Today the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (81 FR 20721-20856) pertaining to the safe operation of gas transmission and gathering pipelines. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) was published in August of 2011.
The NPRM addresses a number of new and revised pipeline safety program requirements that were addressed in the ANPRM. These include:
• Modifying the definition of high consequence area (HCA) by adding a new term – moderate consequence area (MCA);
• Adding requirements for selected preventive and mitigative measures (internal and external corrosion control);
• Revising the repair criteria for pipelines in HCAs;
• Adding specificity to the data integration language in the IM rule to establish a number of pipeline attributes that must be included in these analyses, by explicitly requiring that operators integrate analyzed information, and by requiring that data be verified and validated;
• Making requirements related to the nature and application of risk models more specific;
• Strengthening integrity management requirements for applying knowledge gained through the IM Program;
• Strengthening requirements for the selection and use of assessment methods;
• Revising subpart I, including a general update to the technical requirements in appendix D to part 192 for cathodic protection;
• Revising the integrity management requirements in § 192.917(e)(3) to specify that longitudinal seams may not be treated as stable defects unless the segment has been pressure tested;
• Requiring each operator of an onshore gas transmission pipeline to develop and follow a management of change process;
• Requiring verification of maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) in accordance with new § 192.624 for certain onshore, steel, gas transmission pipelines; and
• Modifying the regulation of gas gathering lines.
A number of topics not specifically addressed in the ANPRM have been added to this rulemaking by Congressional mandate (except for the last two). They include:
• Inspection of pipelines following a severe weather event;
• Notification for 7-year reassessment interval extension;
• Reporting exceedances of maximum allowable operating pressure;
• Safety regulations for in-line inspection (ILI), scraper, and sphere facilities; and
• Consensus standards for pipeline assessments.
A number of provisions proposed in the ANPRM were removed from this rulemaking so that they could be addressed in more detail in separate rulemaking actions.
PHMSA is soliciting public feedback on this proposed rulemaking. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # PHMSA-2011-0023). Comments should be submitted by June 7th, 2016.