COGCC updates flowline registration procedures | PostIndependent.com

COGCC updates flowline registration procedures

It has been nearly a year since the fatal Firestone home explosion, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has refined some of its definitions and updated flowline registration requirements to prevent more such incidents.

Days after the explosion, Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered inspections and tests of all active and abandoned gas pipelines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings.

The Firestone home explosion was linked to an abandoned flowline. The flowline was an oil and gas return line connected to an active well, but severed from anything else. Methane gas seeped into home from the abandoned line.

After months of gathering data from operators throughout the state, the COGCC approved of rules changes for registration requirements regarding off location flowlines, crude oil transfer lines, produced water transfer systems and domestic taps.

"The goal is to, by the end of the month, get initial training out to operators and implementation by May 1," explained COGCC Engineering Manager Stuart Ellsworth at the monthly Garfield County Energy Advisory Board meeting in Rifle Thursday.

The rules were approved on Feb. 13. As such, operators must get newly constructed lines registered by May 1. Any lines on their sites that existed prior to May 1 must be registered by the end of October 2019.

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The new registration forms are extensive in terms of the information being requested of operators, including mapping, location, description of the pipe materials, construction details and more.

"We expect operators to come up with the best information they can if there are existing [pipelines] that are old," Ellsworth said.

Additional registration will be required for integrity management, leaks and abandoned lines. The definition of abandoned lines was updated, as well.

"A line is considered active until fully abandoned," Ellsworth explained. "When a line is not in active, lockout or tagout for abandonment, operators must physically separate the line from all sources of fluids pressure and may choose abandonment in place or removal."

"A line is either active or abandoned," he added. "Inactive lines don't exist."