American Oil and Gas Reporter - November 2016 - 18

IndustryDigest
says it is accepting comments in
advance of the final rule.
In a separate action, PHMSA also
released a policy statement on civil
penalties.
The safety regulations implement a
provision of the Protecting Our
Infrastructure of Pipelines Enhancing
Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, PHMSA
says. According to the agency, the
enhanced authority it receives from the
rule will be used in instances where, for
example, a serious manufacturing flaw
has been discovered in pipe, equipment
or other materials, or when an accident
reveals a specific industry practice is
unsafe and needs immediate correction.
In addition to reauthorizing PHMSA
through 2019, the PIPES Act gives it
emergency order authority, the rule
says, authorizing the agency to issue
emergency orders on owners and
operators without prior notice or an
opportunity for a hearing if failure to act
likely would result in serious harm to
life, property or the environment.
Unlike its earlier authority, PHMSA
says the new emergency order covers a
broad group of owners/operators,
facilities or systems.
The emergency order may impose
restrictions, prohibitions, and safety
measures on owners and operators of
hazardous liquid pipeline facilities, but
only to the extent necessary to abate the
imminent hazard, the agency describes.
The order provides an administrative
mechanism to petition for review of the
order.
The agency says comments must be

received by Dec. 13. They may be
delivered through the government
regulations website at
www.regulations.gov, or by mail at
Docket Operations, U.S. Department of
Transportation, West Building, Ground
Floor, Room W12-140, Routing Symbol
M-30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE,
W12-140, Washington, D.C. 205900001.
On Oct. 17, the agency published a
policy statement on civil penalties in the
Federal Register. Respondents in
enforcement cases now may request a
proposed civil penalty calculation
through the PHMSA website.
The agency advises pipeline owners
and operators that, as appropriate, it will
issue higher penalties, and greater
weight will be attached to certain
factors in determining penalty amounts.
It says those factors include violations
that are causal to an incident or that
increase its severity, such as smaller
hazardous liquid spills or methane
releases, repeat offenses or violations of
the same safety standards, or multiple
instances of the same violation. ❒

DOE Releases Report
On Gas Storage Safety
WASHINGTON-The Department of
Energy's Interagency Task Force on
Natural Gas Storage Safety released
recommendations in October for
increasing the safety and reliability of
underground natural gas storage
facilities.

From left: Arkansas
Speaker of the House
Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, and Senate Pro
Tempore Jonathan
Dismang, R-Searcy,
share a laugh with television talk show host
Roby Brock during the
Arkansas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association's annual convention, Oct. 2-4 in Little
Rock. Gillam and Dismang, along with U.S.
Representative Bruce
Westerman, R-Ar., provided a state and federal legislative outlook that kicked off the business portion of AIPRO's convention, at
which Mike Callan, vice president of government affairs for Stephens Production Co. in
Fort Smith, Ar., succeeded Andy Miller, senior director of government and community
relations for Southwestern Energy, as AIPRO president.

18 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

The task force report notes that the
group, which was co-chaired by
Franklin Orr, DOE undersecretary for
science and energy, and Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration Administrator Marie
Therese Dominguez, was convened
early this year by the White House,
following the October 2015 methane
leak at Southern California Gas
Company's Aliso Canyon Storage Field
in Los Angeles County.
Congress codified the task force
when it passed S 2276, the Protecting
our Infrastructure of Pipelines and
Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act in June.
That bill also directed PHMSA to issue
minimum federal standards for
underground gas storage facilities, the
task force mentions.
The report may be accessed at
http://energy.gov/downloads/reportensuring-safe-and-reliable-underground
-natural-gas-storage.
Noting that 80 percent of wells in the
nation's natural gas storage fields were
completed in the 1970s or earlier, the
task force recommends that, except
under limited circumstances, natural gas
storage operators should phase out
single-point-of-failure well designs. In
addition, the report's executive
summary says, they should develop risk
management plans (RMPs) that include:
* Analyses of risks such as the
condition of wells and their proximity
to population centers;
* Well records relevant to
mechanical integrity;
* Testing programs and plans for
remediating substandard wells;
* Continuous monitoring plans; and
* Emergency operation plans in the
event of a significant integrity breach.
The report also suggests RMPs lay
out timelines to remediate substandard
wells and determine how risks can be
monitored adequately during periods of
transition. It says regulators should
consider the impacts of such measures
on rate payers and reliability.
RMPs should be reviewed and
updated periodically, the task force
continues. It adds that along with the
RMPs, gas storage operators should
improve and publish data on the
integrity of wells within a storage field.
"Companies operating natural gas
storage facilities should adopt these
recommendations as quickly as possible
to reduce the risk of future leaks," Orr
and Dominguez encourage. ❒


http://www.regulations.gov http://www.energy.gov/downloads/report-ensuring-safe-and-reliable-underground-natural-gas-storage http://www.energy.gov/downloads/report-ensuring-safe-and-reliable-underground-natural-gas-storage http://www.energy.gov/downloads/report-ensuring-safe-and-reliable-underground-natural-gas-storage

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - November 2016

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - November 2016 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - November 2016 - 2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - November 2016 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - November 2016 - 4
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