LNG and You!
That is exactly what you might be saying if your one of the many companies or entities looking to ship Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in bulk, by rail. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to do just that. They are proposing changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to allow for the bulk transport of Methane, refrigerated liquid, commonly known as liquefied natural gas, in rail tank cars.
Historically, LNG has been transported by highway and vessel within the US. With its ever-increasing demand as an energy source, the 21st century saw a boom. Between 2010 and 2018, the number of LNG facilities rose by 28.7 percent. While total storage and vaporization capacities increased respectively by 21 percent and 23 percent. During this same time, the total liquid capacity increased by 939 percent due to new LNG export terminals. I think itâ€™s quite evident why PHMSA has chosen to respond now. This data represents the greater demand for flexibility in modes of transportation of LNG. This is again supported by PHMSAâ€™s receipt of petition for rulemaking (P-1697) from the AAR and special permit request to ship LNG in DOT specification 113C120W tank cars.
So, what exactly does this proposed rulemaking entail? It would mean:
- An update to 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) entry for UN1972 to add reference to Methane, refrigerated liquid in section 173.319 Column (8C)
- Amend 49CFR 173.319 – to include specific requirements for DOT-113 cars used for LNG.
- (d)(2) Amend Pressure Control Valve Setting or Relief Valve Setting table to specify settings for methane in DOT-113C120W tank cars.
- (d)(2) Amend maximum filling densities comparable to those specified for cargo tanks containing LNG in 173.318(f)(3)
Like all NPRM, the deadline for comments is December 23, 2019. For a full review of the NPRM and all its idiosyncrasies you can find it HERE,
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