| (g) Transfer of permit. A storage facility permit may
not be transferred without the prior approval of the Commission, or
its designee. Until such transfer is approved by the Commission or
its designee, the proposed transferee may not conduct any activities
authorized by the permit. The following procedure shall be followed
when requesting approval for transfer of a permit.
(1) Request. Prior to transferring either ownership
or operation of a storage facility, the permittee shall file with
the Commission a request for transfer of the permit. Such a request
may not be filed unless a completed Form P-4, signed by both the permittee
and the proposed transferee, has been filed with the Commission.
(2) Approval. The Commission, or its designee, shall
approve the transfer of a storage facility permit, provided:
(A) the proposed transferee is not the subject of any
unsatisfied Commission enforcement order at the time of the request
for permit transfer; and
(B) there are no existing violations of any Commission
regulation, order, or permit at the storage facility at the time of
the request for permit transfer that have been documented by the Commission,
or its employees, unless the proposed transferee agrees to correct
the violations according to a compliance schedule approved by the
Commission, or its designee.
(3) Good cause. Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of this
subsection, for good cause shown the Commission, or its designee,
may require public notice and opportunity for hearing prior to taking
action on a request for transfer of a permit. Such request may be
denied after notice and opportunity for hearing if the Commission
or its designee finds that transfer of the permit would not be in
the public interest.
(h) Safety. The following safety requirements shall
apply to all underground gas storage facilities, provided, however,
that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any natural
gas storage well that is out of service and disconnected from surface
piping. Notwithstanding the compliance time periods specified in this
subsection, a new underground gas storage facility permitted under
this section must have all required safety measures and equipment
in place before commencement of storage operations at the facility.
All existing storage facilities must have such safety measures and
equipment in place within the period of time specified. Notwithstanding
the compliance time periods specified in paragraph (2)(B) of this
subsection, no storage well in active service may be operated without
a fully functional emergency shutdown valve unless in compliance with
specified conditions of paragraph (2)(C) of this subsection.
(1) Monitoring of injection and withdrawal operations.
All gas injection and withdrawal activities shall be continuously
monitored by an individual who is experienced and trained in such
activities. Any facility that is unattended during injection and withdrawal
activities shall have company personnel on call at all times. On-call
personnel must be able to reach the facility within 30 minutes from
the time a potential problem is noted by the individual monitoring
the injection or withdrawal activities.
(2) Storage wellhead.
(A) The storage wellhead must be designed, operated,
and maintained to contain the contents of the storage well and protect
against loss of stored product.
(B) Within five years of the effective date of this
section, the operator shall have installed emergency shutdown valves
between the wellhead and the gas injection/withdrawal surface piping
of each storage well and between the wellhead and any brine or fresh
water surface piping. Within one year of the effective date of this
section, the operator may request an exception to the storage wellhead
configuration or compliance date of this subparagraph and propose
an alternative configuration or workover schedule for approval by
the Commission or its designee. A storage well that is out of service
and is disconnected from surface piping shall be exempt from this
requirement until reactivated for active gas storage. Emergency shutdown
valves shall meet the following requirements:
(i) Each emergency shutdown valve shall be capable
of activation at each storage well, at the on-site control center
if one exists, at the remote control center if one exists, and at
a location that is reasonably anticipated to be accessible to emergency
response personnel at any facility that does not have an on-site control
center that is attended 24 hours per day.
(ii) Each emergency shutdown valve shall be an automatic
fail-closed valve that automatically closes when there is a loss of
pneumatic or hydraulic pressure on, or power to, the valve or when
the maximum operating pressure under subsection (k) of this section
(iii) Each emergency shutdown valve shall be closed
and opened at least monthly.
(iv) Each emergency shutdown valve system shall be
tested at least twice each calendar year at intervals not to exceed
7 1/2 months. The test shall consist of activating the actuation devices,
checking the warning system, and observing the valve closure.
(C) If an emergency shutdown valve system fails to
operate as required, the well shall be immediately shut in until repairs
are completed, unless:
(i) a backup emergency shutdown valve is in operation
on the same piping; or
(ii) an attendant is posted at the well site to provide
immediate manual shut-in.
(3) Gas, brine, and fresh water surface piping.
(A) Gas surface piping shall be designed for the permitted
maximum allowable operating pressure on the hydrocarbon side of the
well. For facilities with hazardous materials surface piping under
the administrative authority of the Safety Division of the Railroad
Commission of Texas, for the purposes of this section, gas surface
piping extends from the wellhead emergency shutdown valve to the first
pressure regulation device, including a manual, motor-operated, or
emergency shutdown valve.
(B) Brine piping, if any, shall be designed for the
maximum brine wellhead pressure and to transport, under emergency
conditions, gas to a gas control system if the operator is solution
mining while the gas storage well is in active storage service, unless:
(i) a secondary emergency shutdown valve is in operation
on the brine surface piping; and
(ii) the brine surface piping between the wellhead
emergency shutdown valve and the secondary emergency shutdown valve
is designed for the permitted maximum allowable operating pressure
on the hydrocarbon side of the well.
(C) Fresh water surface piping, if any, must be equipped
with an emergency shutdown valve unless it is:
(i) disconnected from the wellhead; or
(ii) connected to the brine surface piping outboard
of the wellhead emergency shutdown valve; or
(iii) designed for the maximum allowable operating
pressure on the hydrocarbon side of the well; and has an internal
diameter of less than or equal to two inches; and an attendant is
posted at the well site to provide immediate manual shut-in when in
(D) Fresh water piping designed for the permitted maximum
allowable operating pressure on the hydrocarbon side of the well and
with an internal diameter of less than or equal to two inches, is
exempt from the requirement that an emergency shutdown valve be separated
from the wellhead by a spool no longer than six feet.
(4) Cavern debrining and solution mining operations.
(A) Within one year of the effective date of this section,
each storage well shall have two or more of the following redundant
devices or methods in operation during cavern debrining operations
or during solution mining operations that are conducted with gas in
storage in the same cavern. These devices are designed to prevent
the release of gas into the brine and fresh water systems connected
to the well during cavern debrining operations or during solution
mining operations that are conducted with gas in storage in the same
cavern. Gas release prevention shall consist of at least two of the
following redundant devices or methods:
(i) emergency shutdown valves equipped with pressure
sensor switches or transducers set to automatically close emergency
shutdown valves on the brine side of the wellhead and on the fresh
water piping, if any, in response to preset pressures on the brine
and fresh water piping of the well;
(ii) weep hole(s) on the brine return string in conjunction
with a preset pressure sensor switch or transducer on the brine piping
that is set to automatically close emergency shutdown valves on the
brine side of the wellhead and on the fresh water piping, if any,
in response to a preset pressure;
(iii) a device on the brine return string or brine
piping that detects hydrocarbon in the brine by physical or chemical
characteristics and that is set to automatically close emergency shutdown
valves on the brine side of the wellhead and on the fresh water piping,
if any, in response to hydrocarbon detection;
(iv) an instrument that detects a rapid increase in
the brine flow rate indicative of hydrocarbon in the brine and that
is set to automatically close emergency shutdown valves on the brine
side of the wellhead and on the fresh water piping, if any, in response
to a preset flow rate or differential flow rate; or
(v) an alternative device or method approved by the
(B) Solution mining of a cavern may occur while gas
is in storage, provided that the injection of fresh water and the
injection of gas do not occur simultaneously within the same cavern.
(5) Leak or fire detectors.
(A) Within two years of the effective date of this
section, a leak or fire detector shall be installed and in operation
at each gas storage well and each structurally enclosed compressor
(B) Leak or fire detectors shall be tested twice each
calendar year at intervals not to exceed 7 1/2 months, and, when defective,
repaired or replaced within 10 days. Leak or fire detectors shall
be integrated with warning systems required in paragraph (6)(A) of
(6) Warning systems and alarms.
(A) Within two years of the effective date of this
section, all leak or fire detectors and sensors or methods that actuate
the emergency shutdown valve shall be integrated with warning systems
that are audible and visible in the control room and at any remote
control center. The circuitry shall be designed so that failure of
a leak or fire detector to function will activate the warning.
(B) A manually operated audible alarm shall be installed
at each attended storage facility. The alarm shall be audible in areas
of the facility where personnel are normally located.
(7) Emergency response plan. Each storage facility
shall submit to the Commission a written emergency response plan.
The plan shall address gas releases, fires, fire suppression capability,
explosions, loss of electricity, and loss of telecommunication services.
The plan shall describe the facility's emergency response communication
system, procedures for coordination of emergency communication and
response activities with local authorities, use of warning systems,
procedures for citizen and employee emergency notification and evacuation,
and employee training. The plan shall also include a plat of the facility
showing the locations of wells, processing areas, and other significant
features at the facility. The initial plan must be designed based
upon the existing safety measures at the facility. The plan shall
be updated as changes in safety features at the facility occur, or
as the Commission or its designee requires. A copy of the plan shall
be provided to the local emergency response committee and to any other
local governmental entity that submits a written request for a copy
of the plan to the operator. Copies of the plan shall also be available
at the storage facility and at the company headquarters.
(8) Notification of emergency or uncontrolled release.
(A) Emergency response personnel. Each operator shall
notify the county sheriff's office, the county emergency management
coordinator, and any other appropriate public officials which are
identified in the emergency response plan of any emergency that could
endanger nearby residents or property. Such emergencies include, but
are not limited to, an uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons from a
storage well or a leak or fire at any area of the storage facility.
The operator shall give notice as soon as practicable following the
discovery of the emergency. At the time of the notice, the operator
shall also report an assessment of the potential threat to the public.
(B) Commission. The operator shall report to the appropriate
Commission district office as soon as practicable any emergency, significant
loss of gas or fluids, significant mechanical failure, or other problem
that increases the potential for an uncontrolled release. The operator
shall file with the Commission within 30 days of the incident a written
report on the root cause of the incident. Within 90 days of the incident,
the operator shall file with the Commission a written report that
describes the operational changes, if any, that have been or will
be implemented to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of a similar
incident. An operator may request that the Commission grant, for good
cause, a reasonable amount of additional time to file a written report
on the root cause of the incident.