APGA Speaks at Five-State Pipeline Safety Seminar

By John Erickson posted 07-13-2017 08:54

On July 11 and 12, APGA Vice President, Operations John Erickson spoke at the Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas Pipeline Safety Seminar in New Orleans. The seminar was sponsored by the Louisiana Gas Association. The annual workshop attracted over 200 attendees from the South and Southwest. In his first of two presentations, John reviewed the Distribution Integrity Management Programs (DIMP) rule and the Simple, Handy, Risk-based Integrity Management Plan (SHRIMP) program developed by the APGA Security and Integrity Foundation (SIF) to help operators create DIMP plans.

One major enhancement will be to use the huge amount of data that SHRIMP has collected on the leak history of various piping materials. This data will be incorporated into the risk ranking model in SHRIMP, assigning a higher risk score to portions of SHRIMP users’ piping that has statistically higher leak rates than the average of all SHRIMP users for each piping material. John reviewed the requirements for plan reevaluation. Operators are required to perform a complete DIMP program reevaluation at least once every five years—sooner if system characteristics change in ways that might affect relative risks for any of the eight threat areas. Since the deadline for the first DIMP plan was August 2, 2011 every distribution operator should reevaluate their DIMP plans this year. When a SHRIMP user chooses to begin a complete reevaluation, SHRIMP archives a copy of the old plan, copies data to a new plan and walks the user through each threat assessment screen, risk ranking and other steps in SHRIMP to update or confirm the correctness of answers given before a new plan can be created. Changes from the prior plan to the new plan are be logged in a new appendix to the plan . In his second presentation, John described the principles of Pipeline Safety Management System (PSMS). The American Petroleum Institute (API) released its Recommended Practice (RP) 1173 several years ago that provides guidance for PSMS, however that document is primarily aimed at large interstate pipelines. APGA’s Operations and Safety Committee is preparing guidance on applying PSMS principles to public gas systems. One key difference is that investor-owned utilities are governed by a Board of Directors that is solely responsible for guiding the utility, whereas public gas systems are often overseen by city councils and elected officials for whom the utility is just one of many aspects of managing the local government. John stated that the 10 general areas in RP 1173 are appropriate for systems of all sizes and that is the basis for the APGA guidance.

He also encouraged attendees to come to the APGA Operations Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., this November 13-15. That conference will feature speakers on the latest regulatory, operations and engineering issues as well as an excellent exhibit of equipment and services for distribution operations.

For questions on this article, please contact John Erickson of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at jerickson@apga.org.