In July of 2015, the American Petroleum Institute (API) published Recommended Practice (RP) 1173 to address an industry need for Pipeline Safety Management Systems (PSMS). The motivation for the standard was an acknowledgment by pipeline transmission and distribution stakeholders that compliance with prescriptive regulations alone was not enough to satisfy their duty to protect public safety. As an industry collective, representatives came together to develop a more risk-centric and continuous learning-based model to elevate public safety to an organizational value, in the same way asset integrity and employee safety had been elevated in the past. The PSMS standard leverages proven methodologies from years of learning in quality and safety programs and applies these learnings in an elemental approach designed to address the uniqueness of the pipeline transportation industry and the inter-relationship pipelines and distribution networks have with the communities they serve.
The publishing of RP 1173 marked the completion of two years of regulator, operator, and stakeholder collaboration, including committee meetings, PHMSA workshops, revisions, balloting, and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) review. Since its publication in 2015, operators have stepped into their response to this voluntary standard in many ways, at varied paces, and with different stories to tell of their successes and ongoing challenges. This benchmark report does not attempt to identify “best practices” as there is no one solution that applies across the board to all organizations. Every company has a unique blend of assets, cultures, organizational structures, experience levels, and other variables that must be harmonized to define what is best for them.
The 2018 PSMS API RP 1173 Benchmark was commissioned by Mosaic—a national consulting firm that focuses on the utility and oil & gas industries—to provide insight into how companies are building and executing their Pipeline Safety Management Systems. 16 participating companies representing gas or combined utilities and pipeline operators consistently reported the following key findings related to their organizations’ responses to 1173.