By July 9, 2015 Read More →

New American pipeline safety management system introduced

Recommended Practice 1173 intended to improve pipeline safety, reduce catastrophic spills

A new pipeline safety management system standard designed to help operators avoid disasters like the 2010 Enbridge Kalamzoo River spill was released Wednesday by the American Petroleum Institute.

pipeline safety

Recommended Practice 1173 will help avoid pipeline releases like the 1 million gallon spill by Enbridge pipeline into the Kalamazoo River in 2010.

API says the new standard was built on the “industry goal of zero incidents” and created with engagement and guidance from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and other key stakeholders to further enhance pipeline safety.

“Pipelines are safe and efficient, but we are always looking for new ways to make them better, which is why industry is embracing this new standard,” said API Midstream Director Robin Rorick.

“It’s also a great example of what can be done when industry, regulators and all key stakeholders work together to achieve a common objective, which is to protect the public, the environment and provide the fuels Americans need.”

Recommended Practice 1173 is voluntary. The new standard was developed by API under its American National Standards Institute accredited process and is the American National Standard on the subject of pipeline safety management systems.

pipeline safety

API Midstream Director Robin Rorick.

API says its process is rigorous, open, transparent and ensures that the best minds from government, academia, the public and industry fully participate in the development of API standards.

“We continue to be committed to safety and this standard raises that bar even further,” said Rorick. “This new standard gives operators a holistic framework to identify and address safety concerns for a pipeline’s entire life cycle.”

Recommended Practice 1173 was developed after the Safety Board recommended a pipeline safety system as part of its 2012 report on the 2010 spill of one million gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River from an Enbridge pipeline. The Board flagged a “culture of deviance” that led to systemic flaws in operational decision-making, as well as PHMSA’s inadequate pipeline assessment and repair criteria regulations.

API says Recommended Practice 1173 will build upon existing safety requirements to further monitor and measure the effectiveness of pipeline activities with a “plan, do, check, and act” philosophy that requires periodic reviews and applies changes or corrections to activities as needed.


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