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How the PHMSA Gas Mega Rule Affects Safety and Compliance

In an effort to improve pipeline safety and minimize harm, the gas Mega Rule was issued by PHMSA after a years-long effort to fully define its scope. Part of the rule aimed at making updates to regulations based on lessons learned from pipeline incidents like the PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) rupture and release in San Bruno, California, in September 2010.

In this blog post we’ll review Part 1 and 2 briefly, an then cover how Part 3 of the Gas Mega Rule impacts safety and compliance in your organization, as well as some of the solutions the P.I. Confluence offers.

Part 1 and 2 of The Gas Mega Rule

Part 1 and 2 of the Gas Mega Rule focuses heavily on changes to regulations and requirements around gas transmission pipelines, including reporting and integrity management.

Overall, the rule focuses on:

  • The actions an operator must take to reconfirm the MAOP (Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure) of previously untested natural gas transmission pipelines and pipelines lacking certain material or operational records.
  • The periodic assessment of pipelines in populated areas not designated as “high consequence areas.”
  • The reporting of exceedances of MAOP.
  • The consideration of seismicity as a risk factor in IM.
  • Safety features on in-line inspection launchers and receivers.
  • A 6-month grace period for 7-calendar-year integrity management reassessment intervals.
  • Related recordkeeping provisions.

As these changes have come into effect, many pipeline operations, that previously didn’t fall under PHMSA’s stringent regulatory requirements, are now left with the daunting burden of updating their programs to meet compliance. 

Part 3 of The Gas Mega Rule

Part 3 of the Gas Mega Rule has now expanded to include gathering lines and other previously non-regulated lines, with the newly-defined ‘moderate consequence areas’ (MCA’s), which add special provisions. By expanding who must meet these requirements, many pipeline operations have taken on new regulations and compliance standards in addition to their previous rules. The Mega Rule also expands safety regulations and increases reporting requirements.

With all of the changes imposed by The Mega Rule, how are you managing your compliance requirements? 

  • How are you managing the additional workload of new regulations? 
  • Are you efficiently, accurately, and effectively keeping track of your tasks?
  • Are you maintaining the frequency at which tasks must be performed? 
  • Are your policies & procedures organized and easily accessible?
  • Have you digitized all of your forms to meet the new reporting regulations? 

Implementing the necessary changes to achieve compliance can be confusing and costly to implement, and require valuable time.

Transmission Integrity Compliance

P.I. Confluence has the tools necessary to help you manage your transmission integrity compliance. Our Integrated Compliance Activity Management (ICAM) software allows you to seamlessly manage your processes, workflows, and communications management so that you can document the who, what, when, where, why, and why not within your operation.

ICAM is a configurable, cloud-based application designed to manage, schedule, track, document, and report on the execution of your programs. It provides a consistent, standardized approach to your organization’s requirements. 

With ICAM, users can:

  • Support recordkeeping, quality assurance, and management of change.
  • Meet PHMSA requirements for an Integrity Management program.
  • Track implementation and supporting documentation of program activities.

The regulations, once implemented properly, can also bring added value to your organization. 

Data/Records become a tool for constant improvement. Digital forms streamline the capture of structured data and make it easier and more reliable to access and analyze. The increase in the amount of data available in a digital platform means the data can be aggregated and used in reporting to help inform decisions around your organization, both financial and operational. 

Implementing these changes can allow for smoother operation and maintenance, and most importantly, a safer organization.

We’re Here to Help

Each organization is unique and will have specific requirements based on its operating environment. Our ICAM software tool can help you manage, schedule, track, document, and report the execution of your programs in compliance with PHMSA requirements.

Our team will help you gain confidence that your operation is aligned with PHMSA requirements and that you continue to operate safely and efficiently.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can support your organization through our software and expertise. Let us help you align with PHMSA regulations.

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