A new rule recently released from PHMSA expands safety and reporting requirements for operators of gas gathering pipelines, including 425,000 miles of lines that were previously unregulated.
The newly targeted pipelines were traditionally low-pressure lines in rural areas and considered low risk. Today, with increased fracking, the pressure in these lines has increased significantly, and the risks are now similar to larger transmission lines.
The new rule goes into effect later this month — and organizations will have to take steps to stay in compliance. To remain compliant, oil and gas companies with gas gathering pipelines will have several benchmarks to meet, including:
- Identifying assets
- Completing an annual report, including pipeline mileage, facilities, commodities transported, miles by material, and installation dates
- Reporting incidents and other safety concerns
- Preparing an emergency response manual
- Public awareness program
- Line markers
- Leak surveys
- Corrosion control
While the annual reporting component of this regulation won’t be required until March 2023, businesses will want to create policies and procedures on tracking now to achieve future compliance. However, incident reporting is required for events occuring after May 16, 2022.
With the deadline fast approaching, however, oil and gas organizations should consider these best practices as critical steps to tackle now:
- Identify the start and endpoints of your system.
Endpoints must be designated by the effective date of November 16, 2022. Be sure you accurately identify the start and endpoints of your pipeline and document the methodology to demonstrate transparency and operational safety in all areas.
- Review workplace processes and procedures.
Oversight of pipelines is likely to increase in the future. Look over your organization’s processes and procedures now to ensure compliance with the new requirements within the regulatory timeframes.
- Consider future implications.
Integrating this rule with other PHMSA initiatives like the recently published OQ compliance FAQs (LINK TO BLOG) may be complicated, but thinking through the details carefully can help create efficiencies over the long term.