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Oil and Gas Industry Embraces Pipeline Safety Management System

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the “API1173 Recommended Practice for Pipeline Safety Management Systems,” is a jointly developed tool will provide pipeline operators a comprehensive way to make safe operations and continuous safety improvement a constant focus of their operations.

The American Petroleum Institute, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines and other key stakeholders in the oil and gas pipeline industry announced the completion of the “API1173 Recommended Practice for Pipeline Safety Management Systems.”

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The jointly developed tool will provide pipeline operators a comprehensive way to make safe operations and continuous safety improvement a constant focus of their operations.

“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 Robin Rorick, API Midstream director. “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.”

After a pipeline incident in Marshall, Michigan, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board recommended the pipeline industry build on the success of other industries and develop its own safety management system. Used successfully in the aviation, chemical production, refining, and nuclear power industries, safety management systems provide a formal framework to monitor, measure and improve safety performance continuously over time.

“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.”

Pipeline operators and regulators worked together for more than two years through sometimes contentious discussions to agree upon the final document text. The final document achieved consensus agreement of participating regulators, operators and members of the public that that adopting this recommended practice would represent a step change in pipeline safety improvement.

“The liquids pipeline industry is embracing pipeline safety management systems as a comprehensive and holistic way to improve pipeline safety even further,” said Andy Black, Association of Oil Pipe Lines president and CEO.

The recommended practice was formally adopted under the American Petroleum Institute standard setting practice accredited by the American National Standards Institute and meeting essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus and due process. The focus now shifts to implementation where the pipeline industry will encourage, educate and assist its member operators with their own implementation of the recommended practice.

Participants developing the “API 1173 Recommended Practice for Pipeline Safety Management Systems” included: Alliance Pipeline, American Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, American Public Gas Association, Arizona Corporation Commission, Association of Oil Pipe Lines, Buckeye Partners, City of Ellensberg, WA, Enbridge Pipeline, Explorer Pipeline, ExxonMobil Pipeline Co, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, Kinder Morgan, National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives, Pacific Gas & Electric, Public Representatives Stacey Gerard and Bill Hoyle, Southwest Gas, Spectra Energy, U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, U.S. Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and the Virginia Corporation Commission.

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