The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed expansion of the current Integrity Management rules to include previously unregulated pipelines.  As forecasted here, gathering lines are among the expanded reach.

PHMSA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is one of PHMSA’s most significant rulemakings to date, and if finalized, will result in a huge resource burden to the industry; unwelcome news during this challenging economic environment for the industry.

Some of the more significant new proposed requirements would change 49 CFR 195 to include the following:

  • Extending certain Integrity Management assessment and repair requirements to all pipelines, rather than those in high consequence areas (HCAs). PHMSA proposes to require pipeline segments not currently subject to the Integrity Management  regulations to be assessed by in-line inspections (ILI) at least once every 10 years, regardless of the proximity to high consequence areas (HCAs).
  • Limiting assessment methods other than ILI on non-HCA pipelines with notice including a technical demonstration that the pipeline is not capable of accommodating an ILI tool.
  • Changing the applicability of pipeline repair criteria to expand the list of conditions that require immediate remediation and to consolidate the timeframes for remediating all other conditions, and to apply these repair criteria to pipelines that are not subject to Integrity Management requirements, with an adjusted schedule for performing non-immediate repairs.
  • Modifying current Integrity Management repair criteria to encompass new conditions to be treated as “immediate repair conditions,” including bottom-side dents with stress risers; a calculation of remaining strength that shows a predicted burst pressure less than 1.1 times maximum operating pressure; any indication of significant stress corrosion cracking; and any indication of selective seam weld corrosion.
  • Eliminating current 60-day and 180-day repair categories, and would establish a new, consolidated 270-day repair category for ‘non-immediate’ repairs.
  • PHMSA proposes to specify that the immediate repair criteria in Part 195.452(h) are applicable to non-Integrity Management repairs and to establish an 18-month repair category.
  • Amending Part 195 to include a general requirement for performing all other repairs within a reasonable time.
  • Requiring any pipeline that could affect a HCA to be upgraded in order to accommodate ILI tools within 20 years, unless the basic construction of the pipeline would not accommodate the passage of such devices. Under current regulations, new pipelines and each line section of a pipeline where the line pipe, valve, fitting, or other line component is replaced must be designed and constructed to accommodate the passage of ILI devices, with certain exceptions.
  • Expanding the use of leak detection systems. PHMSA proposes to require all new hazardous liquid pipelines (not just those that could impact a HCA) to be designed to include leak detection systems and to evaluate the kind of system required to adequately protect the public, property and the environment.
  • Requiring Operators of all new liquid pipelines to evaluate and modify, as necessary, the capability of their leak detection systems to protect the public, property, and the environment.
  • Extending reporting requirements to certain unregulated lines, including all liquid gathering lines to require operators of all liquid gravity and gathering lines to submit annual, safety-related condition, and incident reports.
  • Requiring operators to inspect pipeline facilities potentially affected by an extreme weather event such as a hurricane or flood, an earthquake, a natural disaster, or other similar event within 72 hours after the cessation of the event, to ensure that no conditions exist that could adversely affect the pipeline and take appropriate remedial actions, which may include pressure reductions or shutdown in certain cases;
  • Requiring that operators of a new pipeline to develop a written Integrity Management program before the pipeline begins operation rather than one year after commissioning as current regulations require;
  • Specifying certain pipeline attributes that must be included in the information analysis required under the Integrity Management rule and requiring that operators identify any spatial relationship among anomalous information;
  • Requiring that operators verify the identification of segments subject to Integrity Management requirements annually; and
  • Clarifying that IM requirements apply to components of pipeline systems beyond line pipe, such as pump stations and breakout tanks.

Comments are due by January 8, 2016, and industry push-back is expected.