Bob Gnirk, Sterling
April 1 came and passed without a lot of fanfare covering new regulations for North Dakota's gathering pipelines which transport oil and gas from the well pad to interstate pipelines and processing facilities.
The new rules are important and a sign that the industry is taking responsible steps to protect the outdoors, farms, and water supplies for decades to come. Impressively, the rules were promoted from the oil and gas industry themselves.
These rules put into place greater measures to protect the integrity of the pipeline and prevent accidents caused by others which damage the lines. The rules provide better documentation of where lines are located, how they were designed and tested, and the materials transported by the lines. Now, gathering lines will be GPS mapped and available to regulators. They will be installed to higher standards and will be detectable with locating equipment above ground, no matter the material makeup of the pipeline.
That the oil and gas industry is taking responsible, reasonable measures to ensure the integrity of these small pipelines is pleasing to me as a pipeline engineer and member of the industry. Too often we only hear kneejerk reactions while 99.9 percent of the industry's efforts are spent protecting the integrity of its systems and providing energy to society.