Category Archives: Safety

PHMSA Rule Making Updates – a look at what is ahead on the US Regulatory Front

The US Pipeline regulatory environment is poised to see several new rules implemented to expand the scope and effectiveness of pipeline regulations with a goal to improve the integrity and safety of hazardous material pipeline. These rule changes were all initiated years ago and have been winding their way through the regulatory process, soliciting input from the industry and from concerned citizens, environmental groups and other interested parties.

The Liquids “Final Rule”
In January of 2017 in the last few days of the Obama Administration, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a final rule amending its Rule 49 CFR 195 that among other things expanded integrity management and leak detections beyond high consequence areas (HCA’s). The Final Rule tightened standards and broadened data collection and monitoring requirements for pipeline operators. A few days into the Trump administration, the White House issued a directive to federal agencies to freeze sending new regulations to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and withdrawing any regulations sent to the OFR. Thus the liquids “Final Rule” that was 6 years in the making was withdrawn and is awaiting resubmittal by the new administration.
While the exact requirements of the Final Rule may be changed, some of the key changes from the withdrawn rule included:

• Assessment of non-HCA pipeline segments every 10 years in compliance with provisions of 49 CFR Part 195.
• Increased use of inline inspection tools for all hazardous pipelines in HCA.
• Requirement for leak detection systems for covered pipelines in both HCA and non-HCAs.

PHMSA anticipates coming out with their revised “Final Rule” in the Fall of 2018.

The Gas “Mega Rule”
On the gas side of the pipeline regulatory environment, 49 CFR Parts 191 and 192, several public meetings have been held regarding PHMSA’s proposed gas rules, often referred to as the Gas Mega Rule. The rulemaking changes originally recommended would have nearly doubled the current number of pages in the regulations. PHMSA has announced that instead of one Mega Rule, the effort would be broken into three separate rules that are expected to be introduced in 2018 and to go into effect in 2019. Part 1 addresses the expansion of risk assessment and MAOP requirements to include areas in non-High Consequence Areas (HCAs) and moderate consequence areas (MCAs.) Part 2 of the rule making focuses on the expansions of integrity management program regulations including corrosion control to gathering lines and other previously non-regulated lines. Part 3 of the gas rule making is expected to focus on reporting requirements, safety regulations and definitions to include expanding into related gas facilities associated with pipeline systems.

Corrosion Industry Safety and “Captain Obvious”

by Rebecca Haring
Corrosion Industry Safety and Captain ObviousMATCOR Safety & Compliance Manager


Quickly, off the top of your head – what’s the most important factor in your daily corrosion industry safety work life?

It’s Y-O-U and Captain Obvious—what a Dynamic Duo!

Safety managers train you. Regional managers establish procedures and rules. Clients require certain clothing. Your supervisor warns you. But the bottom line is: No program, sign or protective equipment will work if YOU elect not to make safety an intentional part of your daily work life.

“But,” you say, “We’re told the job must be done faster and cheaper.” Be sure you include “The job must be completed without a safety event.”

Make no mistake, every job must finish safely. As soon as it doesn’t, safety becomes the MOST IMPORTANT measure of the job; and you become the yardstick.

Let’s review some simple ways for you to practice safety at every job every day.

Enter Captain Obvious to remind you of corrosion industry safety basics:


Check your work area frequently.

Look around and listen up! Use your senses to prevent a safety event (and you already do it all day every day). What do you see, hear or smell in your work area? Mobile equipment in use? Materials being moved? Walking area slippery? Cords or ropes in your path? Trash not discarded correctly? Machine making a ‘funny’ noise? Do you smell hydraulic fluid?

Observe how your work area changes during the day. Let those working around you know about the changes. Take an active role in making your job site safer by helping to make others aware of the little changes. Sure, you might sound like Captain Obvious. So what? When it helps everyone go home at the end of the day with nothing but a fatter wallet… then THAT’S a good day!

All MATCOR employees abide by our Stop Work Obligation. Every employee at our job sites has an obligation to intervene and stop work when a situation gets identified that could break one of MATCOR’s Life Saving Rules or cause injury or illness.

Electricity and equipment. Both start with “E” and both kill.

Here’s another one from Captain Obvious. Check your electrical equipment every time you use it. Drills, grinders, reeling machines and irons. If it has to be plugged in or charged, there’s the potential for a cracked case, frayed or cut cords or a short somewhere. Make a quick inspection for wear and tear, and intact strain relief and connections.

For larger equipment, like Pipeline Current Mappers, generators or interrupters, take the time to read the Operator’s/Owner’s Manual at least once before you running the machine. If the manual isn’t available, ask someone who has used the machine for a quick rundown.

Wide open and burning hot.

Many times when we hear about a workplace fatality, it involves some kind of fall…in a hole, from heights, or something falling on a worker. Considering the kind of work we do, every worker needs to be aware of 1) what he or she might fall over/into; and 2) what might fall onto him or her. Falls aren’t always fatal, but often workplace fatalities involve falls. Here comes Captain Obvious, again. Be aware and make others aware of anything that might make you fall; or that might fall on you.

Another situation that could burn us on a job site is fire (sorry for the bad pun there). Anywhere there’s machinery, combustible chemicals, or cad welding, the possibility of fire exists. Open flame, especially on a pipeline right-of-way could turn an ordinary day into a hot time that no one wants. Knowing what to do in the event of a fire at EVERY job site makes sense. Where’s the extinguisher? Do you know how to use it? What about the escape route from the site? Yes, you and your crew should create and review the emergency plan at each job site. After all, knowing the best direction to run IS an emergency action plan.

Where IS that first aid box?

Calling Captain Obvious… Do you know where the first aid kit is in your work area? Can you get to it quickly and easily? When was the last time you checked to see if it needed to be restocked? Though you may think that’s someone else’s job, it will matter most to you when you need to remove a splinter, bandage up a cut or treat a burn. Remember, we’re talking about how Y-O-U have the most important part of job site safety. If the first aid kit isn’t ready and available when you need it, the problem isn’t someone else’s. Check the first aid kit.

Corrosion Industry Safety: The last line of defense.

If we can’t engineer a hazard away, we write a procedure to protect you from it. When engineering or administration doesn’t quite eliminate a hazard, you get personal protective equipment (PPE). Here’s the rub. If you choose not to wear PPE, it doesn’t protect you (OMG, Captain Obvious snuck right in there). Hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, or earplugs might be uncomfortable. Then again, so are skull fractures, blindness, amputations and deafness.

PPE may be a last line of defense when it comes to corrosion industry safety, but that makes it no less important. Make sure you don it every time on every job…and speak up if your co-workers need to be reminded.

Wrap it up.

Workers need to take care at all times and at all job sites. No matter how many machines have guards, or safety policies the company writes, Y-O-U have the biggest impact on your safety. Awareness of your work space, inspecting your tools, knowing how to get out in an emergency or where to find the first aid kit are all factors in YOUR control.

You make decisions every day that impact how, or if, you and your crew go home. Will it be with a fatter wallet? Or will it be with stitches, or in a cast or worse? Captain Obvious knows.

MATCOR takes corrosion industry safety very seriously and maintains an excellent safety record.

Learn more about MATCOR Safety Programs or contact us for additional information.

Pipeline Petroleum Transport Investment May Predict Growing Cathodic Protection Needs

If Warren Buffet’s investment strategy is any indication, pipeline efficiency is going to start playing a bigger role in moving crude oil and natural gas in the United States.

The Berkshire Hathaway luminary is pipeline-efficiency-cathodic-protectionspearheading a swap of about $1.4 billion in shares of Phillips 66 for full ownership of the energy company’s pipeline petroleum transport services business. The business unit’s focus is polymer-based additives that are used to move crude oil and natural gas through pipelines more efficiently by reducing drag.

The shift in Berkshire’s investment strategy comes amid a boom in U.S. crude oil and natural gas production. Since many liquids pipelines in the United States are operating at capacity, producers can use the pipeline petroleum transport additive to quickly increase capacity without immediately growing pipeline infrastructure.

Although future pipeline projects may be in the works to meet the sharp increase in demand, the process of gaining approval for new pipeline projects can be slowed by permitting.

A greater reliance on existing pipelines for transporting liquids means that producers and pipeline owners need to pay even more attention to cathodic protection management, according to Kevin Groll, project management director for MATCOR, a Pennsylvania-based company that specializes in cathodic protection products and services.

“Any time you have pipeline you have to protect it from corrosion,” Groll said. “And that’s especially true when you increase the value of a pipeline by increasing its capacity. If that pipeline were to develop a corrosion problem you’d be facing a situation where your profitability could suffer significantly.”

“With pipeline owners using additives to push greater volumes of liquids it becomes imperative to use cathodic protection products such as impressed current anodes and cathodic protection rectifiers to protect the increased capacity and profitability of the pipeline infrastructure.”

Further Reading

Berkshire Swaps $1.4 Billion in Phillips 66 Stock in Deal,” Bloomberg, December 31, 2013.

MATCOR Offers Take on Natural Gas Liquids Production and NGL Transportation

“There is much discussion about the abundance of natural gas deposits in Marcellus Shale, and there is tremendous focus in extracting this precious resource. However, the industry’s ability to get this product to the end user is impacted by the infrastructure that currently exists.

“While rail is a means to transport natural gas, MATCOR is working with a growing number of midstream companies in expanding transmission and distribution piping networks. The key is to get product to market in a cost-effective and safe manor, and MATCOR’s cathodic protection products and services help ensure any new pipeline, regardless of the product it delivers, is in compliance and protected from corrosion.”

John Rothermel, PE

Vice President of Sales, MATCOR

Pipelines Planned for NGL Transportation Through Central Pennsylvania

At least one company is looking to take advantage of the rapid growth of natural gas liquids production from two of the largest shale regions in the nation.

Sunoco Logistics, a Philadelphia-based company that transports, terminals, and stores crude oil and refined petroleum products, recently announced that it was surveying land for a new pipeline, dubbed Mariner II East, that would connect production of natural gas liquids (NGL) from the Marcellus and Utica  shale regions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to one of the company’s oil and diesel tank farms outside of Mechanicsburg.

The company also has plans to convert its existing Mariner East I pipeline, which used to carry oil and diesel fuel west, so that it carries propane and ethane east to its facility in Marcus Hook, which had also been idled.

The company bought the refinery from the former Sunoco Co. earlier this year for $60 million and is spending an unspecified amount of money to upgrade it and bring it back online as a natural gas liquids production refinery.

Sunoco Logistics is betting on the continued growth of natural gas production, of which NGLs like propane and ethane are byproducts. Natural gas production has increased in recent years thanks to hydraulic fracking, which has resulted in a larger supply that has driven prices down and has therefore, like a circle, created bigger demand for natural gas.

As a result of this process, NGL production has climbed during the last four years from 50 million to 70 million barrels per month. But, without greater avenues for NGL transportation, the increased production is moot.

Sunoco Logistics says that its plan to build a new NGL transportation pipeline, and convert an old pipeline for NGL transportation, will help create a northeast NGL hub in Marcus Hook that will help meet the demands of NGL producers and local and overseas consumers.

The Mariner East projects are only a few of the pipelines being planned by Sunoco Logistics. The company has roughly a dozen oil and gas projects on the books over the next 12 months at a cost of $1.3 billion, four times what it spent on capital expenditures each of the last four years.

MATCOR offers cathodic protection safety products and services to companies like Sunoco Logistics, which require cathodic protection equipment to maximize safety, efficiency, and capital investment in their pipeline projects.

Further Reading

Sunoco Logistics Plans Marcellus, Utica Pipeline Through Susquehanna Valley,” The Patriot News, Nov. 21, 2013.

State regulators clear way for Florida Power and Light natural gas pipeline

A proposed $3.5 billion natural gas pipeline took a leap forward last Thursday and by 2017 is expected to be providing fuel to run Florida Power and Light Co.’s plants.

Florida’s two pipelines, the Florida Gas Transmission pipeline, and Gulfstream pipeline deliver gas primarily from such offshore areas as the Gulf of Mexico.

The pipeline’s northern 465 miles is a joint venture of Houston-based Spectra Energy subsidiary Sabal Trail Transmission and a newly formed subsidiary of Florida Power and Light’s parent company, NextEra Energy Inc., called U.S. Southeastern Gas Infrastructure LLC. The southern 126 miles, known as Florida Southeast Connection, is a subsidiary of NextEra.

The pipeline will travel through four Alabama counties, eight Georgia counties and 13 Florida counties. It will end at Florida Power and Light’s Martin County plant near Indiantown. The new pipeline will connect to FPL’s new plants under construction in Riviera Beach and Hollywood.

Commissioner Eduardo Balbis said the pipeline will help mitigate supply interruptions and price fluctuations. It’s also a plus that the cost is $450 million below that of other options.

The project is projected to create more than 6,600 jobs.

Jeff Householder, president of Florida Public Utilities Co., said the additional gas supplies, especially the cheaper shale gas, are needed for the state’s growth and economic development. He expects his company and others will build lateral lines from the pipeline.

Florida Power and Light has signed agreements with the two entities that will own the new pipeline for an initial 400 million cubic feet per day beginning in 2017 with an option for an additional 200 million cubic feet in 2020 and later.

Florida Gas Transmission’s pipeline has a capacity of 3,100 million cubic feet per day, and Gulfstream’s pipeline has a capacity of 1,300 million cubic feet per day

The project approved Thursday differs from a proposal the PSC rejected in 2009 when Florida Power and Light sought to build the 280-mile Florida EnergySecure Line itself.

The pipeline must be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other federal and state agencies. It would give the state 25 percent more natural gas capacity.


Pipeline Cathodic Protection News: New Spectra Natural Gas Pipeline Construction

Pipeline cathodic protection industry received a boost this week: proposed high-volume natural gas pipeline construction across 3 Southeastern states. Spectra, the company behind this jolt of economic opportunity, has dubbed it the “Renaissance Project”. The natural gas pipeline proposes several lines branching off the main pipeline to potential customers along the route.

The pipeline is a complex project and will require a number of business services such as pipeline cathodic protection. MATCOR’s pipeline protection program uses a number ISO 9001:2008-certified solutions to protect such a project. For example, MATCOR’s SPL™-FBR linear Anode and Durammo™ Deep Anode System would help lower total cost of ownership on the pipeline.

The proposed pipeline is almost 300 miles with three different pipeline diameters. The natural gas pipeline will feature two compressor stations to maintain line pressures, according to officials. It was stated the line will have a capacity of 1 billion cubic feet per day, and can be expanded to over 1.5 billion cubic feet per day.

Spectra plans for the pipeline to run from the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, through Alabama and towards the Atlanta, Georgia area. “We are continuing to work with multiple potential customers to design a project to fit their supply demand needs,” Grover said in a statement on the project.

Furthermore, Spectra executed letter of intent with the AGL, the parent company of Chattanooga Gas Co., and Atlanta Gas Light explore a joint arrangement for local distribution. Sources close to the matter state the “Renaissance Project” could be up and running by mid-2017.

“From a project kickoff standpoint, we continue to reach out to federal, state and local public officials informing them of the project,” she said. “We’ll send letters and start contacting landowners along our proposed study corridor pending further market feedback.” Grover stated Spectra the Renaissance Project study corridor map is in the final stages. Currently, the map highlights 15 counties across Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

Economic groups across these states laud the move as one that will stimulate the economy and bring jobs to the region. “It’s going to be a good project and the infrastructure for natural gas is such that, industry-wide, there’s a great demand for it,” one source familiar with the matter said. Experts familiar with the project say it is a crucial move to support industrial expansion and business growth in the region.


MATCOR’s Insight That Works

The Renaissance pipeline is indeed poetically named. The Southeastern region has recently seen improvements to its economic state and industrial competitiveness. However, key investments such as the natural gas pipeline and other infrastructure must be put in place to attract jobs, manufacturers and families into these committees. That said, the pipeline is a key cog to the continued rebirth of this region. MATCOR and other service providers will be stewards of this bright future, protecting valuable assets that power communities.


MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic protection for pipelines and cathodic protection management. Our team maintains the highest quality standards of cathodic protection for systems for storage tanks and other products that let you focus on your business operations.

August 11 serves as a good reminder to always call 811 before digging

Every year, more than 165,000 underground utility lines are unintentionally damaged in this country.  An estimated one-third of that damage is preventable by dialing three simple numbers:  811

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to their local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a trees and are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

811 is a free, FCC-designated national one-call number that connects a caller from anywhere in the country to the appropriate local one-call center. The one-call center will then alert the appropriate underground facility owners so they can dispatch locators to mark the approximate location of their lines with paint or flags.

How can you celebrate 8-11? Learn more about 811.  Make a promise, and make a difference.  Visit for further details.

Natural Gas Transmission Pipelines & Safety: Major Washington Expansion

The Washington State natural gas transmission pipelines and safety landscape received a big announcement this week. Multiple sections of pipeline in Washington will be expanded, according to federal filings by Northwest Williams Pipeline.

The current gas transmission pipelines are 30 inches. The proposed expansion will place 36 inch pipeline next to the old 30 inch pipeline. The construction, expected in early 2017, will also create continuity between existing 36 inch pipeline. The pipeline expansion is a perquisite for a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export station in Astoria. The project will encompass a wide range of work, including natural gas pipeline safety and protection.

In total, the pipeline project will span 140 miles from the Oregon state and Canadian national borders. The Oregon Pipeline Company will connect the southern expansion into Oregon through an installation underground the Columbia River. The finished product is LNG that will be shipped to Asia from the Astoria natural gas terminal.

Northwest Williams Pipeline estimates the project cost at $870 million. Upon completion, the pipeline will be made available to other customers in the Northwest, including Washington and Oregon. The company also stated it expects the pipeline to generate over $10 million in property taxes, per year across Washington.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) received the application request in June. FERC officials have announced the plan will be reviewed in tandem with the Oregon LNG pipeline plans.


MATCOR’s Insight That Works

The proposed pipeline expansion holds a great deal of promise for all involved. The Astoria LNG terminal is poised to service rapidly expanding markets in Asia.  Northwest Williams Pipeline will help bring a great deal of economic benefit to Washington. At the same time, the project is highly complex by joining multiple existing pipeline sections. Natural gas pipeline safety and pipe protection are large concerns. The company is making a large investment that will require expert cathodic protection to secure continued profit. Technology such as linear SPL anodes could make a huge impact for Northwest Williams Pipeline.


MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic protection management. Our cathodic protection installation team offers turnkey project management for many corrosion engineering services, including AC Mitigation. MATCOR’s cathodic protection equipment is backed by an unmatched 10 year guarantee.

Another New Pipeline for Texas will require Cathodic Protection

Texas continues its frenzied activity of chemicals, energy and cathodic protection of pipelines. Dow Chemical Company announced this week a full service chemical pipeline from the Houston area to East Texas. Wood Group Mustang will provide construction and support services for this project.

The pipeline runs from Freeport and Mt. Belvieu, Texas. Asset management and maintenance of the pipeline will be a requirement. Some of those regulations include pipeline cathodic protection for almost 140 miles between the Dow Texas facilities.

The pipelines and station upgrades are part of Dow Chemical’s expansion of its ethylene unit. Dow’s recently announced a detailed plan to capitalize on booming supplies of shale gas in North America.

This contract includes a wide spectrum of field services, construction management and engineering (including Cathodic Protection).  Wood Group Mustang has provided similar services for Dow Chemical on previous projects. The project will be overseen through its Houston and Angleton, Texas offices. The project is estimated to reach completion in 2016.


Matcor’s Insight That Works

Dow Chemical has recently started a turnaround in its Texas operations. This is exciting for both Dow and the related service industries. As Dow ramps up its chemical and ethylene operations, services such as cathodic protection for pipelines will also see a lift. In short, this investment will build more than a pipeline. The communities and local economies around this pipeline are sure to see a boost from Dow, Wood Group Mustang and their contractors.




About MATCOR & its Blog: Cathodically Protected

Matcor is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic protection management and mixed metal oxide anodes. Our cathodic protection contractors and services carry an unmatched 10 year guarantee. Matcor offers the latest insights on the cathodic and anodic protection industry.

Major Pipeline Safety & Integrity Management Changes Announced in Canada

Canada’s National Energy Board announced tightened rules on federally regulated oil and natural gas pipelines this week. The changes come with a move to bolster pipeline safety and integrity management for the good of environment and citizens.

The strengthened regulations require companies to actively address safety, pipeline integrity, safety, environmental protection and emergency management.

The measures intend to make senior management at pipelines accountable and responsible for their projects. Responsibilities include creation of annual reports on pipeline integrity and safety that will be evaluated by the National Energy Board.

The board is mandating companies name specific points of contact that are accountable for ensuring protection of pipelines. The board hopes tasking senior management at pipeline companies with this responsibility will make a significant throughout every pipeline management company.

The National Energy Board stated the move has been a work in progress for several years. The board was also quick to point out the changes have not been motivated by any recent environmental or safety concerns.

A spokesperson with the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said member companies will comply with the new requirements. However, further comment was declined.

Nathan Lemphers of the Pembina Institute said the changes are a marked positive change that will ensure real action in Canadian pipeline management. The old regulations failed to create corporate responsibility around pipeline environmental safety and integrity management.

MATCOR’s Insight That Works

MATCOR applauds this move by the National Energy Board. There are certainly concerns for ease of rule implementation. However, MATCOR has experienced significant long-term benefit through proactive environmental protection and sustainability measures. The move to enhance pipeline safety through government regulation may speed these measures and greatly improve Canadian peace of mind.


MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic and anodic protection. Read more about cathodic protection equipment and systems for storage tanks. MATCOR is pleased to offer the latest analysis weekly on its blog, Cathodically Protected: Pipeline Corrosion Control Insights.