Dec 15 The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an interim final rule (IFR)
revising pipeline safety regulations to address safety issues
related to underground natural gas storage facilities.
The IFR followed recommendations by a U.S. interagency task
force in October after a major leak from the Aliso Canyon
storage facility in California last year.
It revises federal regulations governing safety issues
related to downhole facilities, including well integrity, well
bore tubing and casing.
The standards, effective 30 days after the date of
publication in the federal register, directly apply to about 200
interstate facilities and serve as the minimum federal standard
for about 200 intrastate facilities, the agency said in a
statement on Wednesday.
"This IFR addresses aging infrastructure and is the first
step in a multiphase process to enhance the safety of
underground natural gas storage," said PHMSA Administrator Marie
Therese Dominguez in the statement, adding that the standard
would help prevent incidents like the one at Aliso Canyon.
SoCalGas, owned by California energy company Sempra Energy
, shut Aliso Canyon in October 2015 due to a massive
methane leak that was not plugged until February.
Aliso Canyon is the biggest of the company's four storage
fields and supplies gas to homes and businesses in Southern
California, including power plants and refineries.
(Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by Meredith