Pipeline Permitting and Mapping

Who needs a T-4 Pipeline Permit?

All operators of a pipeline or gathering system are required to have a valid T-4 Pipeline Permit, with the exception of operators of production or flowlines or those excluded under Rule 16 TAC §8.1(b)(4). Operators must obtain a T-4 Pipeline Permit, which must be renewed annually, before operating a pipeline. Find out about these requirements in the Railroad Commission’s (RRC) Rules 16 TAC §3.70.

Why do I need a P-5 Organization Report?

Before a T-4 Pipeline Permit is filed, the operator needs to have an approved P-5 Organization Report. A P-5 Organization Report and financial security (bond, letter of credit, cash deposit and, in the case of wells, a well-specific plugging insurance policy) are required of all companies performing operations under the jurisdiction of the Commission, including pipeline companies, with the exception of gas distribution pipelines which are not required to provide financial security.

What does a T-4 Pipeline Permit consist of?

A T-4 Pipeline Permit collects a variety of information including: who is operating the pipeline; where the pipeline is located (the counties, mileage, offshore or onshore); how the pipeline will be operated (gas utility, common carrier or private pipeline); and the pipeline characteristics which are located in A Guide to Shapefile Submissions.

What do I do if I need a T-4 Pipeline Permit?

Each operator shall file for a T-4 Pipeline Permit through the Pipeline Online Permitting System (POPS) via the RRC Online System. Please refer to Texas RRC – Instructions for Filing a Form T-4 Online for assistance when filing.

I don’t have an account in POPS. What do I need to do?

Print and complete the Security Administrator Designation (SAD) form, then scan and email the completed form to the Commission at rrconline-security@rrc.texas.gov. When the SAD form is processed, the designated security administrator will receive a User ID and a temporary password for logging into the RRC Online System. After changing the password, the designated security administrator can create User IDs for anyone within your company. The designated security administrator will also be able to assign certain electronic filing rights to User IDs and perform account maintenance as needed.

What documentation do I need to provide when filing a T-4 Pipeline Permit in POPS?

The documentation needed will vary depending on what changes are being made to the T-4 Pipeline Permit. You can find a reference guide to determine the required documents for your T-4 Pipeline Permit by reviewing the Pipeline Permitting Guidance for Required T-4 Documentation Sheet.

I already made a payment for a fee. Why does POPS still say I need to pay a fee?

There are two separate fees related to T-4 Pipeline Permits: the Annual Mileage Fee and the Pipeline Renewal Fee. The Annual Mileage Fee is due April 1st, and the Pipeline Renewal Fee is due at your company’s renewal month. Refer to the Pipeline Fees on the Commission’s website for more information.

I sold the entire system that was on a T-4 Pipeline Permit. What do I need to do in POPS?

You need to file a Divesting Transfer and select Full when prompted in POPS. You must provide a cover letter explaining the transfer and a completed Pipeline Transfer Certification (T-4B) signed by both the divesting and acquiring parties. Although not required, an overview map should be attached to help confirm the transfer. Do notattach a shapefile, as the existing mapping will be transferred to the Acquiring Operator once the Divesting Operator submits the divesting transfer. Please refer to POPS User Guide for more details about Transfer Filings.

I sold part (but not all) of a system that was on a T-4 Pipeline Permit. What do I need to do in POPS?

You need to file a Divesting Transfer and select Partial when prompted in POPS. You must provide a cover letter explaining the transfer and a completed Pipeline Transfer Certification (T-4B) signed by both the divesting and acquiring parties. An overview map and shapefile showing the entire system, including the pipeline to be transferred to an Acquiring Operator, are requiredto complete the transfer. Please refer to POPS User Guide for more details about Transfer Filings.

I bought an entire pipeline system from an operator who had previously obtained a T-4 Pipeline Permit for the system. What do I need to do in POPS?

You need to amend the T-4 Pipeline Permit in POPS. Be sure to enter the transfer information in POPS before you proceed to attach a cover letter explaining the transfer, and a signed and completed Pipeline Transfer Certification (T-4B). Although not required, an overview map should be attached to confirm the transfer. Do not attach a shapefile as the existing mapping is already transferred from the Divesting Operator after they complete their transfer in POPS. Please refer to POPS User Guide for more details about Transfer Filings.

I bought part (but not all) of a pipeline from an Operator who had previously obtained a T-4 Pipeline Permit for the system. What do I need to do in POPS?

You need to amend the T-4 Pipeline Permit in POPS. Be sure to enter the transfer information in POPS before you proceed to attach a cover letter explaining the transfer and a signed and completed Pipeline Transfer Certification (T-4B). An overview map and shapefile showing the entire pipeline system, including the transferred pipeline(s), are required to complete the transfer. Please refer to POPS User Guide for more details about Transfer Filings.

I want to consolidate my T-4 Pipeline Permits so I can pay my Permit Renewal Fee only once. Can I do that?

Yes, you may. Please consider several factors that determine when you cannot consolidate your T-4 Pipeline Permits:

  1. You cannot combine gas and any liquid T-4 Pipeline Permits because all Gas T-4 Pipeline Permits are reviewed by the Gas Services Department at the Commission and are defined in Title 49 CFR Part 191/192, while all liquid T-4 Pipeline Permits are not reviewed by the Gas Services Department and are defined in Title 49 CFR Part 195.
  2. You cannot consolidate T-4 Pipeline Permits that have both Private Pipeline and any Common Carrier (liquid) or Gas Utility (gas) Pipelines because Common Carrier and Gas Utilities operate under a different business model than private companies. Private companies cannot use condemnation and are not obligated to transport for others. Operators of Common Carrier and Gas Utility Pipelines can use condemnation if they choose, but they must file a tariff and allow others to use their lines for a fee.

  3. You cannot consolidate T-4 Pipeline Permits that are under different Economic Operators because each Economic Operator must be evaluated independently for their Common Carrier and Gas Utility status.

  4. You cannot consolidate T-4 Pipeline Permits if the Pipeline Owner is different from the Pipeline Operator.

  5. You cannot consolidate Interstate and Intrastate T-4 Pipeline Permits because Interstate Pipelines are under the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration’s (PHMSA) jurisdiction. Intrastate pipelines fall under the Railroad Commission’s jurisdiction.

Is a shapefile required for every T-4 Pipeline Permit submission?

No, a shapefile is not always required. Please refer to Pipeline Permitting Guidance for Required T-4 Documentation Sheet for more information on what is required for each submission in POPS and refer to A Guide to Shapefile Submissions for shapefile requirements.

I’m required to attach a shapefile when I amend the T-4 Pipeline Permit through POPS, but I don’t have a shapefile. What should I do?

You may send an email to tpms@rrc.texas.gov requesting your shapefile. Be sure to include your T-4 Pipeline Permit number(s) in the email.

I got a shapefile from the Commission. Can I use them when submitting T-4 Pipeline Permits in POPS?

Yes. However, before you attach a shapefile in POPS, you need to make some changes. Please refer to A Guide to Shapefile Submissions for guidance on all of these steps:

 

  1. The Commission has prepared your shapefile in response to your shapefile requests via email. Location Designation (LOC_DES) and T-4 Amendment Code (T4_AMD) are two pre-populated fields in shapefile that you are required to fill in before you file an amendment in POPS. Please refer to A Guide to Shapefile Submissions for guidance on what values to input into the two pre-populated fields.

  2. If your shapefile contains pipelines that are crude oil gathering and are between 6 to 8 inches in diameter, you are required to create two additional fields that represents Unusually Sensitive Area (USA) and Specified Minimum Yield Strength (SMYS), and fill them in with appropriate values, according to A Guide to Shapefile Submissions.

I don’t have GIS software. How can I prepare the shapefile for my next T-4 Pipeline Permit?

You may hire a mapper from our Vendor List to prepare the shapefile for you. Additionally, if you want to use GIS on your own but you don’t have a paid license, you can use QGIS, a free open-source GIS Software application. It is available for download at: Download QGIS.

My T-4 Pipeline Permit has been rejected. What do I do with the rejection notice?

Review the Rejection Notice attached in your registered email for an explanation of the rejection. If additional information is needed, please contact the Pipeline Permitting Section by phone at 512-463-6802, or by email at pops@rrc.texas.gov.

Why is the mileage on the T-4 Approval Letter (T-4A) different from the mileage I submitted on the cover letter?

The mileage is calculated directly from the geometry in your shapefile using the Projected Coordinate System (PCS) Texas Statewide Mapping System. We accept only minor discrepancies between the cover letter and the shapefile mileage. The mileage on T-4A is what will be used to calculate your Annual Mileage Fee.

I submitted my T-4 Pipeline Permit in POPS. How long will it take for my application to be approved or denied?

After an application for a T-4 Pipeline Permit is submitted in POPS, the Commission has 30 calendar days to issue, amend or deny the T-4 Pipeline Permit as defined in Rule 16 TAC §3.70(d).