On October 19, 2017, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced an additional comment period on its December 19, 2016 interim final rule (IFR) which established minimum federal safety standards for underground natural gas storage facilities. PHMSA will accept comments until November 20, 2017. This notice comes amidst the current administration’s executive orders on deregulation and a recent DOT request for comment on regulatory reform.
Last December, PHMSA issued an interim final rule (IFR) to establish—for the first time ever—minimum federal standards for underground natural gas storage facilities. The IFR imposes significant new requirements in a short timeframe for “downhole facilities,” including wells, wellbore tubing and casings at underground natural gas storage facilities. Those rules became effective in late January and most recently, PHMSA finalized user fees to fund a training program for inspectors with oversight of underground storage facilities and other guidance materials. While PHMSA moves forward in regulating these facilities, the State of Texas, INGAA, and AGA have challenged the rule and commenters have criticized the rule as rushed, poorly drafted, and unrealistic. Continue Reading Underground Natural Gas Storage: Regulations and Fees Move Forward Despite Appeal and Criticism