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Natural Gas Pipeline FAQ

Natural Gas Pipeline FAQ

Why are there increasing numbers of pipelines in Ohio?
Natural gas exploration and production has surged in the last few years as energy companies explore and produce within the Utica and Marcellus Shale natural gas formations.  Natural gas is transported from the site of production to a refinery, and also to its end destination of consumption, by pipeline.

Who regulates the siting of pipelines?
The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) certificates intrastate gas pipelines within the state of Ohio that are greater than 500 feet in length and 9 inches in diameter and designed with a Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure of greater than 125 psi. However, the OPSB does not have jurisdiction over production lines, gathering lines or liquid lines. Production lines are under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Gathering lines and liquid lines fall under local zoning jurisdiction. Interstate lines fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

What is a gathering pipeline?
For Power Siting purposes, a gathering line is any pipeline upstream from a processing facility, any line carrying gas from a processing facility to a fractionation plant and any line carrying natural gas from a processing plant to an interstate or intrastate pipeline.  

What is a liquids pipeline?
For Power Siting purposes, liquids are defined as an individual finished product produced by a natural gas liquids fractionation plant and generally include ethane, propane, butanes and natural gasoline pipelines.

Who regulates the siting of compressor stations, processing facilities, and fractionation plants?
Compressor stations may fall under the jurisdiction of certified local building departments, where applicable.  Processing facilities and liquid fractionation plants, however, are not under the jurisdiction of local building departments. 

Does the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) have a role in siting regulation?
The ODNR has jurisdiction over production operation facilities on the well head site which includes the siting of production pipelines. 

Is there any further oversight once the pipelines are operational? 
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) regulates the safety aspects of most gas pipelines, including  gathering lines, located within the state of Ohio. Pipeline operators must notify the PUCO before constructing new gas pipelines and again before placing these lines into service. The PUCO Pipeline Safety Section monitors the construction of these lines and conducts routine inspections and audits once the lines are placed in service.  The only exceptions to PUCO safety jurisdiction are production lines, which are regulated by ODNR, and liquids and interstate lines which are regulated by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration (PHMSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Where can I find more information?

  • Ohio Senate Bill 315, passed on June 11, 2012, established a new regulatory framework for overseeing Ohio’s oil and gas industry.

  • Information about the PUCO and its role in pipeline safety may be found at: www.puco.ohio.gov.

  • Information on the Utica Shale play and the ODNR Oil & Gas Division may be found at: http://www.ohiodnr.com.

Ohio Gas Infrastructure Jurisdiction

Project Type

Siting Jurisdiction

Safety Jurisdiction

Natural gas distribution/transmission (intrastate)*

Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB)

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)

Natural gas transmission (interstate)

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

Production lines

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)

ODNR

Gathering lines

Local zoning authorities

PUCO

Liquids lines

Local zoning authorities

PHMSA

Wellhead

ODNR

ODNR

Compressor stations

Certified local building departments

Certified local building departments

Processing facilities and Fractionation plants

Local zoning authorities

Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Industrial Compliance

*OPSB jurisdiction is limited to intrastate lines greater than 500 feet in length and 9 inches in diameter with a Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure of greater than 125 psi.

Contact Information

  • Ohio Power Siting Board, 180 East Broad Street, Columbus OH 43215-3793, (866) 270-6772; contactOPSB@puc.state.oh.us

  • Public Utilities Commission, 180 East Broad Street, Columbus OH 43215-3793, (800) 686-7826; contactThePUCO@puc.state.oh.us

  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Oil & Gas Division, 2045 Morse Road, Building F-2, Columbus, OH 43229-6693, (614) 265-6922

  • U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Central Region Office, 901 Locust Street, Suite 462, Kansas City, MO 64106, (816) 329-3800

  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426, (866) 208-3372., www.ferc.gov.

Natural Gas Infrastructure