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Interpretation Response #PI-15-0014 ([Petersen Engineering] [Mr. J. Douglas Lindsay])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Petersen Engineering

Individual Name: Mr. J. Douglas Lindsay

Location State: IN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:


Mr. J. Douglas Lindsay
Principal Engineer
Petersen Engineering
8902 Vincennes Circle, Suite F
Indianapolis, IN 46268

Dear Mr. Lindsay:

In a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) dated November 23, 2015, you requested an interpretation of 49 CFR Part 195.204. You asked how the requirements of § 195.204 apply to contractor services and employees who work on an installation of a new interstate hazardous liquid pipeline or pipeline system for a pipeline operator.

You ask: (1) if the term "operator personnel" refers only to pipeline operator's personnel or its contractors' personnel; (2) if the installation inspection provision only applies to on-site installation work or if it applies also to off-site installation work; (3) if an operator is allowed to assign or contract an installation contractor or a fabricator to provide personnel and other specialized inspection and testing resources, and what PHMSA expects of the operator for installation inspection of pipe, valves and other materials and equipment that will be produced or already have been produced ("in-stock"); (4) if § 195.204 is limited to the immediate pipe and pipeline systems or if it extends to other construction scope, installations and inspections and testing; and (5) what prima facie evidence and records will be satisfactory to PHMSA to demonstrate compliance with § 195.204.

With regard to your first question (1), the operator is responsible for safe operation of its pipeline(s). Operator is defined in § 195.2 as "a person who owns or operates pipeline facilities." Person is defined in this section as "any individual, firm, joint venture, partnership, corporation, association, state, municipality, cooperative association, or joint stock association, and includes any trustee, receiver, assignee, or personal representative thereof." Therefore, the term "operator personnel" refers to both the operator's and its contractor's employees. Furthermore, any work done on behalf of the operator must comply with applicable federal pipeline safety regulations.

With regard to your second question (2), pipeline or pipeline system is defined in § 195.2 to mean "all parts of a pipeline facility through which a hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide moves in transportation, including, but not limited to, line pipe, valves, and other appurtenances connected to line pipe, pumping units, fabricated assemblies associated with pumping units, metering and delivery stations and fabricated assemblies therein, and breakout tanks." Whether the construction is onsite or offsite, § 195.204 is a construction requirement and, therefore, all offsite work on shop-fabricated assemblies and breakout tanks must be compliant with applicable federal pipeline safety regulations before installed into the pipeline system. Also, all pipeline and pipeline components must be visually inspected before they are installed in the pipeline system (§ 195.206).

With regard to your third question (3), please refer to our responses to your first and second questions. That is, whether the construction is onsite or offsite, it is still the operator's responsibility to comply with the federal pipeline safety regulations. The operator may use contract personnel or its personnel for these inspections as long as those personnel are not inspecting their own work.

With regard to your fourth question (4), the § 195.204 requirements are to ensure the installation of pipe or pipeline systems in accordance with the requirements of Subpart D – Construction. As we previously mentioned, the term pipeline or pipeline system is defined in § 195.2 as all parts of a pipeline facility through which a hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide moves in transportation. The term pipeline facility is also defined in § 195.2 as "new and existing pipe, rights-of-way, and any equipment, facility, or building used in the transportation of hazardous liquids or carbon dioxide." Therefore, this section's requirements include all construction, installations, inspections, and testing that may affect all parts of a pipeline facility.

With regard to your last question (5), an operator must maintain the records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the applicable regulations including required inspections or training and qualifications.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact Tewabe Asebe at 202-366-5523.



John A. Gale
Director, Standards and
Rulemaking Division

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
195.204 Inspection-general