We are in a period of increased pipeline construction activity that is expected to continue through 2011, and possibly beyond. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other Federal agencies are encouraging and sometimes requiring interstate natural gas pipeline operators to use existing rights-of-way (ROW), where possible, when proposing routes for new construction. This is occurring throughout the country, even in more rural, sparsely populated areas. Recently, there have been a series of incidents where existing pipelines have been damaged during parallel construction.
Foundation members have elected to address the challenges of this increased construction and the current regulatory environment by providing guidance to designers, constructors, operators and regulators to prevent personal injury or property damage to either the existing or new pipeline when new construction is undertaken parallel to existing facilities. Workshops were held in July and November 2007 to identify the means to address the concerns that arise during parallel construction, and again in April and June 2008, to define a path forward in developing guidelines for parallel construction.