To ensure that operations at gas pipelines, gas pipeline facilities, and LNG plants and facilities are in compliance with a range of conditions, operators of such plants and facilities must provide the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) with 60 days’ advance notice of construction-related events. This advance notice allows time for reviews and inspections to identify any potential compliance issues and avoid costly design changes or delays.
What is a Construction-Related Event?
The federal regulations do not define the term, “construction-related event;” however, the relevant regulation—CFR 191.22(c)(1)—lists activities which are clearly identifiable as construction related:
(i) Construction or any planned rehabilitation, replacement, modification, upgrade, uprate, or update of a facility, other than a section of line pipe, that costs $10 million or more.
(ii) Construction of 10 or more miles of a new pipeline.
(iii) Construction of a new LNG plant or LNG facility.
The advance notice requirement applies to a wider range of activities than those specifically named above, and in September 2014, PHMSA released an Advisory Bulletin to provide further clarification. The bulletin notes that the following activities are also considered to be construction related, and therefore require 60 days’ advance notice to PHMSA:
Material purchasing and manufacturing
Right-of-way acquisition; construction equipment move-in activities
Onsite or offsite fabrications
Right-of-way clearing, grading, and ditching.
The 60-day notice is based on the starting date of the first activity. 49 CFR 191.22(c)(i) notes that if 60 days’ notice “is not feasible because of an emergency, an operator must notify PHMSA as soon as practicable.”
In the bulletin, PHMSA also encourages operators to provide notification for the construction of 10 or more miles of a new pipeline for:
A pipeline that did not previously exist.
The replacement of line pipe in an existing pipeline.
Where Should You Send Your Notice?
Operators must send notices to the National Registry of Pipeline and LNG Operators via the PHMSA web portal. Operators can find detailed information and instructions for registering for access to the portal here.
Below are the telephone numbers for regional offices responsible for intrastate pipeline safety:
Central Region: 816–329–3800 (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin)
Eastern Region: 609–989–2171 (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia)
Southern Region: 404–832–1147 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and Tennessee)
Southwest Region: 713–272–2859 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas)
Western Region: 720–963–3160 (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming)
For intrastate pipeline operators, a list of the appropriate authorities is found here.
STP has recently published an update to its publication Pipeline Safety Auditing: Federal Compliance Guide and also publishes the following related guides: