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PHMSA appoints 24 members to its pipeline VIS working group

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World Pipelines,

The US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has announced the appointment of 24 members to the New Pipeline Safety Voluntary Information-Sharing System (VIS) Working Group.

The VIS Working Group is a newly created advisory committee that will provide the secretary of transportation with advice and recommendations related to pipeline safety, including whether an information-sharing system for pipeline owners and operators is needed, ways to encourage the exchange of pipeline inspection information, and best practices for protecting proprietary and security-sensitive information.

“This is an important step to enhancing safety and making it easier to share best practices,” said US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx. “The new VIS Working Group will not only utilise the expertise of the pipeline industry, but it will encourage collaboration in the way information is used and exchanged regarding pipeline assets and activities to impact safety.”

The final appointments for the VIS Working Group were made on 15 December by Foxx, based on the requirements in the 8 November Federal Register notice requesting nominations.

The members of the VIS Working Group can be seen here.

The VIS Working Group will discuss collaborative efforts to improve pipeline inspection information sharing. The group will develop recommendations on how to best establish a voluntary information-sharing system to exchange and protect pipeline safety and inspection-related data.

“Voluntary information sharing is a critical next step in achieving a greater safety threshold in the pipeline industry,” said PHMSA Administrator, Marie Therese Dominguez. “Today’s appointments by Secretary Foxx task a diverse and robust group of experts with providing critical recommendations in how we can use and share data to further improve pipeline safety.”

Specifically, the VIS Working Group will offer recommendations on the best ways to:

  • Identify the need for a system to confidentially share pipeline dig verification data with in-line inspection operators.
  • Encourage the sharing of pipeline inspection information and the development of advanced pipeline inspection technologies.
  • Share data to increase knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the varying types of in-line inspection technologies.
  • Create a secure system that protects proprietary information while also encouraging information sharing and the development of advanced pipeline inspection technologies.
  • Protect safety- and security-sensitive information, as well as proprietary information.
  • Determine associated regulatory, funding, and legal issues.

The VIS Working Group’s recommendations will be published on PHMSA’s website.

The VIS Working Group will convene its first meeting on 19 December 2016, at the Hilton Arlington, located at 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22203. This meeting will take place from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and is open to the public.

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