In April 2022, PHMSA issued a final rule for valve installation and rupture detection standards titled, “Pipeline Safety: Requirement of Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards.”
The new rule significantly impacts SCADA and control room operations for both gas and liquid pipelines, specifically remote pipeline monitoring requirements for ASVs (automatic shutoff valves) and RCVs (remote control valves).
Let’s take a closer look at the new rule, the specific language operators need to be aware of, and how SCADA and the control room are affected.
Purpose of Final Rule for Installation of ASVs/RCVs on Pipelines
The new PHMSA rule mostly applies to newly constructed and “entirely replaced” gas transmission pipelines with diameters 6” or higher, some gas gathering pipelines, and hazardous liquids pipelines.
PHMSA is requiring operators of these types of lines to install Rupture Mitigation Valves (RMVs) and establish minimum performance standards for the operation of valves. The idea is to prevent and/or mitigate the consequences of pipeline ruptures to support the environment and public safety.
The rule also establishes minimum safety performance standards for the identification of ruptures, pipeline segment isolation, and other mitigative actions for pipelines on which RMVs or alternate technology are installed.
Overall, the most important new requirements include the following:
1. PHMSA defined the term “notification of potential rupture” to include signs of an uncontrolled release of a large volume of product to the operator.
2. The new rule established written procedures for identifying and responding to a rupture.
3. Operators must respond to an identified rupture by closing RMVs (or alternative equivalent technology) or provide a complete valve shut-off and segment isolation as soon as practicable, but no more than 30 minutes after a rupture is identified.
4. Operators must conduct post-event reviews of any incidents/accidents or other failure events that involve the closure of RMVs/alternative equivalent technologies. The goal is to ensure that performance objectives are met and lessons learned are applied system-wide.
5. Operators must perform maintenance on RMVs and alternative equivalent technology, which includes drills for alternative equivalent technology that is manually or locally operated.
6. Operators must take remediation measures for repairing or replacing inoperable RMVs and alternative equivalent technologies – including an RMV or alternative equivalent technology that cannot maintain shut-off – as soon as practicable.
7. Operators must update their emergency plans under the requirements of CFR 192.615 (for gas pipelines) and 195.402 (for liquid pipelines) to reflect new requirements for covered pipelines. Included is the immediate and direct notification of emergency outlets (e.g. 9-1-1) in the communities and jurisdictions where a rupture has taken place.
Impact on SCADA and the Control Room
One of the primary objectives of the new rule is to address gaps between the control room and ASV and RCV technology in the field. The idea is to increase situational awareness in the control room by ensuring that SCADA systems are optimized for performance to provide controllers with the necessary information to support decision-making.
When every second counts, it’s critical that controllers have access to relevant information that will help reduce the time required to respond to a potential rupture and initiate emergency response plans.
In the published rule, PHMSA cited several examples of operators waiting too long to respond to a rupture because of communication gaps from the field to the control room. Because of the slow response times to close valves, the incidents led to more damage than necessary.
– Consider the San Bruno incident in September 2010. PHMSA noted that the pipeline operator in California waited 95 minutes from the first report of a pipeline rupture to close valves. The operator’s failure to rapidly close isolation valves diminished its ability to mitigate the consequences of the failure. The result was 8 deaths, 58 injuries, and the destruction of 38 homes.
The new rule sets out to ensure that another event like San Bruno and other similar incidents will not occur again. That’s why PHMSA included an important requirement in the new rule:
The installation of ASVs and RCVs on newly constructed and entirely replaced natural gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines must provide “continuous and reliable” communication links between the RCV site and the control room.
Let’s take a closer look at the individual impacts on both gas and liquid pipeline operations.
Implications for Gas Pipeline Operators
PHMSA has amended CFR 192.3 to define the “notification of potential rupture.” The specific language focuses on the notification/observation of an unintentional or uncontrolled release of a large volume of gas from a pipeline.
Once an operator is notified of a potential rupture as part of their Alarm Management program (e.g. in their SCADA system), they must identify whether a rupture exists. Additionally, PHMSA established a concept of “rupture identification” to mean the point when a pipeline operator has a reasonable amount of sufficient information to determine that a rupture has occurred.
According to the final rule, the operator must document their method for rupture identification in their operations manual or written procedures (e.g. CRMP). Also, after identifying a rupture, the operator is required to close the RMVs or alternative equivalent technologies necessary to isolate the ruptured pipeline segment.
Implications for Liquid Pipeline Operators
PHMSA has amended CFR 195.2 to define the “notification of potential rupture.” Similar to gas pipelines, liquid pipeline operators must identify whether a rupture exists after first being notified/observing a potential rupture.
The final rule requires operators to document their method for rupture identification in their operations manual. The operator must also close the RMVs/alternative technology to isolate the ruptured pipeline segment.
Also as part of the rulemaking, liquid operators must install RMVs/alternatives on certain pipeline segments, including those that are “entirely replaced onshore hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide pipeline segments.”
Find Support for Gas and Liquid Remote Pipeline Monitoring
The new rule significantly affects remote pipeline monitoring for federally-regulated pipeline assets. We want to ensure that your operation is prepared to satisfy the minimum rupture detection standards.
– We invite you to schedule a consultation with the EnerSys team to review whether your SCADA systems and control room procedures conform to the new definition of a rupture.
Our control room subject matter experts will also ensure that your controllers can execute the appropriate response to rupture indicators that are presented to them in the control room.
To schedule a consultation, call us at 281-598-7100. Ask to speak with EnerSys GM Ross Adams or VP Business Development Dale Schafer. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our website contact form to get in touch with our team.