US | PHMSA Authorizes the Transport of Liquefied Natural Gas by Rail

In the July 24, 2020 edition of the Federal Register, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in conjunction with the Department of Transportation (DOT) amended the Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR). The purpose of this rulemaking action is to allow for the bulk transport of Methane, refrigerated liquid, commonly known as liquefied natural gas (LNG), in rail tank cars. This rule change is effective August 24, 2020.

Executive Order 13868, issued April 10, 2019, directed the secretary of transportation to propose regulations that “treat LNG the same as other cryogenic liquids and permit LNG to be transported in approved rail tank cars.” This final rule authorizes the transportation of Methane, refrigerated liquid by rail in certain DOT specification 113 (DOT-113) rail tank cars. DOT-113 tank cars authorized for LNG service will be enhanced with a thicker steel outer tank with enhanced resistance to puncture. In addition, LNG authorized tank cars will require heightened operation controls including enhanced braking, remote monitoring, and route analysis.

Summary of Components of Final Rule

Final Rule ComponentsRequirements of Component
Approval of LNG
Permitted Nationwide.
Remote MonitoringRequired as a Special Provision for LNG.
Maximum Start to Discharge Pressure75 psig
Maximum Pressure when Offered for Transportation15 psig
Design Service Temperature
Minus 260 °F
Maximum Permitted Filling Density (percent by weight)37.3%
When is a two-way end-of-train (EOT) or a distributed power (DP) system required
Required when a train is transporting 20 or more loaded tank cars of LNG in a continuous block or 35 or more loaded tank cars of LNG throughout the train.
Route ControlsMust comply with 172.820
Minimum Wall Thickness of the Outer Tank Shell and the Outer Tank HeadsShell and Tank Head: Enhanced 9/16″.
Required Outer Tank Steel Type(s)AAR TC 128, Grade B normalized steel plate.

 


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