Susan A. Olenchuk

Partner

202.298.1896

sam@vnf.com

Assistant

1050 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20007

Representative PHMSA Experience:

Enforcement Successes
  • Defended pipeline operators in multiple enforcement proceedings involving such issues as welding, operator qualification, and physical security of facilities, achieving withdrawals of Notices of Probable Violations, proposed civil penalties and compliance orders.
  • Assisted in successfully resolving enforcement proceeding involving the application of PHMSA’s Part 192 MAOP and record-keeping requirements to gas distribution pipelines constructed before 1970.
  • Helped operator negotiate favorable consent agreement to resolve the application of PHMSA’s Part 195 regulations to natural gas liquid fractionation facilities.
  • Counseled LNG operator on a corrective action order proceeding that involved a hearing and helped with implementation issues.
  • Assisted hazardous pipeline operator in managing notice of proposed safety order.  
  • Counseled operators with respect post-incident issues involving drug and alcohol testing.  
  • Advised operator in district court litigation involving jurisdictional status of plant piping. 
Regulatory Counseling and Problem Solving under the Pipeline Safety Act
  • Provided gas pipeline operators with regulatory certainty in applying Part 192 MAOP requirements and conversion regulations to transmission and gathering pipelines, successfully helping operators manage real-life operational circumstances, conserve resources, and achieve business and operational objectives.
  • Provided hazardous liquid pipeline operator compliance guidance and regulatory certainty in applying integrity management regulations to non-line pipe.
  • Assisted pipelines in determining whether gas pipeline segments should be classified as transmission, distribution, or gathering.  
  • Provided gas pipeline operator regulatory certainty with respect to the construction of new road crossings over existing pipeline.
  • Provided gas pipeline operators regulatory certainty regarding the classification of farm taps facilities and their regulatory status.
  • Helped provide regulatory certainty to pipeline operators in assessing whether their pipelines are subject to PHMSA jurisdiction, and if so, which regulations apply. 
  • Guided pipeline operator in applying odorization requirements for new and existing pipelines.  
  • Assisted gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators in determining jurisdictional and classification status of terminal piping. 
  • Helped gas pipeline operator prepare applications for special permits.
  • Reviewed written compliance procedures for Control Room Management, Distribution Integrity Management, Operating and Maintenance, Emergency Response, and other PHMSA regulatory programs to assess compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Helps operators assess the impact of new PHMSA regulations in rate and abandonment proceedings before FERC.
  • Identified compliance issues in connection with the acquisition and sale of assets.
Legislative and Regulatory Policy
  • Helped trade association and pipeline operators prepare comments on complex notice of proposed rulemaking that may significantly amend safety standards for gas transmission and gathering pipelines; guided trade association on outreach to FERC regarding rate and abandonment implications of PHMSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking.
In-House Training
  • Provides training and seminars to management, operational staff, and in-house legal staff regarding PHMSA jurisdiction and regulatory programs.

Representative FERC Experience:

  • Advises natural gas pipelines and customers in rate, tariff, certificate, and rulemaking proceedings.
  • Assists interstate gas pipelines with pipeline FERC rate and abandonment implications of pipeline safety regulatory developments.
  • Counsels natural gas pipelines and LDCs on implementation and compliance issues arising under FERC’s affiliate Standards of Conduct and undue preference policies.
  • Counsels pipelines on jurisdictional issues associated with natural gas transportation and storage services provided under Section 311 of the NGPA.

Publications

Pipeline Records Verification: Compliance Questions for Operators

Pipeline and Gas Journal, Vol. 239 Issue 9
09/01/2012

The Potential Impact of New Pipeline Safety Laws on PHMSA's Regulatory Initiatives

Pipeline and Gas Journal, Vol. 239 Issue 4
04/01/2012

Pipeline Safety: Attorneys Ready for the Challenge

Pipeline & Gas Journal, Vol. 238 Issue 8
08/01/2011

Hydro Licensing and the Endangered Species Act: Implications of FERC's Current Approach

Hydro Review
Recipient of the Author's Award as the No.1 ranked article by readers, Vol. 26 Issue 3
06/01/2007

Report of the Judicial Review Committee

Energy Law Journal, Vol. 27 Issue 1
06/01/2006

The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002

Energy Law Journal, co-authored with Theresa I. Zolet, Vol. 24 Issue 1
02/01/2003

Presentations

16th Annual Platts Gas Storage Outlook Conference

Panel Moderator, "The Future of Safety Regulation of Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities"
Houston, TX
01/08/2018

S&P Global Market Intelligence

Presenter, "Pipeline Safety Issues"
Washington, DC
12/15/2016

The Basics of FERC Ratemaking for Interstate Pipelines

Instructor, "FERC Ratemaking Under the Natural Gas Act"
New Mexico State University
Albuquerque, NM
10/10/2016

AGA 2016 Legal Forum

Presenter,"Pipeline Safety Act and the Impact of Proposed Regulations and New Legislation"
Asheville, NC
07/10/2016

Energy Bar Association Annual Conference

Panelist, "Known Knowns and Known Unknowns: Sifting Through Regulatory Changes in the Gas Pipeline Industry"
Energy Bar Association
Washington, DC
06/07/2016

2016 API Pipeline Conference

Moderator, "PHMSA Regulatory Agenda"
American Petroleum Institute
Carlsbad, CA
04/05/2016

The Basics of Natural Gas Pipeline Ratemaking Course

Instructor, FERC Ratemaking under the Natural Gas Act
New Mexico State University - Center for Public Utilities
Albuquerque, NM
10/11/2015

Shale Insight 2015

Panelist, "Pipeline Safety: Understanding Federal and State Regulatory Programs which affect Midstream Pipeline Operations"
Marcellus Shale Coalition
Philadelphia, PA
09/16/2015

6th Annual Pipe Tech Americas Summit

Speaker, "Preparing Your Pipelines for IVP"
San Antonio, TX
04/22/2015