Updates

Pipeline Safety Update - Issue No. 149

May 21, 2019

PHMSA Stays Enforcement of 45th Edition of API Specification 5L

On May 1, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a notice announcing that it will not enforce the 45th edition of American Petroleum Institute (API) Specification 5L, “Specification for Line Pipe,” if an operator demonstrates compliance with the more stringent provisions of the 46th edition of API Spec. 5L.  The 45th edition, dated December 2012, is incorporated by reference into the federal regulations, but PHMSA will allow operators to comply with the 46th edition, dated April 2018, which contains more stringent pipe end-straightness tolerances, clarifies how to define and measure end-squareness, and includes new annexes addressing welded jointers and pipe used in strain-based design.  


PHMSA’s notice remains effective until a final rule is issued addressing the 46th edition of API Spec. 5L.  

PHMSA Rulemakings Update. The chart below shows the status of PHMSA’ pending pipeline safety rulemaking initiatives as reflected in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) April Significant Rulemaking Report, PHMSA’s status Chart of legislatively mandated actions, and the Office of Management & Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.  The Unified Agenda appears in two principal parts, Current Agenda Agency Regulatory Entries for Active Actions and Current Long Term Actions

Consistent with an April 11 Executive Order (EO) directing PHMSA to revise safety regulations applicable to liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, DOT has added “Amendments to LNG Facilities,” to the April Significant Rulemaking Chart.  Among other things, the EO requires that PHMSA issue new regulations updating the Part 193 LNG safety standards to reflect best practices and best-available technologies.  To the maximum extent possible, new regulations must reflect risk-based standards.  The EO also requires PHMSA to issue regulations allowing the transportation of LNG by rail car within 13 months. 

New information appears in bold.

Pending Final Rules

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication

PHMSA’s Chart

Emergency Order Procedures

May 15, 2019

October 2018

April 22, 2019

Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines, MAOP Reconfirmation, Expansion of Assessment Requirements and Other Related Amendments

August 20, 2019

March 2019

July 2, 2019

Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines, Repair Criteria, Integrity Management Improvements, Cathodic Protection, Management of Change, and Other Related Amendments

December 20, 2019

December 2019

Not Listed

Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines

June 26, 2020

December 2019

Not Listed

Safety of Onshore Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

June 28, 2019

December 2018

June 18, 2019

Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities

August 27, 2019

December 2018

July 2, 2019

Pending Notices of Proposed Rulemakings

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication

PHMSA’s Chart

Amendments to LNG Facilities

September 2, 2019

Not Listed

Not Listed

Class Location Requirements

November 15, 2019

September 2019

Not Listed

Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform

August 14, 2019

May 2019

Not Listed

LNG by Rail

July 29, 2019

Not Listed

Not Listed

Liquid Pipeline Regulatory Reform

Not Listed

Feb. 2019

Not Listed

Periodic Standards Update

Not Listed

April 2020

Not Listed

Repair Criteria for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

June 26, 2020

Next Action Undetermined

Not Listed

Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards

August 7, 2019

January 2019

August 7, 2019

Pending Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemakings

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication

PHMSA’s Chart

Coastal Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas

Not Listed

April 2020

Not Specified


Other PHMSA Updates

PHMSA amends drug testing regulations to reflect recent DOT requirement to test for opioids.  On April 23, PHMSA issued a final rule making technical corrections to drug testing regulations to ensure consistency with 2017 amendments requiring that DOT-regulated drug testing programs test for oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone, i.e. opioids.  The final rule amends Part 199’s definition of a Prohibited Drug to directly reference DOT’s Part 40 regulations governing drug testing procedures.  PHMSA also is updating the Management Information System (MIS) form to be consistent with this change. 

PHMSA issues advisory bulletin reminding pipeline operators of the risk of damage caused by earth movement.  On May 2, PHMSA issued an advisory bulletin to operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines cautioning that earth movement caused by landslides and subsidence in variable, steep and rugged terrain can damage pipelines and threaten their integrity.  The advisory bulletin reminds operators that existing regulations require that pipeline facilities be designed to consider load imposed by geological forces and that operators actively monitor and address risks associated with geological hazards.  The advisory bulletin recommends that operators take numerous steps to mitigate the risk of damage caused by earth movement, including identifying areas prone to earth movement; using geotechnical engineers when designing, constructing, and operating a pipeline system; developing site-specific design, construction and monitoring plans and procedures that address identified hazards; and developing mitigation measures to remediate identified locations.  The advisory bulletin also identifies specific monitoring and mitigation measures that operators should consider. 


Updates on Reauthorization of the Pipeline Safety Act

On May 1, the Subcommittee on Energy of the House Energy and Commerce Committee convened a hearing on “The State of Pipeline Safety and Security in America.”  Witnesses included PHMSA Administrator Howard “Skip” Elliott, the Acting Director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) W. William Russell, Commissioner Lawrence Friedeman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, and representatives of the Association of Oil Pipelines, the American Gas Association, and the Pipeline Safety Trust.  Prepared statements, testimony, and a video link to the hearing, is here.

For More Information

Van Ness Feldman counsels clients on pipeline safety compliance, enforcement, and litigation under the Pipeline Safety Laws and Regulations and related statutes. If you are interested in additional information regarding pipeline safety matters or any PHMSA or pipeline related matter, please contact Susan Olenchuk at (202) 298-1896 or sam@vnf.comBryn Karaus at (202) 298-1821 or bsk@vnf.com, or any member of the firm’s Pipeline & LNG practice group.

Update Authors

Susan A. Olenchuk
Washington D.C.
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Bryn S. Karaus
Washington D.C.
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Marco Bracamonte
Washington D.C.
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Oil, Gas, & LNG

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State-Specific Association Meetings

November 2019
7-8

TGA Fall Management Conference, Pigeon Force, TN

18-20 TGA & GTI Pipeline Safety Regulatory Compliance, Dickson, TN
December 2019
16-20

ANGA Pipeline Safety and Operations Seminar, Montgomery, AL