available on the web at: This document explains in general terms how various federal agencies have agreed to work together to expedite permits and authorizations as necessary for pipeline repairs. It envisions the use of the National Pipeline Mapping System for the consolidation and exchange of information relevant to specific geographic areas (i.e. what endengered species are near a pipeline?), commits to agencies to participate in pre-inspection planning and coordination meetings (i.e. before a pipeline assessment is conducted for Integrity Management purposes), and mentions that the agencies will give priority to processing of time sensitive pipeline permit requests. The MOU also states that the agencies will work together to develop a set of Best Management Practices that “when used in making pipeline repairs, will aid the expedited consideration of permitting requests, minimize adverse impacts on the environment and reduce the need for post-repair remediation”. The agencies also plan to establish a working group to develop guidance documents for the agencies to use to coordinate and expedite permitting of time sensitive repairs. The agencies also agreed to participate in the processes established by the Ombudsman designated pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 60133(e) to assist in resolving disagreements.

As a side benefit, section III of the MOU describes the legal authority, jurisdiction, and major activities that impact pipeline permitting for 15 federal agencies / organizations, in only 15 paragraphs. It is one of the best high-level summaries of “which federal agencies regulate what pipeline activities, and under what authority” that we have seen. The authors of Cliffs Notes would be proud!

DOT/OPS adopts API Standard 1104 Nineteenth Edition

DOT/OPS has adopted API 1104 nineteenth edition as matter incorporated by reference in 49 CFR 195 and 49 CFR 192. This edition replaces the eighteenth edition which has been previously incorporated by reference.

The nineteenth edition contains numerous changes from the eighteenth edition. This new edition has been reorganized by a significant breakout of Section 1 into a total of four sections. The remaining sections have been renumbered to reflect the newly added sections. A new Appendix has also been added to cover in-service welding. The nineteenth edition also contains numerous text changes from the earlier edition. Some changes are significant while others are minor. All changes are marked by a vertical bar in the margin.

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.