In This Issue

Passage of Internal Inspection Devices – Gas Pipelines

Years ago, the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) published a regulation requiring that new gas transmission lines and sections of existing transmission lines in which pipe or components are replaced be designed and constructed to accommodate the passage of instrumented internal inspection devices.   On January 30, 1995 (60 FR 7133; Feb. 7, 1995), RSPA stayed enforcement on some facilities and invited comments on proposed changes to the regulation.   The review process is now complete.   This final rule modifies § 192.150 and removes the need to continue in force the suspension of enforcement.   Therefore, the suspension of enforcement is withdrawn as of July 28, 2004 (the effective date of this Final Rule).

For existing onshore gas transmission lines, this action restricts the regulation to replacements of pipe or components.   Note that this is different than the original rule, which required entire line sections to be modified to accommodate smart pigs.

For offshore gas transmission lines, the regulation is restricted to certain new lines that run between platforms or from platforms to shore (for purposes of this rule, new offshore transmission lines are those on which construction begins after December 28, 2005).   New offshore transmission lines 10″ inches or more in outside diameter that run from platform to platform or platform to shore will have to be designed and constructed to accommodate the passage of smart pigs.   This requirement will not apply, however, if platform space or configuration is not compatible with launching or retrieving smart pigs.   Nor will it apply if the design includes one or more taps for lateral connections and the operator can demonstrate, based on investigation or experience, that use of a tap that does not obstruct the passage of instrumented internal inspection devices is not reasonably practical under the design circumstances.   The exemption of other offshore lines based on certain maintenance practices is withdrawn.

Note that none of these exemptions, suspensions of enforcement, or rule modifications apply to hazardous liquid pipelines.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: L. M. Furrow by phone at 202-366-4559, by fax at 202-366-4566, by mail at U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or by e-mail at