Nerc compliance is very important to the operators of pipeline and storage facilities. Each year, millions of incidents result in thousands of oil platforms and storage facility accidents that claim the lives of workers and permanently damage infrastructure. These incidents are not preventable by law, but they can be prevented by companies using quality Assurance programs and NICE certification. Operators who don’t comply with federal and state safety and environmental statutes and regulations run the risk of being sanctioned and/or sued. As a result, workers and employers lose time, money and in some cases their jobs. For these reasons, everyone involved in the oil and gas industry should become educated about federal and state safety and environmental laws and understand the necessity for Nerc compliance.
Most offshore oil and gas companies to follow good safety and environmental practices, but there are still thousands of operations that either don’t follow good safety and environmental practices, or don’t have adequate Nerc approval to safely operate onshore. When an operator fails to meet federal or state standards, he or she may lose business or experience liability lawsuits. Fortunately, there are several organizations that work to make Nerc compliance not only a top priority but necessary.
One such organization is the National Association of Security Engineers (NASEE). NASEE works to promote higher standards including real-time NDE, compliance analysis, and response capability testing in all environments, including offshore, onshore and subsurface. In order to be considered NDE eligible, operations must meet certain criteria, including accurate and consistent sampling, record keeping and reporting, notification as well as corrosion and impact analyses. Standards like NDE requires field engineers and supervisors to perform NDE assessments as a matter of routine. All field personnel involved in oil and gas operations, including pipeline and storage operators, must also perform a test of their own NDE capability.
Another NDT organization is ANSI. Its mission is to set international quality standards for all engineers and other professionals involved in the design, construction and maintenance of the infrastructures themselves. Standards like ANSI-SAFE are also enforced by all governmental regulatory agencies. For example, Gulf Coast Pipeline Company is required to undergo a continuous assessment of its corrosion ability along with penetration testing as part of its NDE certification.
The last, but certainly not least important NDE organization is ISO. The International Standards for Emergency Response (ASR) and the Underwriter’s Certificate (UC) both utilize NDE criteria as a standard when evaluating facilities for compliance. The Underwriter’s Certificate requires facilities to meet minimum levels of bed liner thickness as well as wear and tearability, while the ASR requires facilities to document the frequency and severity of system outages in an effort to reduce the chance that an outage will occur. Both the ASR and the UC provide NDE certification for companies that want to achieve these same certifications. Facilities in the United States are expected to meet the ASR criteria, which include a minimal facility layout, emergency system specifications, and testing requirements.
Compliance with NDE and ISO standards helps ensure the reliability and safety of our nation’s infrastructure. Ongoing monitoring and evaluations help us keep track of our progress towards meeting these goals. In addition, NDE ensures that a well-built power system provides reliable power as it enters and leaves the facility. Similarly, ISO ensures that the materials used in building our infrastructure contribute to the health and safety of those who use them. As a nation, our dependence on foreign oil has led to serious concerns about the environmental impacts of oil consumption in the United States.
Compliance with NDE and ISO standards allows operators to take a proactive stance against the potential hazards of oil tankers and other ocean shipping vessels. While the majority of operators are capable of meeting these standards, it is up to each individual vessel operator to determine whether or not the equipment on board meets these stringent standards. Vessel operators that fail to comply with these NDE and ISO standards are subject to fines from their respective companies.
NDE and ISO certification programs are designed to help ensure that our nation’s critical infrastructure continues to be protected. These organizations have been accredited by the Navy Federal Credit Union (FCU), which has more than two hundred member companies located in all parts of the country. When selecting an NDE provider, it is important that a company demonstrates its commitment to these stringent standards. As a nation, it is imperative that we work together to protect our infrastructure so that it can continue to serve us properly. NDE and ISO certification of our nation’s bulk electricity and communications systems to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect our infrastructure from further threats.