Underground Construction - November 2019 - 12

WASHINGTONWATCH

Stephen Barlas | Washington Editor

PHMSA Issues Major Gas,
Hazardous Liquid Safety Rules
Years after receiving congressional
directives to change safety laws - and
similar suggestions from the National
Transportation Safety Administration -
the federal pipeline safety agency finally
issued two major rules: one directed at
interstate gas pipelines and the other at
hazardous liquids pipelines.
The two very detailed, technical rules
are similar to the extent they extend
"integrity management" programs beyond
high-consequence areas and force a more
thorough and timely effort to find leaks in
both sectors. There are also provisions on
use of inspection tools, such as changes
to where direct assessment can be used,
and some leeway on inline tools, known
as "pigs." The gas rule also mandates new
inspections of pre-1970-installed pipes and
other segments that will need to have the
maximum allowable operating pressure
(MAOP) reconfirmed.
"We're pleased that PHMSA has
updated their regulations so that natural
gas and liquid pipeline operators are able
to facilitate the use of new technologies
and processes that will help to keep their
operations safe for employees, surrounding
communities and the environment," said
Robin Rorick, vice President of Midstream
and Industry Operations at the American
Petroleum Institute.
"These regulations are an important
step in advancing safety, and we strongly
encourage PHMSA to continue to pursue
additional rulemaking that provides liquid
pipeline operators the flexibility to use fitfor-purpose, repair criteria based on data
and sound engineering principles."
The Interstate Natural Gas Association
of America (INGAA) had worked with
PHMSA and other stakeholders to sculpt
the final gas transmission rule, which
was first necessitated by a congressional
pipeline safety bill passed in 2011. PHMSA
itself had inaugurated a rulemaking on
some aspects of the final rule that same
12

NOVEMBER 2019 | UConOnline.com

The two very detailed,
technical rules are similar to the
extent they extend "integrity
management" programs
beyond high-consequence
areas and force a more
thorough and timely effort to
find leaks in both sectors.
year. The industry had been anxious for the
final rule to be issued.
Don Santa, president and CEO of
INGAA, said, "The natural gas pipeline
industry is pleased to see the completion
of this major update to PHMSA's pipeline
safety regulations. While INGAA still needs
to review the specifics of the final rule, we
know that it embraces new pipeline safety
technologies and engineering practices, and
constitutes the most significant enhancement to PHMSA natural gas transmission
pipeline safety regulations since the federal
code was created in 1970."
One key provision on the gas side
(distribution pipelines are not covered by
the new rule) involves confirmation MAOP
of pipelines built before 1970, "grandfathered" pipelines operating at or above
30 percent of specified minimum yield
strength (SMYS). Operators with missing
records can choose one of six methods to
reconfirm their MAOP and must keep the
record that is generated by this exercise
for the life of the pipeline. PHMSA has also
created an opportunistic method by which
operators with insufficient material property records can obtain such records.
The extension of integrity requirements
involves pipelines in Class 3 and Class 4
locations and in the newly defined "moderate consequence areas" (MCA). They must
be assessed initially within 14 years of this
rule's publication date and then reassessed

at least once every 10 years thereafter.
INGAA supported the creation of MCAs
but wanted changes made, such as limiting
the definition to only those pipeline
segments that could be assessed through
an ILI inspection and amending it to avoid
ambiguity regarding residential structures.
PHMSA acceded to the first request
allowing the use of direct assessment, but
denied the latter. Direct assessment in
MCAs is appropriate if it is suitable for the
threat being assessed, but cannot be used to
assess threats for which direct assessment
is not suitable, such as pipe seam threats.
This rule also explicitly requires devices
on in-line inspection (ILI) launcher or
receiver facilities that can safely relieve
pressure in the barrel before inserting or removing ILI tools. In addition, it requires the
use of a device that can indicate whether
the pressure has been relieved in the barrel
or can otherwise prevent the barrel from
being opened if the pressure is not relieved.
While the pipeline industry eagerly
awaits both final rules, gas transmission
companies may be disappointed that only
some of the proposals the agency has been
considering since 2011 are being finalized.
The agency anticipates completing a second
rulemaking sometime in the future to
address repair criteria in HCAs and the creation of new repair criteria for non-HCAs,
requirements for inspecting pipelines
following extreme events, updates to
pipeline corrosion control requirements,
codification of a management of change
process, clarification of certain other IM
requirements, and strengthening IM assessment requirements. A third rulemaking
is expected to address requirements related
to gas gathering lines that were proposed
in the NPRM.

EPA Considers Cancelling
Emission Control Requirements
The Environmental Protection Agency
wants to relieve the gas transmission indus-


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Underground Construction - November 2019

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