PHMSA Final Rule Expands Regulation to Add Gas Gathering Pipelines Under Federal Oversight

12/02/2021

On November 2, 2021, PHMSA issued the latest portion of the “Mega Rule” update on gas gathering lines.  This Final Rule is groundbreaking in that the scope of the rule change has dramatically increased the mileage of regulated pipelines in the United States by adding over 400,000 miles of onshore gathering pipelines to regulated status.

PHMSA has expanded the classifications of gathering lines to include a new Type “C” and Type “R” pipeline that is defined in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 192. These new gathering lines, along with existing gathering lines, are now subject to reporting requirements as well as minimum pipeline safety standards for Type “C” lines which are pipelines with larger diameters and higher operating pressure.

The new regulations also change the classification of some gathering pipelines to transmission pipelines. Any pipeline which was previously treated as incidental gathering that is ten or more miles in length is now a transmission pipeline. The change in classification potentially subjects lines previously treated as gathering lines to additional regulatory requirements.

Additionally, operators are now faced with increased documentation requirements for gathering lines, validation of jurisdictional determination for gathering systems, and requirements for incident reporting. The new rule includes increased requirements for non-metallic gathering lines that operate at pressures over 125 psig. With the increased scope of the regulations, there will be operators of gathering systems that will need to secure Operator Identification Numbers (OPID) and develop regulatory programs for compliance with the Pipeline Safety Regulations.

This final rule becomes effective on May 2, 2022. Operators only have six months to assess their lines for compliance. All newly assessed gathering lines will be required to be reported on the 2022 annual report, due in March of 2023.

G2 Integrated Solutions can help support operators with turnkey solutions for gathering line determinations, assessments, and compliance support.  Contact us at https://g2-is.com/contact/  for more information.