Gas Gathering Regulatory Overview
This site is administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). On November 15, 2021, PHMSA published a final rule titled "Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines: Extension of Reporting Requirements, Regulation of Large, High-Pressure Lines, and Other Related Amendments" (86 FR 63266). The final rule revises the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations (49 CFR Parts 190-199) to improve the safety of onshore gas gathering pipelines These amendments address Congressional mandates, Government Accountability Office recommendations, and public input received as part of the rulemaking process. The amendments in this final rule extend reporting requirements to all gas gathering pipeline operators and apply a set of minimum safety requirements to certain gas gathering pipelines with large diameters and high operating pressures. The final rule does not change the requirements for offshore gas gathering pipelines defined in § 192.9(b).
PHMSA previously issued for regulations for gas gathering pipelines in 2006 (71 FR 13289) which revised the definition of a gas gathering line through amendments to § 192.8 and reference to American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 80 (API RP 80) and defined and set standards for Type A and Type B regulated onshore gas gathering lines in Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4 locations. Regulatory requirements for Type A and Type B lines were outlined in § 192.9(c) and (d). Type A lines are required to follow most transmission regulations, while Type B pipelines are required to comply with the requirements listed in § 192.9(d). PHMSA issued regulations in 2015 (80 FR 12762), 2018 (83 FR 58694), and 2019 (86 FR 63266) to make miscellaneous changes that update and clarify certain regulatory requirements.
The 2006 final rule was based on gathering pipelines from conventional, vertical wells. Since 2006, the industry has developed new technology to drill horizontal wells which allowed development of a number of shale plays such as the Barnett, Bakken, Haynesville Marcellus, and Utica shale formations. The volume of gas produced from the shale plays resulted in larger diameter, higher pressure gathering lines. The updated 2021 regulations address these larger diameters lines in class 1 locations that were not previously regulated.
This website focuses on the final rule published on November 15, 2021 (86 FR 63266) to ensure operators of Type C and Type R gas gathering pipelines are aware of the new requirements. Operator compliance with the pipeline safety regulations is critical to preventing pipeline accidents and incidents. The amendments in the final rule accomplish the following:
- Subjects all gas gathering lines, including all unregulated lines (Type R), to annual and incident reporting requirements in 49 CFR part 191.
- Limits the use of the “incidental gathering line” exception on new pipelines to lines 10 miles or less (§ 192.8(a)(5)).
- Defines a new category of Type C regulated gas gathering lines in Class 1 locations that are:
- Outside diameter of 8.625 inches and greater, and
- Hoop stress>20% of the Specified Minimum Yield Strength (SMYS), or operating at greater than 125psig of pressure if the pipeline is non-metallic or the stress level is unknown
- Defines risk-based requirements for Type C regulated gas gathering lines (§ 192.9(e) and (f))
- All new and replaced Type C lines are subject to design, construction, initial inspection and testing requirements.
- All Type C lines are subject to damage prevention, and emergency planning requirements.
- All Type C lines are subject to public awareness, line marker, corrosion control and leak survey requirements, with an exception for pipelines with no nearby structures (see § 192.9(f).
- Type C lines with an outside diameter greater than 12.75 inches are subject to MAOP and plastic pipe requirements, with an exception for pipelines with no nearby structures (see § 192.9(f).