Interpretation Response #PI-22-0015
Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.
Interpretation Response Details
Mr. Kevin Fahrenkrog
Sr. General Manager
100 Busch Drive
Cartersville, GA 30121
Dear Mr. Fahrenkrog:
In a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), dated February 19, 2021, you requested an interpretation of the Federal pipeline safety regulations in 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 192 with respect to where the Federal pipeline safety regulations become applicable to the Anheuser-Busch, LLC (Anheuser-Busch) biogas pipeline within the Anheuser-Busch beer production facility (Brewery) in Cartersville, Georgia.
You stated that both the Brewery and adjacent biogas production facility are owned by Anheuser-Busch and are divided by Interstate Highway 75 (I-75). You stated that the biogas production facility is on the west side of I-75 and the Brewery is on the east side of I-75. Your letter explained that wastewater from brewery processes flows via gravity through a tunnel under I-75 to the biogas production facility. After compression, cooling, and filtering the produced biogas (which you indicate is composed primarily of methane and carbon dioxide) is transported back to the Brewery by pipeline and used to fuel boilers.
Your letter explains the Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) has stated the compressors at the biogas production facility and the downstream pipeline to the beer production facility are regulated under 49 CFR Part 192. You stated you agree with GPSC that the pipeline that transports the biogas under I-75 to the Brewery is a regulated "transmission line" under 49 CFR Part 192, because the pipeline transports gas to a large volume customer. However, you disagree with GPSC's position that the compressors and related equipment upstream from the transmission line are also regulated. Therefore, you have requested PHMSA's interpretation as to where the Federal pipeline safety regulations start.
The Federal pipeline safety laws at 49 U.S.C. § 60101 et seq. and applicable regulation under that law at 49 CFR Part 192, generally apply to the gathering, transmission, and distribution of natural and other gas by pipeline. The definition of a "pipeline" at § 192.3 includes its related equipment, to include compressors and other appurtenances. However, as established in § 192.1, 49 CFR Part 192 does not apply to the onshore gathering of gas through a pipeline that is not a "regulated onshore gathering line" as determined in § 192.8. For the reasons you explained in your letter (a biogas production facility in a Class 1 location is not described as "regulated onshore gathering lines" in § 192.8(b) and its accompanying table, nor under the relevant API RP 80 provisions incorporated by reference into 49 CFR Part 192), PHMSA agrees that the compressors and related equipment at your biogas production facility are not "regulated onshore gathering lines" as described by § 192.8. Therefore, the compressors and upstream equipment in the biogas production facility are not subject to the 49 CFR Part 192 pipeline safety regulations.
PHMSA received a flow diagram of the biogas compressors from GPSC and agrees with you that the compressors are not regulated because the pipeline pressure downstream of the compressor is controlled from overpressure. The downstream pipeline and overpressure protection are regulated pipeline facilities, see § 192.195 for requirements on protection against accidental overpressuring. The Anheuser-Busch list of "Fault/Flare conditions for pretreatment" states, "if the closed-circuit cooler cuts off, then the biogas compressor shuts off, and flow is then diverted through the biogas flare valves"). PHMSA also agrees with your letter that per the definition of "transmission line" at § 192.3, that the pipeline downstream of the compressor that transports gas back to the Brewery is a regulated pipeline because it serves a large volume customer. As you described in your letter, one definition of a transmission line includes pipelines transporting gas from a gathering line to a large volume customer that is not downstream from a distribution center. A large volume customer includes factories and other analogous facilities to your Brewery. Gas can be in transportation and subject to the Federal pipeline safety regulations even if it is produced, transported, and consumed by the same entity.
While PHMSA agrees with the assertion in your letter that the pipeline downstream of the compressor is regulated by Part 192, you should be aware that the Federal pipeline safety regulations are minimum pipeline safety standards. Further, a State, such as GPSC in this case, may have more stringent pipeline safety regulations and/or other authority to regulate the safety of facilities including gas compression facilities such as Anheuser-Busch's Cartersville plant.
If we can be of further assistance, please contact Tewabe Asebe at 202-366-5523.
John A. Gale
Director, Office of Standards
|§ 192.1||What is the scope of this part?|