MMS rule clarifies offshore pipeline jurisdiction

The US Minerals Management Service has issued a rule to clarify the regulatory jurisdiction of oil and gas pipelines on the Outer Continental Shelf. MMS said the regulation resolves some regulatory issues stemming from a 1996 agreement between the interior and transportation departments regarding regulation of OCS pipelines.


Washington, DC�The US Minerals Management Service has issued a rule to clarify the regulatory jurisdiction of oil and gas pipelines on the Outer Continental Shelf. MMS said the regulation resolves some regulatory issues stemming from a 1996 agreement between the interior and transportation departments regarding regulation of OCS pipelines.

Under that deal, MMS�a Department of the Interior agency�has primary regulatory authority for about 130 producer-operated facilities and pipelines on the OCS, while Transportation�s Research and Special Programs Administration has primary responsibility for about 75 transporter-operated pipelines and associated pumping or compression facilities.

That agreement redefined the regulatory boundary, moving it from the point at the OCS facility where hydrocarbons were first processed to the point where operating responsibility for the pipeline transferred from a producer to a transporter.

MMS said the rule resolves questions about producer-operated lines that cross directly into state waters without first connecting to a transporting operator's facility and about producer-operated lines that connect production platforms. It also establishes procedures under which pipeline operators can petition to operate under either MMS or DOT regulations, due to their operational circumstances.

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