In This Section
Changes to the USDOT pipeline safety regulations may affect oilfield gathering line operators.
On January 3, 2012, President Obama signed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (the Act). This act reauthorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), requires PHMSA to investigate, evaluate, and report on specific applications of the pipeline safety regulations, and expands some of those pipeline safety regulations.
Specifically, the Act requires PHMSA to conduct the following evaluations:
• Should currently required integrity management requirements be expanded beyond pipelines located in high consequence areas (HCAs);
• Should currently required pipeline repair requirements be expanded beyond pipelines located in HCAs;
• Should class location requirements be eliminated;
• Should exemptions relating to gathering lines be eliminated;
• Should technically feasible leak detection standards be applied;
• What is the impact on pipeline safety by excavation damage; and
• What is the ability of transmission facility operators to respond to releases in HCAs.
These evaluations are required by the Act to be completed within 18 months to 2 years.
Additionally, the Act expands the pipeline safety regulations to include:
• Raising the violation per day cap to $200,000.00 and the maximum penalty for a series of related violations cap to $2,000,000.00;
• Requiring the use of remote or automatic shut-off valves on new or replaced transmission lines;
• Requiring PHMSA to maintain copies of pipeline spill response plans and provide copies excluding security sensitive information to anyone submitting a written request;
• Requiring notification to PHMSA and the National Response Center of pipeline facility incidents and accidents within 1 hour of confirmed discovery;
• Providing PHMSA with recordkeeping and civil penalty authority related to onshore liquid pipeline facility response plan violations;
• Expanding information submittals to the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS), including design and material specifications;
• Eliminating the gathering line exemption for submittal of information to the NPMS;
• Requiring submission to PHMSA of proposed project design specifications, construction plans, and procedures at least 120 days before construction begins; and
• Requiring owners or operators of regulated pipelines to conduct and submit to PHMSA verification of pipeline Maximum Allowable Operating Pressures (MAOP).
For futher information, contact: Jeff Citrone, Director of Health and Safety Compliance at 303-962-5494 or firstname.lastname@example.org.