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API Standards Adopted in New PHMSA Underground Natural Gas Storage Rule

American Petroleum Institute, December 15, 2016

API Midstream Group Director Robin Rorick released the following statement as the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today recognized in its new underground natural gas storage rule API’s efforts to promote safety through the adoption of API Recommended Practices (RPs) 1170 and 1171.

Safety is our industry’s core value and our men and women work with experts from the stakeholder community such as industry, government and academia to develop and apply the latest technologies and standards as we strive towards our goal of zero incidents,” said Rorick. “The adoption of API Recommend Practices in this new rule for underground natural gas storage is the latest example of how our industry works proactively and cooperatively to advance safety efforts."

However, while we are encouraged that the new rule adopts API’s rigorous safety management practices, we fear that the new rule’s unrealistic compliance timeline will prevent operators from effectively implementing the requirements of the rule and could potentially undermine the very safety efforts the rule is trying to promote. While we will continue to review the impacts of this rule, we hope that PHMSA will work with our industry to ensure that the rule can be implemented in a fashion that both improves safety and ensures that clean and reliable supplies of natural gas from the U.S. energy renaissance are consistently available to the country.”

The standards address the proper storage of natural gas underground. Recommended Practice 1170 and 1171 specifically outline how to safely design, store, and operate natural gas in salt caverns and depleted oil and gas reservoirs respectively. The two standards discuss proper construction methods, materials, and maintenance practices for ensuring safe operations and were finalized in 2015.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 30 million Americans.


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