BY TRACY THORLEIFSON

NPMS data submission standards are being revised by PHMSA.

On June 22, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published their latest update1 on proposed revisions to data submission requirements for the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS). The proposed changes are extensive. While these revisions will result in a NPMS database with far richer data content, they will also increase the reporting burden on you, the pipeline operator.

Proposed changes address additional data attribution for pipelines, new reporting on additional facility types, and increased spatial accuracy. PHMSA has not announced the effective date of implementation, but it’s likely to impact the 2017 reporting year. Current plans call for phased implementation:

• Phase 1 – Facilities and Attribution – (first submission year after the effective date)

• Pipe DataPipe nominal diameter – optional in current submissions

• Commodity detail – optional in current submissions

• Pipe material – new requirement

• Pipe grade – new requirement

• Wall thickness – new requirement

• Pipe joining method – new requirement

• MAOP/MOP – new requirement

• Percent SMYS – new requirement (replaces existing LOW_STRESS attribute)

• Seam type – new requirement

• Onshore/offshore – new requirement

• Inline inspection (yes/no) – new requirement

• Class location – new requirement

• Gas HCA segment – new requirement

• FRP sequence number – new requirement

• Facility Types

• Abandoned pipelines – (mostly) new requirement (currently, only abandonments for offshore lines and lines crossing commercially navigable waterways are reported)

• Pump and compressor stations – new requirement

• Breakout tanks – voluntary in current submissions

• LNG plants – part of current submission requirements

• Phase 2 – Facilities and Attribution – (second submission year after the effective date)

• Pipe Data

• Decade of installation – new requirement

• Segment could affect an HCA (for hazardous liquids lines) – new requirement

• Assessment method – new requirement

• Assessment year – new requirement

• Coated (yes/no) – new requirement

• Added Facility Types

• Gas storage fields – new requirement

• Mainline block valves – new requirement

• Phase 3 – Spatial Accuracy – (2024 submission year)

• Increase current minimal accuracy requirement from +/- 500 feet to:

• +/- 50 feet for hazardous liquids pipelines and natural gas pipelines in Class 2, 3 or 4 locations

• +/- 100 feet for all other pipelines

Those of you utilizing your enterprise pipeline Geographic Information System (GIS) to generate both NPMS submissions and PHMSA annual reports (forms PHMSA F 7000-1.1 and PHMSA F 7100.2-1 for hazardous liquids and natural gas pipelines, respectively) will note a high degree of data content overlap between annual reports and revised NPMS requirements. This is not accidental. While annual reports provide PHMSA with statistically useful data for evaluation of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure, they do not address spatial distribution of that data. The proposed NPMS revisions mitigate that deficit, facilitating concentration of PHMSA resources where they are most needed.

Operators using industry standard data models such as the Pipeline Open Data Standard (PODS), Esri’s ArcGIS Pipeline Data Model (APDM), or Esri’s new Utility & Pipeline Data Model (UPDM) are well aware existing NPMS submission requirements do not conform to the data schemas of these models. However, given the simplicity of current NPMS requirements, producing an NPMS submission from one of these industry data models is not onerous.

In comparison with current requirements, producing an NPMS submission meeting the revised requirements will be considerably more daunting. The revised NPMS data structure is no more conformant to industry data models than the current structure, but it is considerably more complex. PHMSA is presenting us with a challenging dynamic segmentation task. Considerable ‘slicing and dicing’ of the pipe data in our enterprise GIS databases will be required to generate the revised NPMS submission.

In coming weeks, we’ll tackle the process of producing the new NPMS data submission. Subsequent topics will include:

NPMS Data Requirement Enhancements: Where This Data Lives in PODS – We’ll cover all the PODS tables required to store the NPMS data items, setting the stage for dynamic segmentation data processing.

NPMS Data Requirement Enhancements: Where This Data Lives in the UPDM – As above, but for the Esri UPDM data model.

Producing the Updated NPMS Submission: “How-To” with Traditional Esri Linear Referencing Tools – We’ll create a submission with the existing ArcGIS for Desktop Linear Referencing tools.

Producing the Updated NPMS Submission: “How-To” with G2’s EaglePy Tools – As above, but with G2’s advanced EaglePy tools for dynamic segmentation.

Producing the Updated NPMS Submission: “How-To” with Esri’s New APR Tools – As above, but with Esri’s upcoming ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing (APR) reporting tools.


“Pipeline Safety: Request for Revision of a Previously Approved Information Collection: National Pipeline Mapping System Program,” Docket No. PHMSA–2014–0092, 81 Federal Register 120 (22 June 2016), pp. 40757 – 40765.