Friday, December 21, 2012

PHMSA Publishes MAOP Reporting Advisory

Today PHMSA published an Advisory Bulletin in the Federal Register (77 FR 75699-75700) concerning the requirements for reporting when gas transmission pipelines exceed their maximum allowable pressure (MAOP). PHMSA cites 49 USC §60139 as the legal basis for this requirement. Citing statute rather than regulation implies that the PHMSA regulations have not yet caught up with Congressional action on this matter.

PHMSA notes that legislation signed by President Obama in January of this year adds the following requirements for pipeline safety reporting:

“EXCEEDANCES OF MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE OPERATING PRESSURE.—If there is an exceedance of the maximum allowable operating pressure with respect to a gas transmission pipeline of an owner or operator of a pipeline facility that exceeds the build-up allowed for operation of pressure-limiting or control devices, the owner or operator shall report the exceedance to the Secretary and appropriate State authorities on or before the 5th day following the date on which the exceedance occurs.” §60139(b)(2)

PHMSA expects to receive the same information on these reports as required for safety-related condition reports (SRCR) required under 49 CFR §191.25(b). But PHMSA reminds owner/operators that the reporting exceptions allowed under §191.23(b) do not apply to this reporting requirement. The report should be titled “Gas Transmission MAOP Exceedance” and contain the following information:

• The name and principal address of the operator, date of the report, name, job title, and business telephone number of the person submitting the report.

• The name, job title, and business telephone number of the person who determined the condition exists.

• The date the condition was discovered and the date the condition was first determined to exist.

• The location of the condition, with reference to the town/city/county and state or offshore site, and as appropriate, nearest street address, offshore platform, survey station number, milepost, landmark, and the name of the commodity transported or stored.

• The corrective action taken before the report was submitted and the planned follow-up or future corrective action, including the anticipated schedule for starting and concluding such action.

The reports can be filed in the same was as SRCRs {§191.25(a)}, but may also be filed by email ( PHMSA notes that there is a rulemaking in progress that would allow the email submission of SRCRs as well.

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