Interpretation Response #PI-20-0002
Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.
Interpretation Response Details
Mr. Gary A. Kenny
Gas Safety Manager
Maine Public Utilities Commission
18 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0018
Dear Mr. Kenny:
In a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), dated January 15, 2020, you requested an interpretation of 49 CFR Part 192. Specifically, you asked for an interpretation on the correct application of 49 CFR § 192.11 to a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) system operated by a Twin Rivers Paper Company (Twin Rivers).
Background and MPUC's Opinion
You described the Twin Rivers LPG system as being operated and maintained by Twin Rivers and its employees. You stated that the paper mill owned and operated by Twin Rivers is the only customer that the system serves. You noted that neither the mill nor its property is considered a public place, however, a portion of the system's piping is off the customer's premises, crossing under 13th Avenue and Bridge and Mill Streets in Madawaska, Maine (public road rights-of-way) inside steel casings.
You believe the pipeline system is regulated under § 192.11(b) and fails the exception in § 192.1(b)(5)(ii) because, although the system serves a single customer, it is not located entirely on the customer's premises. You noted that § 192.11(b) requires pipeline systems subject to Part 192 that transport only petroleum gas or petroleum gas/air mixtures to "meet the requirements of this part and of ANSI/NFPA 58 and 59," but you indicated that it is MPUC's opinion that NFPA 59 is not applicable to the Twin Rivers LPG system because the standard only applies to utility distribution systems.
With respect to NFPA 58, you explained that it applies to "(1) Containers, piping, and associated equipment, when delivering LP-Gas to a building for use as a fuel gas," but does not apply to "the portions of LP-Gas systems covered by NFPA 54, where NFPA 54 is adopted, used, or enforced." You indicated that the Maine Fuel Board has adopted and enforces NFPA 54 (2012) requirements in Maine. Given the scope of NFPA 54, the MPUC believes Part 192 only extends to those portions of LPG systems that cannot be covered by NFPA 54. In addition, MPUC believes that although Twin Rivers’ entire LPG system is "jurisdictional" pursuant to § 192.1, MPUC's safety enforcement jurisdiction is limited to the piping from the LPG tanks to the outlet of the final pressure regulator in the Mill Stores Regulator Step Down Station (see Schematic dated Nov. 7, 2019).
In a February 2, 2020, follow-up call with PHMSA staff, you provided additional information regarding the regulatory boundaries of the Twin Rivers’ LPG system and the scope of the Maine Fuel Board’s regulatory authority as it relates to the pipeline system. You clarified that the petroleum gas pipeline system starts at LPG tanks, crosses a railroad track and a public access road, then enters the Mill Stores Regulator Step Down Station before the pipeline enters the first set of Twin Rivers paper mill buildings. You also stated that the Maine Fuel Board may have regulatory authority over the pipeline beyond that point.
The pipeline safety regulations in Part 192 provide minimum safety standards for pipelines that transport gas. Section 192.1(b) excepts certain pipelines from Part 192. Pursuant to § 192.1(b)(5) any pipeline system that transports only petroleum gas or petroleum gas/air mixtures does not need to comply with Part 192 if it serves: (i) fewer than 10 customers, if no portion of the system is located in a public place; or (ii) a single customer, if the system is located entirely on the customer's premises (no matter if a portion of the system is located in a public place). The Twin Rivers LPG system is a pipeline system that only transports petroleum gas. However, because a portion of the system is located in a public place, it fails to meet the exception in § 192.1(b)(5)(i). As your January 15 letter noted, the system also fails to meet the exception in § 192.1(b)(5)(ii) because although the system serves only one customer, the system is not located entirely on Twin Rivers' premises. Accordingly, PHMSA agrees that the Twin Rivers LPG pipeline system is regulated under Part 192.
Section 192.11(b) states "[e]ach pipeline system subject to this part that transports only petroleum gas or petroleum gas/air mixtures must meet the requirements of this part and of ANSI/NFPA 58 and 59." NFPA 59, Utility LP-Gas Plant Code (2004) (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7) applies to liquefied petroleum gas systems at utility gas plants, and extends to the point where LP-Gas or a mixture of LP-Gas and air is introduced into the utility distribution system.1 Since Twin Rivers is not a utility gas plant, PHMSA agrees that NFPA 59 does not apply to the Twin Rivers LPG system.
NFPA 58 applies to the storage, handling, transportation, and use of LP-Gas.2 The standard encompasses the operation of all LP-gas systems including containers, piping, and associated equipment, when delivering LP-gas to a building for use as a fuel gas.3 PHMSA agrees that NFPA 58 applies to the Twin Rivers LPG because it delivers LP-gas to the Twin Rivers paper mill for use as a fuel gas.
1 NFPA 59, Utility LP-Gas Plant Code, Section 1.1 - Scope (2004)
2 NFPA 58, Liquid Petroleum Gas Code, Section 1.1 - Scope (2004).
3 Id. at § 1.3.1
Concerning your reference to NFPA 54, PHMSA has not incorporated NFPA 54 into the pipeline safety regulations. Moreover, NFPA 54 is not applicable to piping outside of a consumer's premise. NFPA 54 provides industry accepted guidance for the design and safe installation of fuel gas piping systems, appliances, equipment and accessories to ensure fuel gas safety on a consumer's premises.4 As you noted, the Twin Rivers LPG system is not located entirely on Twin Rivers' premises, rather it crosses three public roads.
Consequently, pursuant to § 192.11(b), the Twin Rivers petroleum gas pipeline must comply with Part 192 and NFPA 58 from the LPG tanks to the Mill Stores Regulator Step Down Station, and from the 4-inch Full Port Valve downstream of Finishing Room 1959 to the 4-inch Full Port Ball valve at Building 1980 (see Schematic dated Nov. 7, 2019). MPUC would therefore be responsible for compliance inspections and enforcement for those portions.
If we can be of further assistance, please contact Tewabe Asebe at 202-366-5523.
John A. Gale
Director, Office of Standards
4 See, NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code, Committee Scope, page 6 of 285 (2006).
|§ 192.1||What is the scope of this part?|