Pipeline Operators Get Compliance Mailings Flowing

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A database and direct mail program developed by a team of direct marketing companies is making it easier for petroleum and gas pipeline operators to meet new compliance standards set by the American Petroleum Institute.

The standards, called Recommended Practice 1162, were developed by the institute and require operators to periodically alert individuals, businesses and organizations such as schools, churches, hospitals and prisons that reside within a certain number of feet of a gas pipeline.

Pipeline operators must contact all groups within the mandated distances of a pipeline by the end of 2004. First, however, they needed a way to identify properties within the specified distances and to generate mailings to these locations.

American Clearinghouse -- a data mapping, database marketing and list company -- General Electric and Mailnet Services Inc. joined to develop an online program that includes the tools pipeline operators need to complete a public awareness campaign, including documentation of compliance.

American Clearinghouse provides targeted lists of potentially affected residents and businesses by digitally populating databases using its proprietary mapping technology.

GE helps develop creative and helps pipeline operators get printing discounts. Mailnet provides a Web-based direct marketing management system with predesigned mail pieces accessed through MailnetExpress, an Internet-based service for creating direct mail campaigns.

To use the program, pipeline operators contact Mailnet Express at www.mailnetexpress.com to set up their creative selections and stakeholder lists, based on their pipeline coordinates. Then they choose the type of direct mail piece from the secure creative library, and send it out.

The solution lets pipeline operators "make a phone call or click the mouse to prove to the Office of Pipeline Safety that they are in compliance," said Jay Buford, chief sales officer at Mailnet. "They can show where they did the mailing, the date of the mailing, the database it went to and actually the creative piece that was mailed."

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