In This Issue

Periodic Underwater Inspections: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The Office of Pipeline Safety is proposing to amend the pipeline safety regulations to require operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to have procedures for periodic inspections of pipeline facilities in offshore waters less than 15 feet deep or crossing under a navigable waterway. These inspections would ensure that the pipeline is not exposed or a hazard to navigation.

RSPA/OPS proposes that owners and operators of these underwater pipeline facilities be required to develop procedures to conduct periodic underwater depth of burial inspections of their submerged pipelines. The procedures would assess the risk of a pipeline becoming exposed or a hazard to navigation by taking into account the particular dynamics of the water bottom, including the probability of flotation, scour, erosion, and the impacts of major storms. The operator should also establish a timetable for inspection of underwater pipelines based on their risks.

RSPA/OPS requests comments from industry and the public on the following topics:

  1. Performance Versus Prescriptive
  2. Hazard to Navigation
  3. Navigable Waters
  4. Reporting Requirements
  5. Marking Exposed Pipelines Pending their Reburial
  6. Reburial Requirements
  7. Abandoned Pipelines
  8. Exposed Pipeline
  9. Gulf of Mexico and Its Inlets
  10. Underwater Natural Bottom

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments by February 10, 2004 [Docket Number RSPA-97-3001]. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

The full proposal can be obtained from Dan Shelledy at