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Ohio Public Utilities Commission Pipeline Safety Regulation Updates

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission has recently updated their pipeline safety regulations. The new regulation requires that “gas gathering/processing plant pipeline operators shall comply with the applicable pipe design requirements of 49 CFR 192(C), as effective on the date referenced in paragraph (D) of rule 4901:1-16-02 of the Administrative Code, for all gas gathering pipelines and processing plant gas stub pipelines.” It expands regulation to ALL gas gathering pipelines not otherwise regulated under the Pipeline Safety Regulations (49 CFR 192) that were constructed on or after September 20, 2012 (the date the law went into effect) and carry gas from a horizontal well. The rule includes the following definitions:

  • “Gas gathering pipeline” means a gathering line that is not regulated under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, but includes a pipeline used to collect and transport raw natural gas or transmission quality gas to the inlet of a gas processing plant, the inlet of a distribution system, or to a transmission line.
  • “Gas gathering/processing plant pipeline operator” means any person that owns, operates, manages, controls, or leases, a gas gathering pipeline or a processing plant gas stub pipeline. A gas gathering/processing plant pipeline operator is not an operator as defined in paragraph (P) of this rule, but a person may be both an operator and a gas gathering/processing plant pipeline operator.
  • “Gas processing plant” means a plant that processes raw natural gas into merchantable products, including transmission quality gas or natural gas liquids, and also may include a plant that treats raw natural gas to remove impurities such as carbon dioxide, helium, nitrogen, or water.
  • “Gathering line” and “gathering of gas” have the same meaning as in the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act.
  • “Processing plant gas stub pipeline” means a gas pipeline that transports transmission quality gas from the tailgate of a gas processing plant to the inlet of an interstate or intrastate transmission line and that is considered an extension of the gas processing plant, is not for public use, and is not regulated under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act.
  • “Raw natural gas” means hydrocarbons that are produced in a gaseous state from gas wells and that generally include methane, ethane, propane, butanes, pentanes, hexanes, heptanes, octanes, nonanes, and decanes, as well as other naturally occurring impurities like water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen, oxygen, and helium.
  • “Raw natural gas liquids” means naturally occurring hydrocarbons contained in raw natural gas that are extracted in a gas processing plant and liquefied and generally include mixtures of ethane, propane, butanes, and natural gasoline.

There are no permitting requirements from the PUCO for new construction, but there is a notification requirement. The pre-construction notification form can be found on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s website.