The Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) will hold a workshop in May to discuss what is considered the most significant rule issued by the federal government regulating natural gas pipeline safety in more than three decades.

“The workshop will provide a detailed review and discussion of [the] gas pipeline integrity management [final rule],” which was issued by the OPS in mid-December. “Comments and issues discussed at the workshop will help [the OPS] and NAPSR implement oversight of operators’ compliance with the gas pipeline integrity management rule,” an agency notice said.

The federal OPS agency and NAPSR, a group of state gas pipeline safety officials, also plan to hold another workshop later in the year to offer “further guidance on the oversight process to be used.” The OPS said it will issue “written guidance material” to help pipeline operators prepare for compliance with the pipeline integrity rule.

The pipeline integrity rule was mandated by the pipeline safety legislation that President Bush signed into law in December 2002. The rule requires inspections of gas pipelines in the riskiest high-consequence areas within five years and the less-risky areas in the next five years, as well as re-inspections every seven years. All baseline inspections are required to be completed by 2012. High-consequences areas are places where the most injuries and/or property damage could occur if a pipeline ruptured and exploded.

Pipelines have less than a year before they must submit to the OPS their plans to comply with the agency’s pipeline integrity rule.

The workshop is scheduled for May 11-12 at The Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston, TX. For more information, contact Zach Barrett at (405) 954-5559 or by e-mail at, or Jeff Wiese at (202) 366-2036 or at

“The meeting is open to all interested parties. However, operators of natural gas transmission pipelines are urged to attend either in person or to observe the workshop via the Internet,” the agency notice said. To obtain information about the webcast, go to https://primis/, or to

“Attendees will be provided the opportunity, at scheduled times during the workshop, to ask questions or make short statements on the topics under discussion.” Comments also may be submitted to the DOT in written or electronic form [Docket No. RSPA-00-7666].

©Copyright 2004 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.