FERC pledges to act quickly to expedite COVID-19 related requests from oil pipelines

Published on May 12, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) pledged to move quickly on certain waiver and tariff requests from oil pipelines to address unforeseen circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FERC said it will also act expeditiously on request for temporary waivers or time extensions to comply with certain FERC regulations, such as cost of service filing requirements, reporting requirements, record-keeping requirements, accounting regulations, and depreciation studies.

“As with earlier actions the Commission has taken to provide relief for regulated entities during this pandemic, we believe this is a necessary action for oil pipelines that may need to take temporary steps to ensure their ability to continue to provide service,” FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said.

Further, the commission will consider granting temporary waivers or extensions in some instances related to COVID-19, including an oil pipeline seeking temporarily to alter its routes or a request to reconfigure existing systems or change flow direction to provide shippers access to storage. It may also include non-jurisdictional pipelines that determine a need to provide movements temporarily into interstate commerce rather than intrastate commerce to respond quickly to market demand.

In addition, oil pipelines may request tariff waivers to become effective on less than 30-days’ notice. Requests submitted concurrently with tariff filings will be deemed conditionally granted, subject to refund. These filings also will be considered to be automatically issued after the 30-day notice period unless the request is denied.

FERC commends the industry’s efforts to adapt to these “unprecedented circumstances while continuing to uphold their common carrier duties under the Interstate Commerce Act.”