RRC to Open Comment Period on Draft Chapter 1 Amendments

By: Michael K. Reer

On March 17, 2017, the Texas Railroad Commission will open a public comment period on a proposal to simultaneously repeal and adopt several subchapters in 16 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 1. According to the RRC memorandum accompanying the rule proposal, RRC staff propose to repeal and replace Chapter 1 to reorganize and update certain rules in order to clarify current RRC practice and procedures and to reflect certain statutory changes. The changes to Chapter 1 will likely impact the procedure used in contested case proceedings in front of RRC hearing examiners.

The public comment period will be open from March 17, 2017 until May 1, 2017.
Thursday, March 09, 2017

Railroad Commission to Post Quarterly Enforcement Data

On February 16, 2017, the Texas Railroad Commission announced that the agency will be adding quarterly oil and gas enforcement data to its website. Beginning with the first quarter of 2017, the Commission will post summary data detailing the number of: (1) oil and gas facility inspections with no violation; (2) statewide oil and gas rule violations; (3) major statewide oil and gas rule violations; and (4) district-initiated severance/seal orders.

The Commission also announced on February 16 that it updated its definition of a “major” oil and gas violation. A major violation is now defined as “a safety or pollution-related violation that causes a significant impact to public safety or the environment, is accompanied by conditions that indicate a significant impact to public safety or the environment is imminent, or is the result of deliberate disregard of Commission rules and regulations related to public safety or environmental protection.” Commission staff will now report major violations at the time of discovery in the field rather than at the time of referral for penalty action.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Railroad Commission Statistics Point to Rebound

On February 10, 2017, the Texas Railroad Commission released its permits and completions statistics for January 2017. The RRC issued a total of 956 original drilling permits during January 2017, nearly double the number of original drilling permits issued during the same period last year. The Midland District was by far the most active with 350 drilling permits. The San Antonio and Refugio Districts each accounted for over 100 drilling permits as well.

The Railroad Commission also noted in its press release that according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the Texas rig count as of February 10, 2017 was 362, representing about 49% of all active rigs in the United States.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Railroad Commission Streamlines Oil and Gas Well Reporting

By:  Michael K. Reer

In January 2017, the Texas Railroad Commission announced that oil and natural gas producers may now file well log data electronically.  The Commission estimates that the new electronic filing system will save operators $362,000 annually and make well log data more easily accessible to the public.  The Commission also anticipates that the new electronic reporting system will save the state $105,000 and nearly 4,000 hours of staff time “by eliminating the need for staff to receive the paper copies of these well logs and convert them to electronic files.”

Friday, January 27, 2017

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