OPS recently released an advisory concerning the definition of gas gathering lines, which reads in part:
Until OPS completes its rulemaking to better define natural gas gathering lines (Docket No. RSPA-98-4868), OPS will continue to classify lines according to the four-point standard established through court precedent and historical interpretation. OPS will also continue to classify lines that pose unique difficulties of classification on a case-by-case basis. In brief, in the most common situation, gathering begins at or near the well head. In most cases, the gathering process terminates at the outlet of a processing plant. A processing plant is defined by the extraction of heavy ends from the natural gas. If there is no upstream processing plant, the gathering process terminates at the outlet of a pipeline compressor. For the purposes of determining the termination point of the gas gathering process, OPS does not consider a well head compressor (field compressor) to be a pipeline compressor. If there is no processing plant or pipeline compressor, the point at which the gathering process ends is where two or more well pipelines converge. If none of these points applies, the gas gathering termination point is where there is a change in ownership of the pipeline. These points are determined on a case-by-case basis considering the location of the pipeline in relation to population density, major traffic areas, and environmentally sensitive areas.
The entire advisory can be downloaded from RCP’s website here.