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Oil and Gas Operators: Don't Be Caught Off Guard By PHMSA Crude Oil Sampling and Analysis Plan Requirements

February 23, 2016

If you somehow missed the new Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Transportation Administration (PHMSA) requirements for unrefined petroleum product sampling plans (49 C.F.R. § 173.41, effective July 7, 2015), you are not alone (I stand with you!). First, there are a number of PHMSA rulemakings in varying stages of completion including, a broad new rule, not yet in effect, to apply new DOT requirements to petroleum gathering lines not previously regulated. Second, the new sampling plan requirement, when published in May of 2015, was largely either overlooked entirely or misunderstood to apply to only operators of rail terminals. However, the breadth of the new regulation is now becoming clear to operators large and small as PHMSA inspectors and trade and industry groups are beginning to spread the word about the requirements. Producers who ship unrefined petroleum products by rail, highway, air, or water must now, like refiners of petroleum products, develop and implement sampling plans for their unrefined petroleum products to meet the new regulation.