PHMSA Issues Stay of Enforcement for API 5L Requirements

On May 1, 2019, PHMSA issued the attached notice which stays the requirements of API Spec 5L, 45th edition, provided that API Spec 5L, 46th edition is used in its place.

In an introduction, John A. Gale, Director of the PHMSA Office of Standards and Rulemaking, provided this information:

BACKGROUND

The federal pipeline safety regulations incorporate by reference numerous standards relating to the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines in parts 192 and 195.  PHMSA currently incorporates by reference the 45th edition of API Specification 5L “Specification for Line Pipe” in parts 192 and 195.  API Spec 5L is the primary manufacturing specification for seamless and welded steel pipe for use in both gas and hazardous liquid pipeline transportation systems.  The specification includes requirements for pipe material, manufacturing, quality control and testing, inspection, and pipe marking.

API has recently issued a new edition of this standard:  API Specification 5L, “Specification for Line Pipe,” 46th edition (April 2018, effective May 1, 2019).  This new edition includes slightly more stringent pipe end-straightness tolerance requirements and clarifications on how to define and measure end-squareness.  After the May 1, 2019, the effective date of the 46th edition, API will require pipeline manufacturers with a license to use the API Monogram to manufacture and certify the line pipe to the 46th edition as part of their license with API.  PHMSA neither requires nor endorses the API Monogram, however, some manufacturers and operators find the API certification beneficial.

PHMSA has reviewed the 46th edition and determined that it provides a higher level of safety compared with the 45th edition currently incorporated by reference. PHMSA therefore intends to incorporate by reference API Spec 5L, 46th edition in a future rulemaking.

A stay of enforcement is necessary to allow API licensed manufacturers to utilize the new standard before the May 1, 2019, effective date of the 46th edition.


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