RRC Rule for Minimum Weatherization Requirements of “Gas Supply Chain Facilities” and “Pipeline Facilities”
Weatherization of “Gas Supply Chain Facilities” and “Pipeline Facilities”
If you operate a gas supply chain facility that is (1) included on the electricity supply chain map (once published); and (2) designated as critical by the RRC pursuant to Nat. Res. Code § 81.073 and 16 TAC § 3.65, you may be subject to a future RRC rule establishing minimum weatherization requirements. Specifically, Senate Bill 3 requires the RRC to establish rules that (a) require operators of gas supply chain facilities “to be prepared to operate during a weather emergency,” and (b) establish “measures a gas pipeline facility operator must implement to prepare the gas pipeline facility to maintain service quality and reliability during extreme weather conditions.”
A gas supply chain facility is a facility that is:
- used for producing, treating, processing, pressurizing, storing, or transporting natural gas;
- not primarily used to support liquefied natural gas pretreatment, liquefaction, or regasification facilities in the business of exporting or importing liquefied natural gas to or from foreign countries;
- otherwise regulated by the RRC; and
- not a regulated gas utility under Chapter 121, Tex. Util. Code.
The weatherization rules will also apply to a gas pipeline facility that:
- directly serves a natural gas electric generation facility operating solely to provide power to the electric grid for the ERCOT power region or for the ERCOT power region and an adjacent power region; and
- is included on the electricity supply chain map
Enforcement: Senate Bill 3 gives the RRC the power to enforce its new weatherization rules in coordination with the Texas Attorney General’s office. The RRC will report instances of non-compliance to the Texas Attorney General, who will initiate suit to recover penalties based upon a violation classification system to be adopted and published by the RRC.
Timing for Adoption: Senate Bill 3 requires the RRC to adopt its weatherization rules within six months of the completion of an “electricity supply chain map” being created by the newly-established Texas Electric Supply Chain Security and Mapping Committee. That electric supply chain map must be published no later than September 1, 2022. Consequently, we anticipate that the RRC’s weatherization rule will be implemented in the first quarter of 2023.
In advance of those weatherization rules , the RRC has issued a guidance document on best practices for Winter 2021-2022 preparations: 2021_nto_cid_updated-winterization-best-practices_comms_12-9-2021.pdf (texas.gov)
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