Skip to Content


Pipeline Safety: Request for Waiver; Freeport LNG

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble


Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).


Notice of Intent to Consider Waiver Request.


Freeport Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility requests a waiver of compliance from the regulation that requires every liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility constructed after March 31, 2000 to comply with the National Fire Protection Association's standard 59A (NFPA 59A), 2001 Edition.


Persons interested in submitting written comments on the waiver request described in this notice must do so by October 27, 2006. Late filed comments will be considered as far as practicable.


You may submit written comments by mailing or delivering an original and two copies to the Dockets Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. The Dockets Facility is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays when the facility is closed. Alternatively, you may submit written comments to the docket electronically at the following Web address: All written comments should identify the docket and notice number stated in the heading of this notice. Anyone who wants confirmation of mailed comments must include a self-addressed stamped postcard. To file written comments electronically, after logging on to, click on “Comment/Submissions.” You can also read comments and other material in the docket. General information about the Federal pipeline safety program is available at

Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (7019477) or you may visit

Start Further Info


James Reynolds by telephone at 202-366-2786, by fax at 202-366-4566, by mail at DOT, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), 400 7th Street, SW., Room 2103, Washington, DC 20590, or by e-mail at

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information



FLNG requested a waiver of compliance from the regulatory requirement at 49 CFR 193.2301. This regulation requires each LNG facility constructed after March 31, 2000, to comply with 49 CFR part 193 and paragraph 4.2.1 in NFPA 59A, 2001 Edition.

NFPA 59A requires that welded containers designed for not more than 15 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) comply with the Eighth Edition, 1990, of the American Petroleum Institute standard 620, Design and Construction of Large, Welded, Low-Pressure Storage Tanks (Appendix Q). The Eighth Edition of API 620 requires inspection according to Appendix Q, which calls for the full radiographic examination of all vertical and horizontal butt welds associated with the container.

FLNG is proposing to use the 2002 Tenth Edition, Addendum 1, of API 620. The Tenth Edition, Addendum 1, of API 620, allows for ultrasonic examination, instead of radiography, as an acceptable alternative to examining butt welds associated with the container. FLNG proposes to use ultrasonic examination which consists of full semi-automated and manual ultrasonic examination using shear wave probes. The examination also consists of a volumetric ultrasonic examination using a combination of creep wave probes and focused angled longitudinal wave probes.

FLNG asserts that ultrasonic examination has several advantages over radiographic examination, namely it:

  • Produces faster examination rates with equal reliability;
  • Yields higher weld productivity rates and overall lower project cost;
  • Employs a linear scanning process and allows both sides of the weld to be examined simultaneously;
  • Offers results reviewable by personnel both on-site and off-site;
  • Utilizes inspection data which can be stored, analyzed, and shared digitally; andStart Printed Page 56584
  • Improves weld inspection personnel safety.

For the reasons stated, FLNG is requesting a waiver from 49 CFR 193.2301 which requires compliance with 49 CFR part 193 and NFPA 59A. Moreover, FLNG is asking that it be allowed to use the ultrasonic examination method in the Tenth Edition, Addendum 1, of API 620 instead of the radiographic examination method in the Eighth Edition of API 620.

The NFPA 59A Technical Committee recently approved and recommended the acceptance of the 2002, Tenth Edition, Addendum 1 of API 620 with three limitations. PHMSA has only incorporated by reference the 2001 Edition of NFPA 59A, therefore a waiver is required for the 2006 Edition.

PHMSA will consider FLNG's waiver request and whether FLNG's proposal will yield an equivalent or greater degree of safety than that currently provided by the regulations.

This notice is PHMSA's only request for public comment before making a decision. After considering any comments received, PHMSA will make a determination to grant FLNG's waiver request as proposed or with modifications and conditions, or deny FLNG's request. If the waiver is granted and PHMSA subsequently determines that the effect of the waiver is inconsistent with pipeline safety, PHMSA may impose additional conditions on the operator or revoke the waiver at its sole discretion.

Start Signature

Issued in Washington, DC on September 19, 2006.

Theodore L. Willke,

Acting Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E6-15877 Filed 9-26-06; 8:45 am]