| (9) Annual emergency drill. Annually, each operator
shall conduct a drill that tests response to a simulated emergency.
Written notice of the drill shall be provided to the appropriate Commission
district office, the county emergency management coordinator, and
the county sheriff's office at least seven days prior to the drill.
Local emergency response authorities shall be invited to participate
in all such drills. The operator shall file a written evaluation of
the drill and plans for improvements with the appropriate district
office and the county emergency management coordinator within 30 days
after the date of the drill.
(10) Employee safety training.
(A) Each operator shall prepare and implement a plan
to train and test each employee at each underground gas storage facility
on operational safety to the extent applicable to the employee's duties
and responsibilities. The facility's emergency response plan shall
be included in the training program.
(B) Each operator shall hold a safety meeting with
each contractor prior to the commencement of any new contract work
at an underground gas storage facility. Emergency measures, including
safety and evacuation measures specific to the contractor's work,
shall be explained in the contractor safety meeting.
(11) Fire suppression capability.
(A) Within three years of the effective date of this
section, each operator shall have fire suppression capability designed
to aid in personnel rescue and equipment protection and cooling.
(B) Within one year of the effective date of this section,
the operator may request an exception to the schedule or fire suppression
requirement of this paragraph and propose an alternative schedule
or means of protection from wellhead fire for approval of the Commission
or its designee.
(12) Wellhead, piping, and associated valves. All wellhead
surface piping and associated valves shall be designed, installed,
and operated in accordance with engineering standards to the expected
service conditions to which the piping and equipment will be subjected.
(13) Barriers. Within one year of the effective date
of this section, barriers designed to prevent unintended impact by
vehicles and equipment shall be placed around above grade hydrocarbon
piping, hydrocarbon process equipment where vehicles may normally
be expected to travel, or within 100 feet of a public road.
(i) Cavern capacity and configuration.
(1) Before storage operations begin. The capacity and
configuration of each gas storage cavern (both salt domes and bedded
salt) shall be determined by sonar survey before storage operations
begin in a newly completed cavern.
(2) Salt domes. The capacity and configuration of each
salt dome gas storage cavern shall be determined by sonar survey before
a cavern that has been out of service is returned to service, provided,
however, that a sonar survey shall not be required on a cavern that
is being returned to service if a sonar survey of that cavern has
been run at any time during the previous 10 years.
(3) Bedded salt. The configuration of the roof of each
gas storage cavern in bedded salt shall be determined by downhole
log or an alternate method approved by the Commission, or its designee,
at least once every five years.
(4) Filing of results. Sonar and roof monitoring survey
results shall be filed with the Commission within 30 days after the
(5) Out-of-service caverns. A sonar or roof monitoring
survey is not required for a cavern that is out of service. A sonar
or roof monitoring survey shall be performed before any such cavern
that has been out of service is returned to service, unless the provisions
of paragraph (2) of this subsection apply.
(6) Verification. Sonar surveys performed before debrining
shall be verified by metering the volume of the displaced brine.
(j) Well completion, casing, and cementing. Gas storage
wells shall be cased and the casing strings cemented to prevent gases
from escaping to the surface or into fresh water strata, or otherwise
escaping and causing waste or endangering public safety or the environment.
(1) New wells.
(A) All gas storage wells drilled in salt domes after
the effective date of this section shall have at least two casing
strings cemented into the salt formation. Sufficient cement shall
be used to fill the annular space outside the casing from the casing
shoe to the ground surface, or from the casing shoe to a point at
least 200 feet above the shoe of the previous casing string.
(B) All gas storage wells drilled in bedded salt after
the effective date of this section shall have all casing strings cemented
with sufficient cement to fill the annular space outside each casing
string from the casing shoe to the ground surface.
(2) Well completion report. A well completion report
shall be filed in accordance with the instructions on the form prescribed
by the Commission within 30 days after a storage well is completed
and before solution mining to create the cavern begins.
(k) Operating pressure.
(1) Not to exceed maximum. The operating pressure of
each gas storage well shall not exceed the permitted maximum allowable
operating pressure for that well. The permitted maximum allowable
operating pressure is that pressure specified in the Commission permit
or order, or, if not specified in the permit or order, that pressure
stated in the application or the application for amendment to a permit
(2) At casing seat. The maximum operating pressure
at the casing seat shall not exceed 0.85 pounds per square inch per
foot of depth.
(l) Monitoring requirements.
(1) Gas pressure. Gas pressure on the injection/withdrawal
casing or tubing or piping connected thereto shall be equipped with
a pressure sensor to continuously monitor the wellhead pressure. Pressure
sensors shall be integrated electronically with the warning systems,
alarms, and emergency shutdown valve actuation system as required
in subsection (h)(2)(B) and (h)(6)(A) of this section.
(2) Pressure observation valves. The injection/withdrawal
casing or tubing shall be equipped with a pressure observation valve
and gauge. The wellhead shall be equipped with a pressure observation
valve on each casing annulus so that a gauge may be installed for
(3) Volumes injected and withdrawn. The volume of gas
injected into and withdrawn from each storage well shall be measured
(A) flow meter for each well; or
(B) an alternate method approved by the Commission.
(4) Meter calibration. Meters that measure the volume
of gas into storage and out of storage shall be recalibrated at least
once each year.
(5) Data recording. Within three years of the effective
date of this section, operators shall have installed and have functioning
equipment to electronically record all liquid and gas pressures and
injection volumes and rates at a frequency of at least once per minute,
and all actuations of the emergency shutdown valve.
(1) Monthly reports. On or before the last day of each
month, the operator of each facility that stores gas to supply a public
utility shall file with the Commission a report showing the volume
of gas placed into storage and the volume of gas removed from storage
at the storage facility, during the preceding month. The report shall
also state the total volume of gas in storage on the first and last
days of the preceding month. This report shall be filed in a format
acceptable to the Commission or its designee.
(2) Annual reports. The operator shall file annually
a status report for each storage well in accordance with the instructions
on the form prescribed by the Commission.
(n) Operations, construction, and maintenance records
(1) Operations data.
(A) The operator shall retain for at least three months
all electronic records of storage well pressures, volumes of gases
injected and withdrawn, and the inventory of gas in storage. These
electronic data shall be recorded at a frequency of at least once
(B) The operator shall retain for at least five years
the records reported to the Commission under subsection (m). These
electronic data shall be recorded at a frequency of at least once
(2) Records retention. The operator shall retain for
at least five years the records of measurement performance under subsection
(l)(4) of this section; and testing of safety devices under subsection
(h) of this section. Records of any test of a safety device required
under subsection (h) of this section shall be available for on-site
inspection within 10 days of the date of the test.
(3) Construction and maintenance data. The operator
shall retain for the life of the facility documents and records pertaining
to the drilling, mining, completion, repair and workover of storage
wells and the testing of storage well integrity, and shall transfer
all such documents and records to any new owner and/or new operator
of the facility.
(4) Extension during investigation. The operator shall
retain beyond the prescribed retention period any documents or records
that contain operational data pertaining to the resolution of any
pending regulatory enforcement proceedings until the resolution of
(o) Testing and maintenance.
(1) Integrity tests. Each gas storage well shall be
tested for integrity prior to being placed into service, at least
once every five years, and after each workover that involves physical
changes to any cemented casing string. The following requirements
apply to such integrity tests.
(A) A test procedure shall be filed with the Commission
for approval at least 10 days before the test date.
(B) The initial test conducted on a well prior to placing
it into service shall be performed using the nitrogen-interface test
method or an alternative method approved by the Commission or its
(C) The integrity test required to be conducted at
least once every five years on a well that has gas in storage may
be performed using pressure monitoring, provided:
(i) the wellhead pressure is stabilized such that the
effects of ambient temperature on pressure have overtaken the effects
of the last injection or withdrawal on pressure;
(ii) a downhole temperature log is run at the beginning
and at the end of the test period;
(iii) the test period is a minimum of 72 hours; and
(iv) the net gas volume change for the test period
(D) The operator shall notify the district office at
least five days prior to conducting any integrity test.
(E) A complete record of each integrity test shall
be filed in duplicate with the district office within 30 days after
testing is completed. The record shall include a chronology of the
test, copies of all downhole logs, storage well completion information,
pressure readings, volume measurements, temperature logs and readings,
and an explanation of the test results that addresses the precision
of the test in terms of a calculated leak rate.
(2) Alternative monitoring. An operator may request
the Commission or its designee to approve well pressure monitoring
as an alternative to integrity testing for storage wells that are
out of gas storage service. An out-of-service well shall be tested
for integrity by the nitrogen-interface method before it may be returned
to storage service.
(3) Storage wellhead and casing. Storage wellhead components
and casing shall be inspected at least once every 15 years for corrosion,
cracks, deformations, or other conditions that may compromise integrity
and that may not be detected by the five-year test. The operator may
request an extension of up to five years from the Commission for good
cause. Factors the Commission may consider in determining good cause
pursuant to this paragraph include by are not limited to the age,
location, and configuration of the well; well and facility history;
operator compliance record; operator efforts to comply with this subsection;
and accuracy of inventory control.
(4) Fresh water, brine, and gas surface piping. Within
one year of the effective date of this section, the operator shall
submit a piping integrity management plan for approval by the Commission
or its designee. Within three years of the effective date of this
section, or in conjunction with the storage well integrity testing,
all gas, freshwater, and brine surface piping shall be maintained
according to the facility's piping integrity management plan.
(1) Plug on abandonment. A gas storage well shall be
plugged upon permanent abandonment in a manner approved by the Commission
or its designee. A proposal for plugging shall be submitted to the
Commission in Austin for approval or modification prior to plugging.
Following approval of a plugging plan, the operator shall file notification
of intent to plug at least five days prior to commencement of plugging
operations. A plugging report shall be filed with the Commission within
30 days after plugging.