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Pipeline Construction: Typical Construction Issues

Since 2007, the pipeline industry has been experiencing unparalleled growth driven by the need to satisfy the Nation's energy demand and bring new sources of supply to the market. As a result, PHMSA has stepped up the number of new pipeline construction inspections performed each year and our inspections of these new pipeline projects have discovered a number of issues that if left unresolved could have an impact on the long and short term integrity of the pipeline. PHMSA inspects pipeline construction to assure compliance with these requirements. Inspectors review operator-prepared construction procedures to verify that they conform to regulatory requirements. Inspectors then observe construction activities in the field to assure that they are conducted in accordance with the procedures.

When issues are identified by PHMSA inspectors, those concerns are brought to the attention of the pipeline constructor. Resolution of the concerns may involve procedure revisions, personnel training, modification to construction practices, or physical repairs to the pipeline, pipeline coating, or auxiliary pipeline features. PHMSA ensures that the issues are corrected prior to the pipeline being buried and prior to the pipeline commissioning through pre-commissioning integrity hydrostatic pressure tests and inline inspection tool (Smart Pig) runs.