PHMSA issues pipeline operating pressure reporting advisory

The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued an advisory bulletin to pipeline owners and operators to verify records relating to their pipelines’ maximum operating and allowable operating pressures. The bulletin informs operators of anticipated changes in annual reporting requirements of both maximum allowable operating pressures (MAOP) and maximum operating pressure (MOP), the US Department of Transportation agency said.

It said the changes deal with requirements for operators to document confirmation of MAOP, reporting of total mileage and mileage with adequate records, what PHMSA considers an adequate record, and when reports must be submitted.

The 2011 Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Act, which US President Barack Obama signed on Jan. 3, requires gas pipeline owners and operators to verify their records accurately reflect MAOP on their lines within Class 3 and Class 4 locations and in Class 1 and Class 2 locations in high-consequence areas, PHMSA said in a May 7 Federal Register notice. Starting in 2013, it intends to require operators to verify records in these locations via the Gas Transmission and Gathering Systems Annual Report, it said.

It noted that the National Transportation Safety Board, in its Aug. 20, 2011, report of its investigation into the Sept. 9, 2010, explosion and fire of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s gas pipeline rupture and fire in San Bruno, Calif., recommended that the federal pipeline safety law’s grandfather clause be deleted and that all gas pipelines built before 1970 be subjected to a hydrostatic test which incorporated a spike test. PHMSA said it would address the recommendation in a future rulemaking.

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