Regulatory Framework and Approval Criteria for Pipelines in Germany
Proceedings Publication Date
Klaus Söntgerath
Klaus Söntgerath
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In 2006 Germany had a demand of 120 billions m³ of natural gas and 113 millions t of mineral oil. Therefore Germany possesses a spacious pipeline net. Natural gas is transported and distributed in 380.000 km of pipelines. 1.900 km of crude oil pipelines were laid through the country.

The scope of this paper are pipelines for natural gas, fluids hazardous to water, other liquefied or not liquefied gases and chemicals as transport medium. Only pipelines that leave the area of a plant are included and by definition a pipeline includes all elements that are necessary for its operation.

The regulatory framework in Germany is consistent as a hierarchic system. On the first level stands an act, on second level an ordinance and on the third and lowest level one or more technical rules. The acts describe the situation in general. The most detailed regulations are given in the technical rules.

According to the length and the diameter of pipelines different kinds of approval procedures are in use. These are a notification process for short and small pipelines, a formal approval process and an approval process additional with public hearing and environmental impact assessment for the biggest projects. Permission can be granted if the project follows the ordinance and the technical rules, health and safety are protected, environmental and other legislation does not stand against the project, spatial planning is recognised and public and personal interests are proven. The approval authority can lay down measures to reach these goals. In the Notification Process the pipeline project is to notify to the authority at least 8 weeks before beginning of construction. The authority can refuse the plan if the pipeline does not meet the requirements of the Gas Pipeline Ordinance.
The operator is responsible for his pipeline and has to supervise and maintain it. The authority can require data of this supervision, inspect the plants, and make directions to meet requirements. Incident and accidents especially when they caused killed or injured people are to announce to the authority.

Additional pipelines were assessed by technical experts regularly or under defined circumstances e. g. before start of operation or by order of the authority. These experts are organised in technical expert organisations. The organisation or single experts are to certify by the authority. So Germany established a developed regulatory framework using different columns like approval procedures, operator responsibility, governmental control and technical experts.

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