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Future Pipeline Safety

Safety Overview

The region’s pipelines transport nearly 9% of all freight tonnage. And since many of their commodities are volatile petroleum-based products — such as gasoline liquefied natural gas (LNG) — safe and secure pipeline infrastructure is critical. It is essential to move these products short distances (e.g. from barge to large industrial users) and long distances (e.g. from southern states to distribution for industrial and residential use within the region).

Federal Safety Revisions

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is revising the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations to improve the safety of onshore gas transmission pipelines. This final rule addresses several lessons learned following the Pacific Gas and Electric Company incident that occurred in San Bruno, CA, on Sept. 9, 2010. The rule also addresses public input as part of the rulemaking process.

The amendments in this final rule clarify certain integrity management provisions; codify a management of change process; update and bolster gas transmission pipeline corrosion control requirements; require operators to inspect pipelines following extreme weather events; strengthen integrity management assessment requirements;, adjust the repair criteria for high-consequence areas; create new repair criteria for non-high consequence areas; and revise or create specific definitions related to the above amendments. The final rule takes effect on May 24, 2023.

(Source: Federal Register. Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines: Repair Criteria, Integrity Management Improvements, Cathodic Protection, Management of Change, and Other Related Amendments. Final Rule by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. (August 24, 2022).)

Private pipeline owners are responsible for the safety and security of the pipeline infrastructure in accordance with local, state and federal regulations. While companies operating in the OKI region have an excellent safety record, these revisions of the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations will ensure continued pipeline safety and security. This will be done through enhanced monitoring of existing conditions as part of private companies’ maintenance and replacement programs.

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