Black & Veatch Explores Potential Regulatory Impact of Southern California Gas Leak | Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch Explores Potential Regulatory Impact of Southern California Gas Leak

New white paper offers expert insights on potential compliance measures

Natural gas storage facility owners and operators should begin preparing for new regulations at the federal, state and local levels following the Porter Ranch gas leak from the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Southern California. A new white paper from Black & Veatch provides an overview of potential regulatory changes at the federal and state levels in response to the leak.

The paper features a checklist for facility operators and owners to aid in the development of compliance action plans. “The leak in southern California is considered one of the largest in U.S. history and will likely catalyze new rules aimed at regulating natural gas storage facilities,” says Dr. James Gooding, a manager within Black & Veatch Management Consulting who specializes in natural gas issues, risk management, and environmental geoscience. 

“Underground natural gas storage owners and operators across the United States should begin preparing for more stringent technical management standards and more direct involvement by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration."

Dr. James Gooding, manager within Black & Veatch Management Consulting

The paper notes that anticipated expansion of regulatory oversight at all levels will be driven by aging infrastructure, population encroachment, and demand for more stringent regulations on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).  Indeed, the Porter Ranch community grew around the Aliso Canyon storage facility decades after the facility was opened for business, thereby changing the risk context significantly.  The white paper provides an overview of the different types of underground natural gas storage facilities and a basic checklist for completing a facility risk assessment, including changes which might have occurred over time. 

“With new regulations expected, facility owners and operators can get a head start on anticipated compliance requirements by updating their operations and maintenance plans,” noted Dr. Gooding. “This is particularly important because full implementation of an updated operations and maintenance plan will likely require outside capabilities, including the verification and validation by Independent Engineers for any inspection, testing or repair work at the facility.”

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