Safety and environmental performance are our top priorities. Ensuring the integrity of our pipeline systems enables Oklahoma Natural Gas to successfully meet our goal of delivering natural gas service with no adverse effect on the public, our customers, employees or the environment.
To further support this goal, Oklahoma Natural has been working with regulators and other pipeline operators to develop a more systematic approach to pipeline safety and integrity management.
This collaboration produced the Pipeline Safety Bill H.R. 3609, "The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002," which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2002. One of the provisions of the act required the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations defining integrity management programs prescribing the standards for conducting a risk analysis and the adoption and implementation of an integrity management program for natural gas pipelines.
In December 2003, the Office of Pipeline Safety issued a final rule requiring natural gas pipeline operators to develop integrity management programs (IMP) for gas transmission pipelines located in high-consequence areas.
Oklahoma Natural Gas has created an integrity management program that meets or exceeds the requirements of the integrity management regulations.
Our Integrity Management Program
The primary goal of our IMP is the safe, reliable operation of the pipeline system. We support this intent by using a systematic, comprehensive approach to manage the safety and integrity of our pipeline systems. Our current integrity management program identifies multiple elements that define how the company works to prevent leaks, determine pipelines that could affect high-consequence areas, and identify evaluation and improvement opportunities to lower the operating risks of the pipeline. We plan to continually refine our program as the IMP moves from its framework to a more comprehensive program.
The ONG integrity management program addresses the following elements:
- High-Consequence Area (HCA) -- A high-consequence area is a specifically defined location where releases or operational impacts could have greater impacts on health, safety or the environment. Oklahoma Natural has identified pipeline sections that could affect HCAs and is taking specific measures to ensure the integrity of the pipeline in these areas.
- Threat Identification and Risks -- We use a threat-based methodology to assess and rank the risks associated with individual segments of pipeline located in HCAs.
- Baseline Assessment Plan -- Risk assessment provides Oklahoma Natural with a rational and consistent method to assess the integrity of a pipeline segment. This method, along with the threat identification process, allows us to prioritize the risk and more effectively allocate the resources required to identify and alleviate potential integrity concerns.
- Remediation and Prevention -- Remediation is defined as action taken by the operator to mitigate the danger of a potential integrity concern. Oklahoma Natural's remediation work includes pressure reduction and/or repair and preventive measures that halt a potential integrity problem so it does not proceed to failure.
- Performance and Quality Assurance -- At Oklahoma Natural, we regularly evaluate our integrity management program to verify consistent application, to identify improvement opportunities and to ensure the program is effectively assessing pipeline integrity and protecting high-consequence areas. Our Quality Assurance Plan provides documented proof that we are meeting all the requirements of the IMP.
- Management of Change -- Management of change procedures identify and document changes to our pipeline systems and integrity management program. These procedures help us consider the impact those changes will have on the integrity of our pipelines.
- Communications -- Oklahoma Natural has developed and implemented a communications plan to inform company personnel, jurisdictional authorities and the public about its integrity management efforts and the results of its integrity management activities.
- Personnel Qualification and Training -- We use a number of defined processes to verify all personnel involved in the integrity management program are properly trained and fully qualified for their assigned responsibilities.
If you have additional questions or want to learn more about our integrity management program, please contact our integrity staff by email.