Winter 2017 Newsletter – PHMSA Spotlight

PHMSA Adopts New Safety Regulations for Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities

On December 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) to regulate the safety of underground natural gas facilities throughout the United States.  PHMSA’s rule making identified twelve key items for operators to consider as they review the operations of their underground storage facilities. In order to address the newly adopted regulations, BakerRisk has prepared both a white paper and a power point presentation to help review the regulations for Underground Natural Gas Storage to provide insight and guidance into the applicability of the rules, the timeline for compliance milestones, and a synopsis of the design, operation, and maintenance requirements.  BakerRisk can evaluate well integrity and offer solutions for compliance.

The regulations were adopted on a more accelerated schedule to address safety concerns with aging underground storage facilities in light of the most recent incident that occurred at the Aliso Canyon facility located in the Porter Ranch area near Los Angeles, California. The regulations revise PHMSA’s regulatory oversight for natural gas storage facilities beyond the already regulated surface piping to address down-hole facilities, including wells, wellbore tubing, and casing. PHMSA adopts the American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommend Practice (RP) 1170 Design and Operation of Solution-mined Salt Caverns used for Natural Gas Storage released in 2015 and (API) Recommend Practice (RP) 1171 Functional Integrity of Natural Gas Storage in Depleted Hydrocarbon Reservoirs and Aquifer Reservoirs also released in 2015.  The RPs were a collaborative effort between federal, state, and industry partners.  The RPs describe recommendations for the construction, maintenance, risk assessment, risk management, and integrity management procedures.

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