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PHMSA to hold pipeline safety meeting with its VIS Working Group

Published by
World Pipelines,

On 23 November, the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced it will hold a meeting of the pipeline safety Voluntary Information-Sharing System (VIS) Working Group on 19 December 2016 in the Washington, D.C. area.

The meeting will be open to the public and will be the VIS Working Group’s first meeting once the member appointment process is complete.

The VIS Working Group is a newly created advisory committee that will provide the Secretary of Transportation with independent advice and recommendations relating to pipeline safety, specifically on 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.

“The new VIS Working Group is not just about sharing data; it’s about collaborating across industry and government to reach the next level of pipeline safety,” said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. “Arming operators with a structure to share data and best practices to inform their safety regimes is a priority for pipeline safety and this group will be critical in developing those recommendations.”

As described in the Federal Register notice, the VIS Working Group will discuss collaborative efforts to improve pipeline inspection information sharing. The group will be asked to develop recommendations on how best to establish a voluntary information-sharing system to share and protect pipeline safety and inspection related data.

Specifically, PHMSA is seeking recommendations on how best to:

  • Identify the need for a system to confidentially share pipeline dig verification data with inline inspection (ILI) 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 ILI 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.

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