Operation & Maintenance

PHMSA has issued an Advisory Bulletin to alert hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipeline operators of the impacts associated with flow reversals, product changes, and conversions to service.  The Advisory, issued in conjunction with newly-published Agency Guidance on these issues, recommends that operators consult existing conversion of service requirements for flow reversals and product

PHMSA and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) announced a public workshop to be held on August 5, 2014, to discuss challenges associated with detecting and characterizing crack-like defects in oil and gas pipelines (e.g., environmentally assisted cracks and cracks associated with corrosion).
Continue Reading Pipeline Crack Detection and R&D Public Workshops Announced

In late 2013, the U.S. State Department granted a Presidential Permit approving the reversal of flow of an existing pipeline that crosses the U.S.-Canadian border in North Dakota. In contrast to other pending Presidential Permits for several proposed pipelines, such as Keystone XL, it appears that the State Department limited its review in this instance to a short section of the pipeline at the border crossing, as opposed to the entire pipeline.
Continue Reading Review of Presidential Permit Limited to Border Crossing (Not Entire Pipeline)

The changing U.S. energy market continues to have a dramatic effect on the construction and operation of oil and gas pipeline infrastructure. One of the largest new pipeline construction projects in the past several decades – the nearly 1,700 mile Rockies Express gas pipeline between Wyoming and Ohio (REX) – began operation in 2009, with a west to east direction of flow.
Continue Reading Changing U.S. Energy Markets Prompt Increased Pipeline Flow Reversals and Conversions

In a growing trend, PHMSA has recently awarded substantive grants for pipeline safety research to numerous universities, consultants, and local pipeline safety groups.  Collectively, these grants highlight the Agency’s increased focus on improved technologies for detecting pipeline defects, pipeline construction quality assurance and quality control, and public awareness education and training.

Continue Reading Grants for Pipeline Safety Research Increase

PHMSA issued an Advisory Bulletin to operators of both oil and gas pipelines regarding the potential damage to pipeline facilities caused by severe flooding.  78 Fed. Reg. 41991 (July 12, 2013).  The Agency has issued several prior Advisory Bulletins on this subject, each of which followed an event that involved severe flooding that affected

PHMSA released its report to Congress regarding liquid pipeline incidents at certain inland water crossings, finding that 16 of 20 release incidents occurring since 1991 in pipeline water crossings greater than 100 feet in width were associated with flooding or stream overflow.  The Report concludes that “depletion of cover” and “the dynamic and unique nature