The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has released two major changes to the regulations governing natural gas transmission pipelines over the last year. The “Mega Rule” and the “Final Rule” could have major impacts on natural gas pipeline operators if they are not prepared to comply with the new rules. 

The PHMSA Mega Rule went into effect on July 1, 2021, with the goal to increase natural gas pipeline safety. The rule significantly increased regulations on natural gas transmission pipelines. The result of the increase in regulation requires operators to have significantly higher data management and reporting standards to ensure compliance.

PHMSA also issued a final rule that expands Federal pipeline safety oversight to all onshore gas gathering pipelines. This rule expands the definition of a “regulated” gas-gathering pipeline to gathering pipelines that in some cases are more than 50 years old. It will apply federal pipeline safety regulations to approximately 400,000 miles of previously unregulated gas-gathering pipelines.

Historically, gathering lines have been lower-pressure, lower risk, smaller-diameter lines, typically situated in lesser-populated, rural areas. But with the growth of hydraulic fracturing, gas-gathering pipelines have increased in size and operational risk, according to PHMSA, and operators must therefore report all safety information.  

Fortunately, Global Information Systems has developed, implemented and refined purpose-built solutions to assist any operator in meeting these broader and more stringent regulations.

More detail on the new rules per 49 CFR Part 192: 

  • 192.624 and 192.632 details where insufficient records exist to confirm Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) in Class 3, 4, HCA, and MCA locations, operators are required to reconfirm MAOP prior to July 2, 2035. Fifty percent of reconfirmation is to be complete by July 2, 2028 and all operators had to report their plan to complete the verification prior to July 1, 2021.
  • 192.607 requires that operators verify the material properties of all pipelines and non-line pipe (>2”) for Class 3, 4, and HCA locations. While most operators have addressed line-pipe material verification, generally, much less effort has been given to the associated fabrications and appurtenances. 
  • 192.5(d) states that operators are now required to maintain records documenting the current class location of each pipeline segment and the methodology used to determine each class location. 
  • Lastly, 192.710 adds the requirement for operators to expand Integrity Management Programs to include Cass 3, 4, and piggable MCAs. The initial integrity assessments required must be completed within 14 years of the publication of the rule and every 10 years thereafter. 

How Global can help:

Global has been helping pipeline operators meet PHMSA asset integrity and asset validation requirements for nearly 20 years by helping to design, implement and manage compliance programs that cost-effectively meet PHMSA rules with minimal impact on business operations.

Global has the tools, technologies and experienced staff to help meet these new regulatory requirements through data collection, data management, TVC materials verification, data modeling, data mining, MAOP calculation, program management and Class location management services.  Global has helped numerous clients successfully prepare for and comply with PHMSA requirements and satisfy dozens of PHMSA audits.

In fact, Global has assisted in the records verification and data mining, TVC analysis and MAOP/MOP calculations on thousands of pipeline fabrications and facilities and over 150,000 miles of transmission and gathering pipeline.

To learn more about the PHMSA rules and Global’s services, please contact Peak Growth Ventures. 

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