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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #PI-09-0016

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name:

Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

September 10, 2009

Mr. Gregory P. Bilinski

Vice President

Spectra Energy

P.O. Box 1642

Houston, TX 7725 I -1642

Dear Mr. Bilinski:

On December 22, 2008, you wrote to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to request an interpretation of §§ 192.620(c)(6), (d)(5)(ii), (d)(lO)(iii) and (d)( 11 )(ii)(A).

Pursuant to Chapter 601, Title 49, United States Code. PHMSA has responsibility for protecting against risks to life, property, and the environment posed by pipelines. In carrying out its responsibilities, PHMSA has established design, construction, operation, and maintenance standards and regulations for gas pipelines and has responsibility for enforcing these requirements.

Our interpretations to your requests are as follows:

Question: Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (TETLP) reads the § 192.620(c)(6) language as applying to construction commencing after the effective date of the [maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP)] Final Rule and not to construction prior to the effective date on existing pipelines. TETLP requests an interpretation clarifying that § 192 .620( c)( 6) does not apply retroactively to the existing segments ofTETLP's Lines 1 and 2 covered by the proposed special permit.

Response: All construction tasks associated with implementing alternative MAOP must comply with § 192.620( c )(6), regardless of when the task was performed. In cases where previously completed construction tasks do not fully comply with § J92.620(c)(6), such as pipelines constructed prior to the effective date of the rule. operators may apply for a special permit in order to get relief from this requirement.

Question: On § 192.620(d)(5)(ii» - TETLP is reviewing customer separation equipment for receipt points on the pipelines covered by the proposed special permit. TETLP requests an interpretation from PHMSA clarifying that properly designed separation equipment operated by TETLP's customers will satisfy this requirement.

Response: Part 192 applies to operators of pipelines. This includes design, construction, operational, maintenance, integrity management, operator qualification, and all other requirements. All requirements must be implemented by pipeline operators. Customers of the operator who are not themselves pipeline operators are not obligated to comply with Part 192 and PHMSA has no enforcement authority over them. TETLP is directly responsible for compliance with 192.620( d)(5)(ii) as it applies to its pipelines and must document the monitoring it conducts to ensure that contaminants that could contribute to corrosion are not present in its pipeline. If separation equipment owned and operated by one of TETLP's customers was operated improperly or otherwise failed to perform adequately resulting in contaminants entering the pipeline, TETLP would be obligated to correct the problem by addressing the situation with the customer, but PHMSA would hold TETLP responsible for the circumstances leading to and resulting from the failure to protect against any corrosion occurring in its pipeline.

Question: On § 192.620e d)(l O)(iii» - TETLP requests an interpretation from PHMSA to clarify that direct examination techniques are acceptable alternatives to external corrosion direct assessment ("ECDA") or internal corrosion direct assessment ("ICDA") for non-piggable segments operating at the alternate design factors. TETLP believes that direct examination techniques can be more effective and provide a better assessment than ECDA and ICDA for short segments of non-piggable lines.

Response: In accordance with National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) 0502-2002, Section, 100 percent direct examination is an acceptable method and complies with § 192.925. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASME) B3 I .8S, Section 6.1 also indicates that operators may choose to conduct direct examination of the entire length of the segment being assessed. To address external corrosion and dents, operators must make detailed measurements and/or maps of the metal loss and/or indentation. To address internal corrosion, operators must examine the pipe for internal metal loss by Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) methods such as ultrasonic testing. To address stress corrosion cracking (SCC), operators must examine the pipe for SCC by NDE methods such as magnetic particle inspection. (See also § 192.939 as it relates to the maximum intervals for each of the different reassessment methods.)

Question: In the rule, § 192.620(d)(lJ)(ii)(A) requires that a dent discovered during the baseline assessment for integrity under paragraph (d)(9) that meets the criteria in § 192.309(b) be repaired. In the preamble of the Final Rule, PHMSA states,

"With respect to dents, the repair criteria of§J92.309(b) apply only for dents found during construction baseline assessments (i.e., for new pipelines). PHMSA notes that this section already requires repair of two percent dents for pipelines over J 2-314 inches in diameter. The criteria for repairing dents on existing pipelines and subsequent assessments on new pipelines and existing pipelines are in § J92.933(d)." (73 FR 62165)

TETLP agrees with PHMSA's stated intent, however, points out that the language in the Final Rule does not reflect this intent. The Final Rule language could be interpreted to require dents in existing lines to be remedied in accordance with § I 92.309(b) and § 192.933(d). TETLP requests an interpretation from PHMSA to clarify that § 192.309(b) is applicable only to new pipelines, and that dents identified by baseline assessments for existing pipelines are to be remedied in accordance with § 192.933(d).

Response: The excerpt of the preamble of the final rule cited in the question merely acknowledges that the pre-existing § 192.309(b) applied to new pipelines under construction and that the pre-existing § 192.933(d) applied to existing operational pipelines. As stated in the initial paragraph of the response ....

"PHMSA recognizes that the repair criteria in this rule are more stringent than those in subpart 0. PHMSA considers this appropriate. A pipeline that will operate under alternative MA OP is subject to more stress and has less wall thickness margin to failure than most pipelines operating under subpart 0 (with the exception of some grandfathered lines). "

The repair criteria in § 192.620( d)(ll )(ii) are intended to require that dents in existing lines implementing alternative MAOP must be repaired if they meet criteria in either § 192 J09(b) [per § 192.620(d)(lI)(ii)(A)] or § 192.933(d) [per § 192.620(d)(lI)(ii)(B)]. This is intended to assure that existing pipelines that will be operated at stress levels allowed by the alternative MAOP rule are in "like new" condition with respect to dent defects.

I hope that this infonnation is helpful to you. If I can further assist you with this or any other pipeline safety regulatory matter, please contact me at (202) 366-4046.


John A. Gale

Director, Office of Regulations

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
192.620 Alternative maximum allowable operating pressure for certain steel pipelines