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Agency News Items - 2020

December

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics

    For October 2020
    December 28, 2020

    AUSTIN – Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas for October 2020 came from 168,616 oil wells and 84,760 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from November 2019 to October 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 10.4 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s Monthly Oil & Gas Production web page.

    TABLE 1: October 2020 Statewide Production*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    110,160,959 BBLS (barrels)

    3,553,579 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    772,887,844 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    24,931,866 mcf

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.

    TABLE 2: October 2019 Statewide Production

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    140,505,709 BBLS

    4,532,442 BBLS

    101,675,921 BBLS

    3,279,868 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    924,980,138 mcf

    29,838,069 mcf

    665,716,589 mcf

    21,474,729 mcf

     

    TABLE 3: October 2020 Texas Top 10 Crude Oil Producing Counties Ranked by Preliminary Production

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     1

    MIDLAND

    14,557,494

     2

    MARTIN

    10,961,703

     3

    REEVES

    7,341,768

     4

    KARNES

    7,225,072

     5

    HOWARD

    6,384,561

     6

    UPTON

    6,167,464

     7

    LOVING

    4,972,181

     8

    LA SALLE

    3,757,565

     9

    WARD

    3,605,190

     10

    GLASSCOCK

    3,424,477

     

    TABLE 4: October 2020 Texas Top 10 Total Gas (Gas Well Gas & Casinghead) Producing Counties Ranked by Preliminary Production

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     1

    REEVES

    82,395,587

     2

    MIDLAND

    53,262,101

     3

    WEBB

    44,904,801

     4

    PANOLA

    37,404,494

     5

    CULBERSON

    33,907,984

     6

    LOVING

    31,858,400

     7

    TARRANT

    28,962,664

     8

    MARTIN

    24,793,056

     9

    UPTON

    24,294,052

     10

    KARNES

    23,919,698

     

    TABLE 5: October 2020 Texas Top 10 Total Condensate Producing Counties Ranked by Preliminary Production

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     1

    REEVES

    5,981,049

     2

    LOVING

    3,191,891

     3

    CULBERSON

    2,932,425

     4

    DE WITT

    1,501,559

     5

    KARNES

    824,744

     6

    WEBB

    757,451

     7

    DIMMIT

    517,139

     8

    MCMULLEN

    308,637

     9

    LIVE OAK

    294,241

     10

    WARD

    192,775

  • Christian: Congress Should Stop Playing Politics with Covid-19 Relief

    December 22, 2020

    AUSTIN – Commissioner Wayne Christian issued the statement below in response to Congress tying much needed COVID-19 relief to the end-of-the year omnibus spending bill:

    It is unconscionable for Nancy Pelosi and leaders in Congress to hold COVID -19 relief hostage in order to fund their pet projects and give special interests everything on their wish list for Christmas.

    Because of COVID-19 and government-mandated closures, millions of Americans are suffering this holiday season. Instead of doing the right thing and working together in a bipartisan manner to pass a clean relief package, Congress tied pandemic relief to a wasteful spending bill that funds the pet projects of every special interest group in Washington, D.C.

    Representatives and senators (and their staff) were given six hours to read the 5,600 page legislation before they were expected to vote. They were never expected to read it. No, they were simply expected to step in line to avoid being shamed for voting against relief for their constituents.

    All of the money in this bill could have been used to support small businesses and get Americans back on their feet. Instead, we are sending $700 million to Sudan and instructing the Smithsonian to build two new museums.

    The legislation also includes what climate alarmists are calling a “down payment on climate change action” by spending $35 billion on additional energy subsidies for already heavily subsidized forms of energy like wind and solar. How heavily subsidized? When looking at federal taxpayer subsidies per unit of electricity generated between 2010 and 2019, oil and natural gas received 39 cents for every $82.46 that solar received, and every $18.86 that wind received.

    Whether you support these subsidies or not, now is not the time to increase them. It is estimated that almost 22 million Americans are unemployed; we could have helped them instead of propping up inefficient forms of energy. For context, $35 billion is enough money to provide 58.3 million Americans with an additional $600 stimulus check.


    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June 2019, Christian was elected by his fellow commissioners to lead the agency as Chairman, a position he held until September 2020. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren.

  • Despite Pandemic, Railroad Commission Has Strong 2020

    Agency Highlights Accomplishments in Year in Review Publication
    December 17, 2020

    AUSTIN – When the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world in 2020, the Railroad Commission of Texas took special measures to protect the health of its employees while undertaking initiatives to seamlessly continue operations for its critical mission to protect public safety and the environment.

    In its annual Year in Review publication, the story of the pandemic and the Railroad Commission is told. And, spoiler alert, the agency has improved in many meaningful ways in 2020 that will expand the agency’s valuable contribution to Texas.

    The Year in Review has in-depth features on how the agency sped up efforts to provide online training; its new CASES portal, which allows people with cases before the RRC to electronically submit paperwork and for the public to view them; the drone program, which allows inspectors to quickly respond to emergencies; the digitization of many of its historic records; and much more.

    The RRC staff’s hard work also paid off as the agency exceeded several key legislative performance goals even in the midst of a pandemic.

    All the highlights are in the Year in Review, which can be found via this link.

  • RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $592,000 in Penalties

    December 09, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $592,087 in fines involving 115 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on Dec. 8. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Twenty-five dockets involved $311,747 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings.  Details on these Master Default Orders can be found here on the RRC website.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $84,040 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $196,300 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules.  Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Railroad Commission Updates Alternative Fuels Forms in Order to Allow for Electronic Signatures

    December 04, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission has finalized more than 40 alternative fuels forms to allow operators to use electronic signatures.

    The revised forms are part of an agencywide effort to modernize its operations in a digital work climate.

    Electronic signatures now have the same force as and are considered equal to an original signature.

    “It’s about customer service,” said April Richardson, Director of Alternative Fuels Safety. “Being able to function digitally allows us to better serve our regulated community. It allows operators to conduct business quickly no matter where they are located.”

    That is also advantageous during unique situations, such as the current pandemic, when workplace access may be restricted.

    The new signatures simplify how companies do business with the Railroad Commission. The agency had previously allowed forms to be submitted electronically, but the forms had to be first printed, signed with a pen, and then scanned in before being sent via email.

    The change allows operators to electronically sign forms with whatever computer program that they are using to fill out the forms, such as DocuSign, Adobe Reader, Adobe Professional, or Preview on Macs.

    To view and download alternative fuel safety forms, visit the RRC website's Alternative Fuels Forms page

     

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for November 2020

    December 03, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 382 original drilling permits in November 2020 compared to 958 in November 2019. The November 2020 total includes 321 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, three to re-enter plugged well bores, and 36 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in November 2020 is 102 oil, 36 gas, 226 oil or gas, nine injection, and nine other permits.

    In November 2020, Commission staff processed 537 oil, 98 gas and 127 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 711 oil, 117 gas, and 38 injection completions in November 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 13,573 compared to 8,629 recorded during the same period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report. These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page

     

    TABLE 1  NOVEMBER 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS New DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT

    PERMITS TO DRILL NEW OIL/GAS HOLES

    NEW OIL COMPLETIONS

    NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    32

    77

    3

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    39

    34

    11

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    14

    10

    2

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    11

    1

    0

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    2

    3

    0

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    10

    3

    11

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    8

    8

    0

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    47

    40

    0

    (8) MIDLAND

    139

    323

    51

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    6

    3

    0

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    9

    3

    2

    (10) PANHANDLE

    4

    0

    1

    TOTAL

    321

    505

    81

    * A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas here.

     

November

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for September 2020

    November 30, 2020

    AUSTIN – Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas for September 2020 came from 168,740 oil wells and 84,707 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from October 2019 to September 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 10.4 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas county by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s Monthly Oil & Gas Production web page.

    TABLE 1 - SEPTEMBER 2020 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    104,320,582 BBLS (barrels)

    3,477,353 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    744,787,914 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    24,826,264 mcf

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.

     

    TABLE 2 - SEPTEMBER 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    133,492,234 BBLS

    4,449,741 BBLS

    96,971,841 BBLS

    3,232,395 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    895,597,169 mcf

    29,853,239 mcf

    702,422,497 mcf

    23,414,083 mcf

     

    TABLE 3  SEPTEMBER 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     1

    MIDLAND

    13,922,884

     2

    MARTIN

    9,687,753

     3

    REEVES

    7,230,594

     4

    HOWARD

    6,289,964

     5

    UPTON

    6,079,039

     6

    KARNES

    5,924,566

     7

    LOVING

    4,556,205

     8

    GLASSCOCK

    3,591,954

     9

    WARD

    3,499,466

     10

    REAGAN

    3,204,318

     

    TABLE 4 – SEPTEMBER 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     1

    REEVES

    83,556,497

     2

    WEBB

    47,071,351

     3

    MIDLAND

    47,045,022

     4

    CULBERSON

    32,943,400

     5

    PANOLA

    32,690,748

     6

    LOVING

    29,686,886

     7

    TARRANT

    25,866,086

     8

    REAGAN

    24,514,888

     9

    UPTON

    22,773,895

     10

    KARNES

    22,627,414

     
     

    TABLE 5 – SEPTEMBER 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     1

    REEVES

    5,720,042

     2

    CULBERSON

    3,053,086

     3

    LOVING

    2,913,001

     4

    DE WITT

    1,520,844

     5

    KARNES

    796,903

     6

    WEBB

    692,583

     7

    WARD

    345,409

     8

    DIMMIT

    321,291

     9

    LIVE OAK

    308,553

     10

    MCMULLEN

    201,634

  • RRC Commissioner Wayne Christian Selected as Vice Chairman of Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission

    November 16, 2020

    AUSTIN – Over the last couple weeks, Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian participated in the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) virtual annual meeting. At the meeting, Christian was selected to be Vice Chairman of the Commission, serving under Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.

    “I am honored to enter this new leadership role for our nation’s oldest and most respected energy compact commission,” said Christian. “I look forward to using my role to advocate on behalf of consumers and oil and gas industry that face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19 and unjustified political attacks.”

    “We have the reserves. We have the technology. We have the long-term demand,” continued Christian. “From the so-called Green New Deal to the Environmental, Social and Governance investment movement, the oil and gas industry’s primary issues are almost entirely political.”

    Christian wasn’t the only person from the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) with a leadership role in IOGCC’s annual convention. Christian’s Chief of Staff, Travis McCormick, hosted guest speaker Alex Epstein (New York Times bestselling author of the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels) as Chairman of the Public Outreach Committee. RRC Chief Geologist, Leslie Savage, hosted guest speaker Ivan Wong (Senior Principal Seismologist, Lettis Consultants International) as Chairman of the Environment and Safety Committee.

    At the meeting, Nancy Johnson with the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of a new report titled, “U.S. Oil and Natural Gas: Providing Energy Security and Supporting Our Quality of Life.” Johnson credited Commissioner Christian as one of the impetuses behind the decision to draft the report. The DOE report can be found here.

    The report’s key takeaways include that the increased production of domestic oil and gas:

    • Creates a significant savings to consumers
    • Increased revenue for state and local governments
    • More well-paying American jobs
    • Revitalization of U.S. chemical manufacturing
    • The creation of a world-class domestic LNG and crude export industry
    • Reduced environmental footprint from increased production of natural gas with lower impact extraction technologies
    • Enhanced national security

    In April 2017, Governor Greg Abbott appointed Christian the official representative of Texas to IOGCC. The IOGCC is one of the oldest and largest interstate compacts in the nation, formed more than 80 years ago when several states joined together to resolve common issues in the industry without federal intervention. Membership currently consists of 31 oil producing states.


    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June 2019, Christian was elected by his fellow commissioners to lead the agency as Chairman, a position he held until September 2020. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren.

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for October 2020

    November 10, 2020

    AUSTIN –– The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 395 original drilling permits in October 2020 compared to 971 in October 2019. The October 2020 total includes 329 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, three to re-enter plugged well bores, and 41 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in October 2020 is 82 oil, 38 gas, 253 oil or gas, 6 injection, and 16 other permits.

    In October 2020, Commission staff processed 777 oil, 196 gas and 119 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 537 oil, 117 gas, and 35 injection completions in October 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 12,901 compared to 7,763 recorded during the same period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report. These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page

     

    TABLE 1 – OCTOBER 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS New DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT

    PERMITS TO DRILL NEW OIL/GAS HOLES

    NEW OIL COMPLETIONS

    NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    15

    79

    15

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    46

    65

    19

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    9

    23

    8

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    8

    3

    2

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    8

    5

    1

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    21

    5

    12

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    8

    3

    2

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    21

    79

    1

    (8) MIDLAND

    175

    465

    90

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    4

    7

    4

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    12

    7

    0

    (10) PANHANDLE

    2

    0

    2

    TOTAL

    329

    741

    154

    * A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas here.

  • RRC’s Commissioners Take Action to Reduce Flaring by Oil and Gas Industry

    November 09, 2020

    AUSTIN – Commissioners for the Railroad Commission of Texas took a critical step on Wednesday, Nov. 4 toward further reducing flaring from oil and gas sites in the state.

    The agency’s commissioners approved a revamped Form R-32, Application for Exception to Statewide Rule 32, which had previously been titled Statewide Rule 32 Exception Data Sheet and will be used by oil and gas operators to apply for an exception to flare gas during oil and gas operations. The form provides specific guidance on when an exception to flare would be permissible, under which circumstances, and for how long.

    The commissioners’ action made changes to the application for flaring exceptions, not to the state’s flaring rule (Statewide Rule 32). On Aug. 4, commissioners voted to publish a proposed version of the application for public comment. RRC staff received and considered 26 sets of comments from individuals, operating companies, industry associations, trade groups, and nongovernmental organizations.

    Based on the public comments received,  changes were made to how information was organized on the proposed form and improved instructions, while maintaining key data that the Railroad Commission will receive from oil and gas operators as proposed in August. Form R-32 will:

    • In many cases, reduce the period of time an operator may obtain an administrative exception to flare gas. For certain exceptions, the duration may be reduced by 50% to 80%.
    • Provide incentives for operators to use technologies to reduce the amount of gas flared.
    • Require operators to submit more specific information to justify the need to flare or vent gas in accordance with Commission rules.
    • Provide additional key datapoints to facilitate compliance audits with reported production.

    “Wednesday’s approval of the newly revised Form R-32 is a great step forward for the energy industry in Texas,” said RRC Chairman Christi Craddick. “I am thankful for Commissioner Christian’s leadership on this effort and for the hardworking staff that made this successful.”

    “Texans demand transparency and innovation from all levels of government,” said Commissioner Ryan Sitton, “and this form will help collect more accurate data as we assess the role of flaring and look for ways to reduce it going forward.”

    “Texas has done a tremendous job reducing flaring this year, flaring less than a half a percent of gas produced in May 2020,” Commissioner Wayne Christian said. “This form change is a big and important step towards minimizing routine flaring in Texas, allowing our agency to collect the information it needs to better determine who is following the rules when it comes to flaring and who is not.”

    Form R-32 will be part of the Commission’s development of a Rule 32 computer program, which will facilitate the online submission of flaring requests and provide the agency with a better mechanism for compliance audits and data analytics.

    Until the Rule 32 program is online, which is targeted for the spring, operators will be able to use either the current application for exceptions to flaring or the new Form R-32.

  • RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $281,000 in Penalties

    November 05, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $281,250 in fines involving 105 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on Nov. 4. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Five dockets involved $13,000 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings.  Details on these Master Default Orders can be found here on the RRC website.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $31,100 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $237,150 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Railroad Commission Successfully Leverages Online Training During Pandemic

    November 02, 2020

    AUSTIN – When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the Railroad Commission quickly adapted to the upheaval and continued its critical mission to protect public safety and the environment.

    RRC shifted important safety training online from the onset of the pandemic at a time when traveling to training sessions has become prohibitive.

    In March, the agency’s Alternative Fuels Safety Department began continuing education classes for individuals in the Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry. Almost 50 of those webinars have occurred to date with more than 800 students attending online. This month, the department added initial training classes and online exams, utilizing online tools and webcams, for LPG dispenser operator safety training.

    “The safety rules individuals are learning through our remote continuing education webinars and training is invaluable because they are responsible for handling propane in retail and commercial services and in recreational and residential settings,” said April Richardson, Alternative Fuels Safety Director. 

    “Students have been providing feedback at the end of the online courses since the spring, which has helped us fine-tune our instruction as we kept adding classes.”

    Other RRC divisions also leveraged online resources. The agency’s annual Regulatory Conference, which provides important updates and training to operators, was canceled because of COVID-19 but the RRC presented information industry operators through webinars. The webinars included sessions on a wide variety of topics from new online filings to oil and gas waste stream management and had more than 2,800 people attend or view.

    In August, the agency’s Pipeline Safety Division had more than 700 people attend or view a webinar on new and amended rules concerning pipeline permits and pipeline safety regulations.

    “The pandemic increased the urgency to adapt our operations to ensure our mission was not affected, and the web-based courses fit perfectly with our efforts. I am glad our agency was well-prepared and stepped up to the challenge,” said Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director. “Industry training plays a critical role in ensuring compliance of the Railroad Commission’s regulations, which in turn contributes to the safety of all Texans. We deployed these online resources expeditiously, which allowed us to be wherever operators are.”

    An added benefit of many of the webinars is the fact that they have been archived for viewing. In case they missed it the first time, operators can view any previous Oil & Gas regulatory webinars here, and the August Pipeline Safety webinar here.

    Also, information about Alternative Fuels training can be found via this page.

October

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for August 2020

    October 30, 2020

    AUSTIN – Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas for August 2020 came from 168,539 oil wells and 84,100 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from September 2019 to August 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 10.5 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas county by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s Monthly Oil & Gas Production web page.

    TABLE 1 - AUGUST 2020 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    107,944,763 BBLS (barrels)

    3,482,089 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    802,661,604 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    25,892,310 mcf

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.

    TABLE 2 - AUGUST 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    135,979,815 BBLS

    4,386,446 BBLS

    107,015,105 BBLS

    3,452,100 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    909,937,083 mcf

    29,352,809 mcf

    764,419,398 mcf

    24,658,690 mcf

     

    TABLE 3  AUGUST 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     1

    MIDLAND

    14,258,517

     2

    MARTIN

    9,460,752

     3

    REEVES

    7,194,363

     4

    KARNES

    6,373,783

     5

    HOWARD

    6,162,970

     6

    UPTON

    6,053,473

     7

    LOVING

    4,703,037

     8

    LA SALLE

    3,969,735

     9

    GLASSCOCK

    3,679,402

     10

    REAGAN

    3,567,616

     

    TABLE 4 – AUGUST 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     1

    REEVES

    87,707,687

     2

    WEBB

    56,479,199

     3

    MIDLAND

    46,916,103

     4

    CULBERSON

    35,402,163

     5

    PANOLA

    34,991,722

     6

    LOVING

    29,461,491

     7

    TARRANT

    29,302,395

     8

    REAGAN

    26,369,410

     9

    KARNES

    24,235,344

     10

    UPTON

    22,459,671


    TABLE 5 – AUGUST 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     1

    REEVES

    6,263,791

     2

    CULBERSON

    3,271,581

     3

    LOVING

    2,659,845

     4

    DE WITT

    1,708,369

     5

    KARNES

    977,228

     6

    WEBB

    795,167

     7

    DIMMIT

    444,967

     8

    LIVE OAK

    356,952

     9

    WARD

    351,336

     10

    MCMULLEN

    230,378

     

  • RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $738,000 in Penalties

    October 22, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $738,082 in fines involving 187 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on Oct. 20. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Seven dockets involved $245,182 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings. Details on these Master Default Orders can be found here on the RRC website.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $69,200 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $423,700 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Christian: Texas Taxpayers Not on the Hook to Pay for Old Oil and Gas Wells

    Claims about plugging of wells off base, inaccurate
    October 16, 2020

    Imagine if your line of work was only talked about in a negative way. Accountants are all money launderers, teachers are all lazy, and bankers are all greedy. This is how the oil and gas industry is often written about. It seems that every week there is yet another “study” by some unknown nonprofit group or “think” tank that presents sensationalized information with the intent of painting an inaccurate and unflattering image of the oil and gas industry for the public.

    On Oct. 1, a report by Carbon Tracker claimed that Texas taxpayers could be on the hook to pay $117 billion to fix old oil and gas wells. What an incredible number! This reminds me when environmentalists famously predicted millions would die from starvation in the 1980s or entire nations could be “wiped out” by 2000 because of global warming. Let us get to the truth.

    When a well no longer produces oil or gas, the operator of that well is required by law to plug it with concrete to prevent the well from polluting land or groundwater. Most oil and gas wells are plugged by their operators in accordance with the law. For example, in Fiscal Year 2020 (from Sept. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2020), the oil and gas industry plugged 7,375 wells without the use of any state funds.

    However, some operators do not follow the law. When this happens, the well becomes orphaned. An orphaned well is eventually plugged by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), but this does not mean that taxpayers pay for that well to be plugged. When an operator applies for a drilling permit from the RRC, they must provide financial security – a bond or letter of credit – that the RRC will use to plug wells that an operator abandons. The oil and gas industry also pays millions of dollars in fees to the RRC every year, some of which are used to plug orphaned wells.

    The Commission takes our responsibility to protect public safety and the environment very seriously, including our job to plug orphaned wells. The RRC’s State Managed Plugging Program plugged 1,477 in FY 2020. For the last four years, the program has exceeded targets set by the Texas Legislature.

    Also, let’s not pretend that the oil and gas industry is the only source of energy with clean-up costs. An oil or gas well produces for around 50 years and costs between $15,000 to $20,000 to plug. It costs around $200,000 to decommission a wind turbine that could operate for as little as 20 years. That is ten times the cost for 30 years less production! In fact, it could cost $2.3 billion to decommission the 12,000 wind turbines in Texas. And taxpayers could be on the hook for that cost because wind power companies aren’t required to provide financial assurance to cover cleanup costs.

    Like any industry, the oil and gas industry has some bad apples, but the truth is most operators are responsible and fulfill their legal obligations and plug their wells. If that does not occur, the RRC plugs the wells using operator funds. And that’s the truth.

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June 2019, Christian was elected by his fellow commissioners to lead the agency as Chairman, a position he held until September 2020. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. 

  • Despite Pandemic, Railroad Commission of Texas Outperforms Legislative Targets

    for Safety, Environmental Inspections
    October 08, 2020

    AUSTIN – Various restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop Railroad Commission staff from continuing their tireless work of protecting public safety and the environment.

    The RRC’s commitment to that critical mission is reflected in how it exceeded performance goals for safety and environmental inspections during Fiscal Year 2020, which ended on Aug. 31.

    For example, the agency completed 347,617 inspections of oil and gas wells and facilities, which was more than 150,000 above the legislative target for the fiscal year.

    Performing above target is not uncommon at the RRC. Inspectors in other regulatory areas of the RRC were also hard at work. A critical component of the vast energy infrastructure across Texas is pipelines, and the agency’s pipeline safety inspectors exceeded both the annual performance targets for standard and specialized (including accidents) inspections by conducting a total of 5,575 inspections. In the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division, the legislative goal for inspections of surface coal mines was 400. The agency completed 417.

     

    Legislative Target

    Actual

    Oil and Gas Inspections

    189,367 

    347,617

    Pipeline Safety Standard Inspections

    3,013

    3,561

    Pipeline Accident and Special Inspections

    1,100

    2,014

    Surface Coal Mine Inspections

    400

    417

    “Inspections are the primary tool to ensure compliance with Commission rules. These numbers show how seriously our inspectors take the agency’s commitment to protecting natural resources and communities across Texas,” said RRC Executive Director Wei Wang.

    “Their performance is even more impressive given the fact that staff had to quickly adapt to the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic as they continued their work. The Railroad Commission is only as good as its people, and I am very fortunate to work with such a highly skilled and dedicated staff.”

    The agency is continuously working to utilize technology and other tools to improve its inspection processes. In the spring, for instance, RRC started its first-ever drone inspection team. The drones help inspectors to quickly respond and inspect sites that are unsafe or inaccessible during emergencies, such as fires, flooding, and other natural disasters.

    The agency also makes inspection information available online to the public at any time. The RRC Online Inspection Lookup portal (RRC OIL) is a searchable database that makes inspections and enforcement histories of oil and gas wells available online 24 hours a day. The digital tool earned the agency the 2019 Chairman’s Stewardship Award for Energy Education from the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission.

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for September 2020

    October 07, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 437 original drilling permits in September 2020 compared to 796 in September 2019. The September 2020 total includes 371 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, two to re-enter plugged well bores, and 41 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in September 2020 is 112 oil, 41 gas, 252 oil or gas, 11 injection, and 21 other permits.

    In September 2020, Commission staff processed 902 oil, 147 gas and 119 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 583 oil, 137 gas, and 27 injection completions in September 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 11,917 compared to 7,074 recorded during the same period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report. These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page

    TABLE 1  SEPTEMBER 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS NEW DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT

    PERMITS TO DRILL NEW OIL/GAS HOLES

    NEW OIL COMPLETIONS

    NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    22

    135

    21

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    49

    73

    20

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    14

    33

    7

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    2

    0

    5

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    0

    2

    0

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    29

    5

    10

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    16

    7

    0

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    27

    69

    0

    (8) MIDLAND

    190

    498

    48

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    9

    9

    0

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    12

    2

    0

    (10) PANHANDLE

    1

    2

    2

    TOTAL

    371

    835

    113

    * A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas here.

September

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics

    For July 2020
    September 28, 2020

    AUSTIN – Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for July 2020 came from 169,713 oil wells and 84,052 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from August 2019 to July 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 10.5 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s Oil & Gas Production web page.

    TABLE 1 - July 2020 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    108,879,659 BBLS (barrels)

    3,512,247 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    798,320,347 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    25,752,269 mcf

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.

    TABLE 2 - July 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    134,724,334 BBLS

    4,345,946 BBLS

    99,647,938 BBLS

    3,214,450 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    891,122,643 mcf

    28,745,892 mcf

    726,814,426 mcf

    23,445,627 mcf

    TABLE 3  July 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     

    MIDLAND

    14,925,993

     

    MARTIN

    9,618,204

     

    REEVES

    7,879,501

     

    UPTON

    6,504,754

     

    KARNES

    6,496,081

     

    HOWARD

    6,037,223

     

    LOVING

    4,590,196

     

    LA SALLE

    4,113,558

     

    GLASSCOCK

    3,773,044

     

    REAGAN

    3,569,672

    TABLE 4 – July 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     

    REEVES

    85,866,026

     

    WEBB

    54,303,553

     

    MIDLAND

    45,970,039

     

    PANOLA

    35,153,780

     

    CULBERSON

    31,903,012

     

    TARRANT

    29,612,484

     

    LOVING

    29,587,985

     

    REAGAN

    26,210,492

     

    KARNES

    24,157,639

     

    UPTON

    23,396,953

    TABLE 5 – July 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     

    REEVES

    6,160,708

     

    CULBERSON

    2,996,751

     

    LOVING

    2,778,108

     

    DE WITT

    1,548,313

     

    DIMMIT

    1,085,687

     

    KARNES

    977,922

     

    WEBB

    885,229

     

    WARD

    358,831

     

    MCMULLEN

    334,183

     

    LA SALLE

    238,287

  • RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $842,000 in Penalties

    September 24, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $842,343 in fines involving 159 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on Sept. 22. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Twenty-eight dockets involved $475,552 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings.  Details on these Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $70,341 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $296,450 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Railroad Commission’s Abandoned Oil and Gas Well Plugging Program Exceeds Goals Set by Texas Legislature

    September 23, 2020

    AUSTIN – For the fourth straight year the Railroad Commission of Texas’ has exceeded its performance target of plugging abandoned oil and gas wells throughout the state.

    With the fiscal year ending on Aug. 31, the agency plugged 1,477 orphan wells in Fiscal Year 2020, which exceeded the target of 1,400 set by the Legislature.

    “The State Managed Plugging Program is an important part of our critical mission to protect public safety and the environment.” said Danny Sorrells, RRC’s Assistant Executive Director and Director of its Oil and Gas Division.

    “Given the current energy industry downturn, the program also helps to employ oilfield service company workers throughout Texas. These employees are contracted and supervised to plug abandoned orphan wells by the Railroad Commission of Texas.”

    The State Managed Plugging Program is paid through industry fees rather than by taxpayers. This program addresses wells that are no longer productive and are considered orphaned in accordance with state laws and regulations. Railroad Commission staff prioritizes which orphan wells to plug based on potential risks to public safety and the environment.

    The work done in the most recent fiscal year continues a positive trend in the RRC’s work in exceeding performance targets.

    In Fiscal Year 2017, the goal was to plug 875 wells, and the agency plugged 918 wells. In Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 the performance goal was to plug 979 abandoned wells each year, and the agency plugged 1,364 and 1,710 respectively.

    “A few years ago, we took a hard look at improving our State Managed Plugging Program,” said RRC Director of Field Operations Clay Woodul. “We streamlined our internal processes, which, along with improved employee retention, has contributed to the success of the program. Our commitment continues even through limitations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    Since it was established in 1984 to the end of the recent fiscal year, the agency’s program has successfully plugged 41,132 orphan wells that were abandoned following oil and gas production.

    See what the State Managed Program is doing in your neck of the woods with RRC’s interactive data visualization map.

    More information about the State Managed Plugging Program can be found via this web page.

     

  • Christi Craddick Elected Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission

    September 22, 2020

    AUSTIN – Commissioner Christi Craddick was unanimously elected Chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas during today’s Commission conference.  Following her election, Chairman Craddick gave remarks on her agenda for the agency.

    “I am honored to be selected to serve as Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. I am proud of the hard work that this Commission has completed under Chairman Christian’s leadership, and look forward to continuing with the ongoing efforts that are so vital to the success of the energy industry. Continuing to provide regulatory certainty to the energy sector will be a priority to me, and I look forward to maintaining the high standards that this Commission is known for.”

    “Heading into the 2021 Legislative Session, I look forward to addressing the issues facing the industry and this agency. Securing adequate and consistent funding for the Railroad Commission, completing the IT update that will modernize our agency, providing reasonable administrative relief to operators suffering through the global economic crisis, and maintaining health and safety standards for all Texans will all be top priorities.”


    Christi Craddick was first elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • Railroad Commission Adds Multiple Features to CASES Portal

    System Now Processes All Hearing Cases, Allows for Penalty Payments
    September 17, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission continues to enhance its online services, this time by adding more information and enhanced features in its CASES online portal.

    The CASES portal – which stands for Case Administration Service Electronic System – has begun to process all Railroad Commission hearings and enforcement case types. The updated system now handles dockets from the agency’s Oil and Gas Division, Oversight and Safety Division, and the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division. When the first phase of the RRC CASES portal launched in March, it processed a smaller number of case types originating from the Oil and Gas Division.

    With more documents now readily accessible to the public than ever before, the Railroad Commission has been able to further expand the transparency of its functions, decrease reliance on paper record, and streamline agency processes such as open records requests. Once documents are approved for digital filing, they are available for the public to view.

    RRC CASES has also helped the agency’s Hearings Division adapt to the current COVID-19 pandemic because it allows Administrative Law Judges and Technical Examiners to access dockets in CASES without having to retrieve a hard copy file.

    “The CASES online portal is part of an ongoing effort to modernize operations at the Railroad Commission,” said Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director.

    “CASES not only makes our hearings documents available for anyone to view, but it also makes it easier for operators to submit case files electronically. As public servants, we strive to serve the public better, and CASES is a digital tool that helps us do just that.”

    Parties to a case or their representatives can save time and money by filing electronically through CASES. Legal Enforcement dockets can be viewed by the public and authenticated users can also upload or download files to the docket. Also, the updated CASES system now allows entities to pay administrative penalties via the portal.

    Additionally, the Railroad Commission increased the file upload capacity to 15 gigabytes of data instead of the previous limit of 8 gigabytes.

    Parties involved in a case or docket will need to register as an authenticated user to file electronically in RRC CASES. To become an authenticated user, you must submit the CASES Portal Authenticated User Form to the agency’s Information Technology Services Division.

    For more information, visit the RRC CASES page.

     

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for August 2020

    September 09, 2020

    AUSTIN –– The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 451 original drilling permits in August 2020 compared to 960 in August 2019. The August 2020 total includes 377 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, seven to re-enter plugged well bores, and 51 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in August 2020 is 141 oil, 33 gas, 224 oil or gas, 34 injection, and 19 other permits.

    In August 2020, Commission staff processed 1,007 oil, 211 gas and 197 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 446 oil, 103 gas, and 29 injection completions in August 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 10,804 compared to 6,327 recorded during the same period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report. These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page

     

    TABLE 1  AUGUST 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS New DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    * A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas here.

  • RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $400,000 in Penalties

    September 03, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $401,391 in fines involving 152 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on September 1. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $40,441 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $360,950 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. 
    Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

August

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for June 2020

    August 28, 2020

    AUSTIN – Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for June 2020 came from 173,549 oil wells and 86,037 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from July 2019 to June 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 10.5 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s Oil & Gas Production web page.

     

    TABLE 1 - June 2020 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*
    PRODUCT PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    97,800,810 BBLS (barrels)

    3,260,027 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    752,913,319 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    25,097,111 mcf

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.

     

    TABLE 2 - June 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION
    PRODUCT UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    129,225,646 BBLS

    4,307,522 BBLS

    97,530,112 BBLS

    3,251,004 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    848,800,825 mcf

    28,293,361 mcf

    696,927,530 mcf

    23,230,918 mcf

     

    TABLE 3 – June 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION
    RANK COUNTY CRUDE OIL (BBLS)
     1

    MIDLAND

    13,705,979

     2

    MARTIN

    9,136,424

     3

    REEVES

    6,990,400

     4

    KARNES

    5,849,652

     5

    UPTON

    5,830,766

     6

    HOWARD

    5,489,959

     7

    LOVING

    4,333,626

     8

    REAGAN

    3,699,297

     9

    GLASSCOCK

    3,339,650

     10

    LA SALLE

    2,794,306

     

    TABLE 4 – June 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION
    RANK COUNTY TOTAL GAS (MCF)
     1

    REEVES

    79,583,050

     2

    WEBB

    51,827,047

     3

    MIDLAND

    40,482,711

     4

    PANOLA

    37,069,813

     5

    LOVING

    28,994,101

     6

    TARRANT

    28,335,312

     7

    CULBERSON

    27,761,194

     8

    REAGAN

    24,758,262

     9

    UPTON

    21,314,026

     10

    KARNES

    21,274,015

     

    TABLE 5 – June 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION
    RANK COUNTY CONDENSATE (BBLS)
     1

    REEVES

    5,370,543

     2

    LOVING

    2,810,325

     3

    CULBERSON

    2,580,652

     4

    DE WITT

    1,427,187

     5

    DIMMIT

    1,003,323

     6

    KARNES

    979,744

     7

    WEBB

    776,389

     8

    WARD

    348,306

     9

    MCMULLEN

    302,562

     10

    LA SALLE

    240,396

     

  • Railroad Commission Prepared for Hurricane Laura Response

    Agency's Inspectors, Drone Teams Standing by to Assist with Leaks, Spills
    August 27, 2020

    AUSTIN– The Railroad Commission is monitoring the impact of Hurricane Laura in Texas and is ready to respond to any emergencies caused by the hurricane.  

    Inspectors are ready to respond to reports of leaks or spills or other issues in oil and gas operations, pipelines, natural gas utilities, liquified petroleum gas (LP-gas), and coal and uranium surface mining operations.

    Inspectors will enter damaged areas to respond to emergencies if it is safe do so. The agency also has drone teams ready to perform inspections if necessary. RRC drone teams are also prepared to assist emergency response efforts led by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, if called upon.

    The RRC maintains a 24-hour, toll-free emergency line; call 844-773-0305 to report leaks or spills.

  • Railroad Commission Responding to Corpus Christi Pipeline Fire

    August 21, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission, along with other state, federal, and local agencies, is responding to a pipeline fire today in the Port of Corpus Christi.

    Three inspectors, including the Commission's Regional Pipeline Safety Manager, were dispatched onsite this morning. The Commission is closely monitoring the incident to ensure compliance with critical RRC safety regulations, which are in place to protect public safety and the environment.

  • Railroad Commission Continues Working to Improve Regulation of Oil and Gas Industry

    August 12, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission has an enormous responsibility shepherding Texas’ oil and gas industry, which is critical to our daily lives and economy.

    In its role regulating energy production and ensuring natural resources are extracted responsibly, the agency has been taking advantage of operational and technological efficiencies to achieve its goals.

    Last week, RRC commissioners took actions to further address flaring with proposed revisions to the Application for Exception to Statewide Rule 32, while the Commission creates better reporting requirements to record for how much each flare releases and an integrated online system connecting the work of permit writers, operators, and agency field staff.

    The proposed changes to the application are within parameters of existing rules and are now in a 30-day public comment period. The proposed revisions can be found in our forms center.

    As the Railroad Commission takes these important steps, there have been some recent positive trends. While the amount of natural gas produced from oil and gas wells dropped by 13% from June 2019 to May 2020, the rate of produced gas that was flared went down by an even greater 79% over the 12-month period. More importantly, the flaring rate of casinghead gas, which is the gas produced from oil wells, decreased by 85%, and the ratio of casinghead gas flared to the amount of crude oil produced decreased by 82%.

    “The sharp decline in the flaring rate suggests that decreased flare volume was caused by more than simply a decrease in production,” said Paul Dubois, RRC Assistant Director for Technical Permitting. “We will continue analyzing the monthly data that comes in. That information, along with the proposed modifications to the Statewide Rule 32 applications will help us continue a comprehensive approach to regulating flaring.”

    Growth of the energy industry and protection of environment are not mutually exclusive. According to the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2019 report, the six major pollutants regulated by the EPA decreased by 73% from 1970 to 2017, while the U.S. economic growth increased by 262%.

    In order for the United States to be independent of oil and gas from troubled parts of the world and to protect itself from being held hostage to the politics of such places, it needs Texas. Texas is blessed with an abundance of oil and gas resources. According to a U.S. Geological Survey assessment in 2018, portions of the Delaware Basin in Texas and New Mexico’s Permian Basin area contain an estimated 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. In 2016, USGS estimated that the Midland portion of the Permian Basin contains 20 billion barrels of oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of associated natural gas, and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

    In the Energy Information Administration’s Texas State Energy Profile, which was last updated in July, the state is still the largest energy producer in the United States, accounting for more than 40% of crude oil production and 25% of natural gas production.

    Natural gas accounts for more than half of Texas’ electric production and 38.5% of for the nation, according to the EIA. And because of Texas’ rich resources, the cost of electricity in the state is much cheaper than other parts of the country. In fact, it costs 49% less than California and 43% than New York.

    2020 has been a year that has upended people’s lives and drastically affected many industries, including the oil and gas industry. Even during the midst of a global pandemic and economic hardships, the Railroad Commission remains committed to continuing its important work.

     

  • Before Digging Under Your Property: Call 811

    August 11, 2020

    AUSTIN – Unintentionally tearing into things buried underground is a big deal, one that can affect your home and your neighborhood.

    That’s why Texas 811 is such an important resource. Today, Aug. 11, is the National 811 Day, a nation-wide reminder of the value of the service. 

    Homeowners, excavators, and contractors are required by law to call 811 at least two days before digging. A caller tells the location of the dig, and affected pipeline and utility companies in the area will send locators to the dig site to mark the approximate location of buried lines with flags or paint.

    "The ultimate goal of Texas811is to focus on safety and drive down damage,” said Jamie Renard, the Railroad Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention Manager. “A homeowner may not know what’s buried underground. There could be pipelines, water and sewer lines, electric cables, and other utilities.”

    The number of 811 calls has risen considerably. In 2008, there were more than 1.8 million calls, but in 2019, that went up to more than 3.6 million.

    The call to 811 is free and invaluable to families and neighbors. Homeowners can also file an online request to locate on the Texas811 website at https://www.texas811.org/.

    A free, one-hour online training is also available for interested excavators to learn about the regulatory requirements of the 811 process, which includes requesting underground facility locations, line locator response to your request, incorporating safe excavation practices to avoid damage, fundamental incident investigation techniques, documentation, and reporting. Here is the webinar schedule:

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for July 2020

    August 07, 2020

    AUSTIN –– The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 351 original drilling permits in July 2020 compared to 912 in July 2019. The July 2020 total includes 286 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, six to re-enter plugged well bores and 40 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in July 2020 is 70 oil, 27 gas, 232 oil or gas, 9 injection, and 13 other permits.

    In July 2020, Commission staff processed 1,125 oil, 211 gas and 367 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 499 oil, 156 gas, and 44 injection completions in July 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 9,510 compared to 5,749 recorded during the same period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report. These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page

     

    TABLE 1 – JUly 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS New DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT

    PERMITS TO DRILL NEW OIL/GAS HOLES

    NEW OIL COMPLETIONS

    NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    14

    110

    28

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    9

    60

    21

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    10

    37

    6

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    0

    1

    6

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    1

    4

    2

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    16

    6

    25

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    18

    13

    0

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    26

    81

    1

    (8) MIDLAND

    169

    683

    81

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    10

    36

    0

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    13

    3

    5

    (10) PANHANDLE

    0

    2

    3

    TOTAL

    286

    1,036

    178

    * A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas here.

  • RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $1 million in Penalties

    August 06, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $1,157,423 in fines involving 389 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on August 4. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Twenty-four dockets involved $122,537 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings.  Details on these Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $195,786 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $839,100 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules.
    Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • RRC Commissioners Take Major Step to Help Address Oil and Gas Flaring

    August 04, 2020

    AUSTIN– Railroad Commission of Texas commissioners today voted to approve draft changes to the Application for Exception to Statewide Rule 32. The changes play a large role in ongoing efforts at the Commission to reduce the amount of flaring in the oil and gas industry in the state.

    At today’s Conference, Railroad Commission staff also discussed a recent positive trend that has been occurring with the rate of flaring. While the amount of gas produced in Texas declined by 13 percent from June 2019 to May 2020, the portion of produced gas that was flared dropped even more sharply by 79% during that same time period. Staff will continue analyzing flaring trends in the coming months.

    There are several proposed modifications to the Statewide Rule 32 application, which include, but are not limited to the following:

    • The period of time for which an operator may obtain an administrative exception to flare gas will be reduced in many cases. For certain exceptions, the duration may be reduced by 50% to 80%.
    • Provide incentives for operators to use technologies to reduce the amount of gas flared.
    • Operators must provide more specific information to justify the need to flare or vent gas in accordance with Commission rules.
    • Flares would be related to specific production properties to facilitate compliance with reported production.

    Tracking the new information and data points will be valuable in any future efforts to tailor policy that addresses flaring.

    “Today, we took an important first step in ensuring we have the data necessary to get an accurate view of the scope of flaring in Texas,” said Chairman Wayne Christian.

    “Since the downturn, the rate of flaring has gone down with more than 99.5 percent of the gas produced in the month of May sold and beneficially used to generate electricity, cook dinner, or make hundreds of consumer products. Now is the opportune time to implement meaningful recommendations to reduce flaring before oil and gas production climbs back to previous highs.” said Chairman Wayne Christian.

    “I sincerely appreciate the hard work that has gone into making these significant changes and look forward to receiving feedback during the public comment period,” said Commissioner Christi Craddick.

    “I am pleased with the progress we are making toward significant flaring reductions in Texas. The comprehensive IT upgrade will continue to be a priority of the Commission to ensure the availability of reliable and transparent data.” said Commissioner Christi Craddick.

    “Flaring is a byproduct of production, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue that’s worth examining more closely,” said Commissioner Ryan Sitton.

    “That’s why I undertook the first systematic study of flaring in Texas and how our volumes compare with other major energy producers. I’m glad the Railroad Commission of Texas is stepping up and continuing to lead.” said Commissioner Ryan Sitton.

    The proposed changes include RRC staff’s analysis of a Blue Ribbon Task Force report on best practices to reduce flaring.

    The draft changes are open for a 30-day comment period and can be found on the RRC website. Commissioners will need to approve a final version of the form at a future meeting before it goes into effect.

    More actions are in the works to aid RRC’s work on flaring. The agency is working to improve reporting to get a better picture of how much gas is flared or vented and the specific reasons for doing so.

    The agency is also developing an integrated online system that will allow flaring information from different types of users, such as inspectors in the field or technical specialists in Austin, to be accessible in one place.

    Oil and gas production is a critical industry that fuels our lives and provides us with many everyday products that we depend upon, and has helped recent energy independence for the United States.

    Methane emissions related to the extraction of crude oil and natural gas have gone down by 23 percent since 1990, according to the EPA’s 2020 Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks.

    And, despite considerable growth in the Texas oil and gas industry between 2003-2018, the EPA’s 2018 Toxics Release Inventory, published in 2020, shows a 42 percent drop in the release of toxic air chemicals over the same period in the state.

     

July

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for May 2020

    July 31, 2020

    AUSTIN –– Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for May 2020 came from 170,718 oil wells and 86,469 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from June 2019 to May 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 10.4 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s website


    TABLE 1 - May 2020 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    91,062,814 BBLS (barrels)

    2,937,510 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    734,645,548 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    23,698,243 mcf

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.


    TABLE 2 - May 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    132,112,169 BBLS

    4,261,683 BBLS

    101,897,854 BBLS

    3,287,028 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    871,818,670 mcf

    28,123,183 mcf

    704,514,055 mcf

    22,726,260 mcf


    TABLE 3
      May 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     

    MIDLAND

    12,692,044

     

    MARTIN

    8,613,842

     

    REEVES

    6,818,045

     

    KARNES

    6,059,271

     

    UPTON

    5,375,953

     

    HOWARD

    5,044,875

     

    LOVING

    4,622,124

     

    REAGAN

    3,449,488

     

    GLASSCOCK

    3,243,131

     

    LA SALLE

    2,695,714


    TABLE 4 – May 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     

    REEVES

    73,437,218

     

    WEBB

    49,914,609

     

    MIDLAND

    38,572,157

     

    PANOLA

    38,001,409

     

    TARRANT

    30,058,930

     

    LOVING

    28,690,389

     

    CULBERSON

    26,522,886

     

    REAGAN

    23,908,861

     

    KARNES

    23,821,494

     

    DE WITT

    21,084,518

     

    TABLE 5 – May 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     

    REEVES

    5,409,663

     

    LOVING

    2,729,620

     

    CULBERSON

    2,536,258

     

    DE WITT

    1,905,031

     

    KARNES

    993,985

     

    DIMMIT

    745,639

     

    WEBB

    575,489

     

    LIVE OAK

    250,958

     

    LA SALLE

    234,531

     

    MCMULLEN

    226,851

     

  • EPA Report Recognizes Railroad Commission’s Underground Injection Control Program

    Mitigating Environmental Risks
    July 29, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission continues to make positive strides with its Underground Injection Control program, ensuring the protection of underground sources of drinking water and the control of seismic activity, according to a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

    The report titled, “2019 EPA Region 6 End-Of-Year Evaluation Railroad Commission of Texas Underground Injection Control Program,” can be found here on RRC’s website.

    RRC’s UIC program protects the state’s drinking water and controls seismic activity through enforcement of EPA-approved rules on permitting, construction, and testing of underground injection wells. Injection wells are used to process waste fluid from oil and gas operations, especially water with high levels of brine; for brine mining; for enhanced recovery, which prolongs the life of oil and gas fields; and hydrocarbon storage. Wells are located in underground formations geologically separate from aquifers that are sources of drinking water.

    “The Railroad Commission continues to confront significant challenges in the program and has taken some innovative measures to address them,” the summary of EPA’s report reads.

    “The EPA’s report acknowledges the efforts of Railroad Commission staff to responsibly manage injection wells to protect our natural resources and mitigate any seismic activity because of them,” said Paul Dubois, RRC Assistant Director for Technical Permitting. “We will continue to work with our federal counterparts to build on and improve our work to help protect Texans.”

    Among the report’s key findings include:

    • More than half of all injection wells in the state are inspected annually. The EPA report notes that “Those numbers assure more than adequate inspection and monitoring surveillance actions.”
    • The report also noted that RRC rules enacted in November 2014, a guidance document adopted in 2019, and increased UIC staffing “enhance RRC authority regarding seismicity related to Class II disposal … and establish new permit application information to address seismic risk in problematic areas of the State.”
    • A recognition of RRC’s critical review of disposal well applications, which resulted in 65 permits issued with special conditions, 19 withdrawn or returned applications, hearings scheduled for 56, and three permits issued without any special conditions. Also, the agency evaluated the role of two disposal wells in an earthquake near Timpson in September 2018, which resulted in the modification of one permit to reduce pressure and the canceling of the other permit.
  • RRC Continues Extensive Inspections of Major New Pipeline Project

    July 23, 2020

    AUSTIN – Inspectors with the Railroad Commission of Texas are continuing critical inspections of the Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP), one of the largest pipeline projects under construction in Texas in 2020.  Stretching more than 400 miles from the Permian Basin to the Houston area, the pipeline will bring West Texas’ natural gas to the world market.   

    Given the sheer scale of the PHP and its route through the sensitive Texas Hill Country, RRC has engaged in a comprehensive response to ensure that the pipeline is constructed safely in a manner protective of public health and the environment. Since March inspectors from two key RRC divisions, Oil and Gas and Pipeline Safety, have conducted more than 75 inspections and investigated close to 20 complaints related to the pipeline.

    Currently RRC inspectors are on-site near the Pedernales River in Gillespie County as the pipeline operator, Kinder Morgan, works to excavate a pathway for the pipeline beneath the river.

     

    Pedernales River Inspection
    Pedernales River inspection site – July
    Inspection Site In Kimble County
    Inspection site in Kimble County – June
    Inspection site in Kimble County – June

     

    “Our inspectors have been hard at work, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure Kinder Morgan is compliant with Commission rules that are in place to protect public safety and natural resources,” said RRC Executive Director Wei Wang. “In addition to the all-hands efforts within the agency, we are also in contact with resident groups and the company as construction progresses. When it is complete, this pipeline will add vital capacity to convey natural gas, which in turn will also help ongoing efforts to further reduce flaring in West Texas.”

    New pipelines are important to efficiently and safely transport large amounts of natural gas and oil. The Texas Pipeline Association estimates that a 20-inch pipeline running 50 miles can replace 1,650 tanker trucks carrying oil on the road. Pipelines also help reduce flaring by alleviating potential backing up of supply at the point of production.

    RRC Oil and Gas inspectors have been at construction sites to ensure the operator has been compliant with agency rules to prevent the pollution of surface and groundwater resources.

    Oil and Gas Field Operations staff also issued a notice of violation related to a drilling fluid spill that occurred in the spring.

    Pipeline Safety inspectors have conducted multiple inspections of pipeline installation and pipe yards. The inspections include but are not limited to welding, pipe transportation procedures, coating thickness inspections, backfilling of trenches; safety equipment operability, and materials records.  

    The PHP is expected to be complete in early 2021

  • Christian Passes National Resolution Condemning Oil Dumping

    July 21, 2020

    AUSTIN — The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) this week passed Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian’s (R – Texas) resolution urging the federal government to investigate excessive dumping of crude oil by Saudi Arabia and Russia and take appropriate action.

    You can read the Chairman’s resolution here.

    “For much of 2019 and early 2020, Saudi Arabia shipped relatively little crude to America, with average arrivals running at about 475,000 barrels a day,” said Christian. “After the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the U.S. oil and gas industry, Saudi Arabia shipped 1.3 million barrels a day to our nation, roughly four times February’s daily volume and the highest figure since 2014.”

    “Flooding the market during ongoing negotiations with President Trump and the international community is disingenuous,” continued Christian. “More than 100,000 oil and natural gas jobs in the United States have been lost according to Rystad Energy Group. Our federal government must push back against international efforts that harm American energy dominance.”

    While discussing the resolution, Christian emphasized that the United States produced a record 12.4 million barrels in August 2019, making our nation the top producer in the world and leading to economic growth, new jobs, energy sovereignty, and greater national security.

    The IOGCC is a multi-state government agency that works to ensure our nation's oil and natural gas resources are conserved and maximized while protecting public health, safety and the environment. IOGCC was created more than 80 years ago when six states joined together to resolve common issues and share best practices for industry regulation to minimize federal intervention. Christian was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott as Texas’ official representative to IOGCC in April 2017 and currently serves on several committees, including as Chairman of the Nominating Committee.

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June of 2019, Christian was elected to lead the agency as Chairman by his fellow commissioners. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren.

  • Railroad Commission Launches Interactive Data Visualization

    on Site Remediation and Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation
    July 15, 2020

    AUSTIN — In an effort to make the enormous amount of data that the Railroad Commission keeps more accessible and transparent for the public, the agency has released another round of data visualization on its website.

    The latest visualizations present data from RRC’s Site Remediation and Abandoned Mine Land (AML) programs in user-friendly interactive layouts. Each data visualization project includes bar graphs, an interactive Texas map, a list of counties, and other options to fine tune a search.

    RRC’s Site Remediation Section oversees several cleanup programs to restore former oil and gas fields. The AML program works to reclaim and restore land and water resources as the result of abandoned mines.

    “The Railroad Commission has made great strides in laying out our large amount of data in easy-to-understand formats,” says Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director. “These latest additions will help the public and energy industry operators easily see key aspects of the important work we do in protecting the safety of Texans and the environment.”

    These are the newest data visualization presentations:

    • State Managed Site Cleanup Activities (updated quarterly)
    • Operator Cleanup Program Sites (updated quarterly)
    • Voluntary Cleanup and Brownfield Program Sites (updated quarterly)
    • Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Project Sites (updated monthly)

    All of the RRC data visualization projects can be found at https://rrc.texas.gov/resource-center/data-visualization/.

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics

    for June 2020
    July 06, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 312 original drilling permits in June 2020 compared to 1,001 in June 2019. The June 2020 total includes 262 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, three to re-enter plugged well bores and 21 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in June 2020 is 72 oil, 24 gas, 187 oil or gas, 24 injection, and five other permits.

    In June 2020, Commission staff processed 1,031 oil, 371 gas and 60 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 632 oil, 182 gas, and 63 injection completions in June 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 7,930 compared to 5,050 recorded during the same period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report. These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission's monthly drilling completion summaries web page.

    TABLE 1 – JUNE 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS New DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT

    PERMITS TO DRILL NEW OIL/GAS HOLES

    NEW OIL COMPLETIONS

    NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    13

    84

    42

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    15

    153

    73

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    5

    28

    14

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    8

    1

    17

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    0

    5

    1

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    18

    7

    29

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    8

    12

    1

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    23

    84

    1

    (8) MIDLAND

    157

    538

    147

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    0

    39

    0

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    15

    8

    8

    (10) PANHANDLE

    0

    4

    7

    TOTAL

    262

    963

    340

    *A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas website here.

June

  • Oil and Gas Monitoring and Enforcement Plan Finalized

    June 30, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas has released its latest strategic priorities in regulating the state’s oil and gas industry. The RRC’s Fiscal Year 2021 priorities are outlined in the Oil and Gas Monitoring and Enforcement Plan .

    Texas’ oil and gas industry is vital to the state’s budget and economy and contributes toward the country’s security by helping it be energy independent. From common household products to everyday energy consumption, oil and gas has a profound impact on our lives. By ensuring the industry operates in a manner that protects public health and the environment, the Railroad Commission helps protect this critical resource that all Americans rely upon.

    The annual planning document outlines how the agency will continue to build upon its current success to ensure all wells in the state are inspected at least once every five years and documents ongoing enhancements to agency operations.

    “Just in the past several months we have utilized technological advances to streamline operations and improve our agency’s efficiency,” said Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director.

    “We launched a Drone Program that will help inspectors quickly respond to emergencies which is critical in incidents when time is of the essence. The drones also provide aerial views of incidents, which were not available to inspectors in the past. We also added another layer to our transparency initiative with an online portal for our hearings cases. Not only does this portal give the public unprecedented access to view documents and reports used in the hearings, but it also allows parties involved in hearings to easily save time by filing documents online while also streamlining our staff resources.”

    In April the Commission exceeded its Fiscal Year 2020 performance target four months ahead of schedule for the number of oil and gas well and facility inspections. As of this month, 286,205 inspections have been conducted. The RRC has also exceeded the 5-year well inspection frequency goal for the year.

    Among other goals, the annual planning document outlines RRC’s education initiatives. The educational outreach helps operators better understand RRC rules which can help them comply with the rules and avoid enforcement action.

    The various educational activities that the agency uses include an annual regulatory conference; regulatory forums at sites near large concentrations of oil and gas workers; presentations at industry events, including conferences, seminars and workshops; production of online user guides; and instructional videos.

    Because of the impact of COVID-19, the Commission embarked on several virtual training sessions and is exploring ways to provide more online training as part of the agency’s future outreach to the oil and gas industry.

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics

    for April 2020
    June 26, 2020

    AUSTIN –– Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for April 2020 came from 172,505 oil wells and 87,853 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from May 2019 to April 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 10.4 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s website.

    TABLE 1 - April 2020 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    104,819,008 BBLS (barrels)

    3,493,967 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    747,706,903 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    24,923,563 mcf

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.


    TABLE 2 - April 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    126,851,941 BBLS

    4,228,398 BBLS

    98,901,096 BBLS

    3,296,703 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    826,651,752 mcf

    27,555,058 mcf

    680,228,802 mcf

    22,674,293 mcf

     

    TABLE 3  April 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     

    MIDLAND

    13,700,100

     

    MARTIN

    8,965,160

     

    REEVES

    7,612,055

     

    KARNES

    7,484,661

     

    HOWARD

    5,926,686

     

    UPTON

    5,732,613

     

    LOVING

    4,593,106

     

    REAGAN

    3,786,459

     

    LA SALLE

    3,756,981

     

    GLASSCOCK

    3,451,533


    TABLE 4 – April 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     

    REEVES

    74,547,367

     

    WEBB

    49,410,027

     

    MIDLAND

    40,287,396

     

    PANOLA

    32,913,485

     

    CULBERSON

    30,034,409

     

    TARRANT

    29,195,757

     

    KARNES

    25,515,292

     

    LOVING

    24,802,162

     

    REAGAN

    24,651,978

     

    DE WITT

    21,871,720

     

    TABLE 5 – April 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     

    REEVES

    5,666,768

     

    CULBERSON

    2,937,237

     

    LOVING

    2,086,388

     

    DE WITT

    1,978,391

     

    KARNES

    868,222

     

    WEBB

    742,409

     

    DIMMIT

    301,524

     

    LA SALLE

    266,806

     

    LIVE OAK

    266,573

     

    MCMULLEN

    213,420

     

  • RRC Commissioners Assess $805,000 in Penalties

    June 19, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $805,543 in fines involving 221 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on June 16. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Twenty dockets involved $293,653 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings. Details on these Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $72,940 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $438,950 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Blue Ribbon Taskforce Unveils Plan to Curtail Flaring

    June 16, 2020

    AUSTIN – Today, the Railroad Commission of Texas heard from the state’s oil and gas trade associations, environmental advocacy groups, and several oil and gas producers about the issue of flaring and how Texas can implement meaningful reforms to reduce flaring before oil and gas activity returns to previous highs.

    “I am very concerned by the rate of flaring in Texas,” said Chairman Christian. “We cannot continue to waste this much natural gas and allow the practice of flaring to tarnish the reputation of our state’s thriving energy sector to the general public and investors on Wall Street.”

    Commissioners heard testimony from Trammell Crow (EarthX), Cyrus Reed (Sierra Club), Colin Leyden (Environmental Defense Fund), Kirk Edwards (Latigo Petroleum), Stephanie Reed (Parsley Energy), Mike Starrett (Occidental Petroleum), Ben Sheppard (Permian Basin Petroleum Association), Jason Modglin (Texas Alliance of Energy Producers), Ed Longanecker (Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Assoc.), and Todd Staples (Texas Oil and Gas Assoc.). You can view today’s testimony here (Timecode: 1:05:40).

    During the meeting, trade associations involved in the Blue Ribbon Taskforce for Oil Economic Recovery unveiled their report titled ‘Flaring Recommendations & Best Practices’. You can read the full report here. Recommendations include reducing the time an administrative approval can be provided for flaring by 50% and providing much greater clarity on data submissions to improve the information we have on flaring in the state.

    After hearing the invited testimony, Chairman Christian instructed commission staff to consider the information provided by all parties to come up with a plan of action for addressing flaring this fall.

    “The Texas oil and gas industry is resilient and has led our nation to American energy dominance,” said Christian. “I have faith we can meet this challenge and ensure the lone star state sets an example for the rest of the world.”

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June of 2019, Christian was elected to lead the agency as Chairman by his fellow commissioners. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Commissioner Christian here:/about-us/commissioners/christian/.

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics

    for May 2020
    June 04, 2020

    AUSTIN –– The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 251 original drilling permits in May 2020 compared to 1,050 in May 2019. The May 2020 total includes 208 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, one to re-enter plugged well bores and 27 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in May 2020 is 59 oil, 22 gas, 159 oil or gas, seven injection, and four other permits.

    In May 2020, Commission staff processed 919 oil, 300 gas and 117 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 735 oil, 153 gas, and 40 injection completions in May 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 6,589 compared to 4,173 recorded during the same period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report.  These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page.

     

    TABLE 1 – March 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS New DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT PERMITS TO DRILL NEW OIL/GAS HOLES NEW OIL COMPLETIONS NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    11

    161

    57

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    27

    97

    90

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    3

    38

    13

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    1

    2

    20

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    0

    4

    2

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    15

    12

    21

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    4

    9

    0

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    13

    70

    0

    (8) MIDLAND

    122

    388

    67

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    4

    51

    0

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    6

    8

    7

    (10) PANHANDLE

    2

    4

    6

    TOTAL

    208

    844

    283


    A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas here

  • Commissioner Craddick Welcomes New Staff Member

    June 03, 2020

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick is pleased to announce that Mia Hutchens has joined the team as the new Director of Public Affairs.

     

    "We are excited to have Mia joining our team as she will play a critical role in helping the Commission ensure regulatory certainty for this great industry," said Commissioner Craddick. "Her experience in this sector will serve our office and the agency well."

    Hutchens joins the team after spending years in the private sector focusing on oil and gas policy. Most recently, she served as Manager of Government Affairs for the Texas Association of Business. She grew up in Grapevine, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Political Science.

    Christi Craddick was reelected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2018 to serve as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

May

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics

    for March 2020
    May 22, 2020

    AUSTIN –– Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for March 2020 came from 171,775 oil wells and 88,293 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from April 2019 to March 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 10.1 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s website.

    TABLE 1 - March 2020 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    107,220,998 BBLS (barrels)

    3,458,742 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    717,299,990 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    23,138,709 mcf

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.


    TABLE 2 - March 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    128,738,511 BBLS

    4,152,855 BBLS

    101,831,444 BBLS

    3,284,885 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    844,065,105 mcf

    27,227,907 mcf

    698,734,681 mcf

    22,539,828 mcf

     

    TABLE 3  March 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     

    MIDLAND

    14,081,086

     

    MARTIN

    9,875,919

     

    KARNES

    7,830,121

     

    REEVES

    7,225,821

     

    HOWARD

    6,056,915

     

    UPTON

    5,284,958

     

    LOVING

    4,540,473

     

    REAGAN

    3,540,767

     

    GLASSCOCK

    3,504,720

     

    LA SALLE

    3,158,694


    TABLE 4 – March 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     

    REEVES

    74,169,736

     

    MIDLAND

    39,774,128

     

    WEBB

    37,879,780

     

    PANOLA

    31,506,218

     

    CULBERSON

    30,903,051

     

    TARRANT

    29,162,795

     

    KARNES

    24,539,862

     

    REAGAN

    23,841,760

     

    LOVING

    23,737,616

     

    MARTIN

    21,005,256

     

    TABLE 5 – March 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     

    REEVES

    5,355,997

     

    CULBERSON

    2,897,989

     

    LOVING

    2,061,067

     

    DE WITT

    1,177,543

     

    WEBB

    791,629

     

    KARNES

    778,398

     

    DIMMIT

    264,369

     

    LA SALLE

    192,872

     

    MCMULLEN

    169,399

     

    LIVE OAK

    156,320

     

  • RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $400,000 in Penalties

    May 21, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $413,046 in fines involving 311 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on May 20. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Two dockets involved$21,796 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings. Details on these  Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $21,250 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $370,000 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Railroad Commission Further Enhances Efficiency

    Form H-15 available for filing online
    May 19, 2020

    AUSTIN – During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Railroad Commission of Texas has made yet another form, Form H-15, available for online filing. This is the second online form the Commission has released in two months; Form W-3, Plugging Record was launched in April.

    Oil and gas operators can now go online to easily file Form H-15, Test on an Inactive Well More than 25 Years Old. This test is vital to protecting ground water quality in Texas. On average more than a thousand of these forms are mailed to the agency each month. The new online filing option for Form H-15 saves time for staff and industry.

    Operators are required to conduct tests on wells older than 25 years in each year that a well is inactive. The test results are submitted in H-15 forms to ensure an inactive well does not pose a pollution threat to ground water.  

    “Operators have been asking for an easier filing option for these important forms and we delivered,” said Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director.

    “This is another step in our long-term goal to make the agency’s operations efficient and reduce administrative burdens for both the agency and the operators. Online filing is also beneficial in unique situations such as the current COVID-19 pandemic in which we try to minimize in-person contact to maintain the safety of staff and the public.”

    While the RRC will continue to accept hard copy filings of the Form H-15, operators are strongly encouraged to file online for efficient and timely filing. The Notice to Operators, which includes instructions for online filing, can be found on the RRC website.

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics

    for April 2020
    May 12, 2020

    AUSTIN –– The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 456 original drilling permits in April 2020 compared to 909 in April 2019. The April 2020 total includes 416 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, two to re-enter plugged well bores and 27 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in April 2020 is 97 oil, 15 gas, 311 oil or gas, 15 injection, and 18 other permits.

    In April 2020, Commission staff processed 981 oil, 246 gas and 249 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 593 oil, 143 gas, and 36 injection completions in April 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 5,285 compared to 3,244 recorded during the same period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report.  These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page.

    TABLE 1 – March 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS New DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT

    PERMITS TO DRILL NEW OIL/GAS HOLES

    NEW OIL COMPLETIONS

    NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    31

    121

    11

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    40

    109

    33

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    8

    92

    16

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    2

    2

    8

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    5

    12

    0

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    10

    9

    24

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    9

    5

    1

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    38

    38

    1

    (8) MIDLAND

    263

    403

    105

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    3

    57

    0

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    6

    19

    7

    (10) PANHANDLE

    1

    5

    9

    TOTAL

    416

    872

    215

    *A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas here.

  • Railroad Commission Launches Drone Program

    Enhancing Emergency Response
    May 11, 2020

    AUSTIN –– Taking advantage of 21st century technology, the Railroad Commission of Texas launched a statewide drone inspection team last month. Drones will help inspectors to quickly respond and inspect sites that are unsafe or inaccessible during emergencies such as fires, flooding and other natural disasters. Drones can also assist in situations, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, where they provide an alternative to in-person inspections.

    The RRC’s first drone emergency response was April 28 following reports of an incident in Reeves County west of Midland.  The affected area could not be physically inspected because the road to the site was under water.

    A licensed RRC pilot launched a drone and determined a possible source of release using aerial and thermal images. The operator was contacted to immediately remediate the site. Several drone images from the response are below. 


    High altitude picture of land and water
    High Altitude View
    Picture of possible well location
    Possible Well Location
    Thermal picture of possible well location
    Thermal Image of Possible Well Location

     


    “Our very first flight mission in Reeves County is a great example of how drones will enable inspectors to do their jobs quickly and safely in emergencies, which ultimately helps further protect residents and the environment,” said RRC’s Executive Director Wei Wang.


    “Whether it’s through information technology or other new tools, the Commission has always been looking at ways to enhance our operational efficiency. With drones, our inspectors can now immediately monitor well blowouts, oil spills, and other emergency incidents, and quickly cover large areas of ground in responding to those situations where time is of the essence.”

    Nineteen inspectors in the agency’s Oil and Gas Division and Surface Mining and Reclamation Division (SMRD) have received remote pilot certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.  

    Beginning this summer, SMRD will use drones for emergency responses and inspections. Drones can document the progression of mining in active operations which can change drastically from month to month. Aerial images will also help in the oversight of reclamation activities in previously mined areas.

    The RRC’s drone program will operate in compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations as well as state laws established to ensure safety and the protection of individual and property owners’ privacy.

    The RRC is also a member of the State Emergency Operations Center. The agency’s drone fleet can be a critical resource in helping state emergency response by providing aerial views of inaccessible areas.

    A list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers is also on the RRC’s Drone Program FAQs page.

     

  • RRC Commissioners Assess $800,000 in Penalties

    May 07, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $801,781 in fines involving 146 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on May 5. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Twenty-one dockets involved$386,847 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings.  Details on these Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $137,934 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $277,000 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Christian Votes No on Proration

    Provides Regulatory Relief to Industry
    May 05, 2020

    AUSTIN – Today, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) hosted a virtual open meeting where the commissioners discussed common carrier pipeline and refinery storage capacity, the report produced by the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Oil Economic Recovery, and proration.

    In response to Chairman Christian’s request at the April 21st Open Meeting, the RRC received reports from 19 refineries and 70 common carrier pipelines regarding their unfilled storage capacity figures. The refineries reported having 18,414,733 barrels capacity remaining and the pipelines reported having 52,770,925 barrels of capacity remaining.

    Next, the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Oil Economic Recovery presented their report outlining steps the Railroad Commission of Texas and other government entities could take to provide industry relief during the current oil and gas downturn. The Task Force focused on operations, permitting, timelines, tax policy and deadlines, storage capacity, and pipeline capacity, among other issues, and assembled the attached recommendations for the Commission’s consideration.

    You can read the report here.

    “I want to thank the task force for their long hours identifying solutions in such a short period of time,” said Christian. “This is what makes me proud of Texas: The business community working together to solve problems by developing solutions.”

    In response to the report and staff recommendations, Chairman Christian offered and passed two orders suspending certain fees and creating an exception to Rule 95 to allow underground oil storage in alternative formations. You can read the orders here.

    Prior to the meeting, Christian sent letters to the various agencies and legislative bodies mentioned in the report, encouraging them to review it and determine whether or not they can implement any of the relief outlined.

    In an editorial in the Houston Chronicle last week (read that here), Chairman Christian announced he would not vote in favor of government mandated cuts to oil production. During the meeting, he presented a motion to dismiss Pioneer and Parsley Energy’s verified complaint to determine reasonable market demand for oil in the State of Texas. The motion passed 2-1.

    “Over the past few weeks it has become increasingly obvious to me that we need to restore regulatory certainty to the oil and gas industry and move past the discussion on proration,” said Christian. “This motion ensures Texas companies, rather than the government, can decide for themselves what level of production cuts make sense for them to make while they weather the storm of market instability.”

April

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for February 2020

    April 29, 2020

    AUSTIN –– Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for February 2020 came from 170,960 oil wells and 86,698 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from March 2019 to February 2020, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 8.4 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s website 

    TABLE 1 - February 2020 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.


    TABLE 2 - February 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    UPDATED AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    115,797,371 BBLS

    4,135,620 BBLS

    89,977,836 BBLS

    3,213,494 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    760,810,371 mcf

    27,171,799 mcf

    618,963,170 mcf

    22,105,828 mcf

     

    TABLE 3  February 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     

    MIDLAND

    12,718,579

     

    MARTIN

    8,389,725

     

    KARNES

    7,220,288

     

    REEVES

    6,803,007

     

    HOWARD

    5,830,268

     

    UPTON

    4,846,243

     

    LOVING

    3,803,155

     

    REAGAN

    3,397,618

     

    GLASSCOCK

    3,134,593

     

    WARD

    3,077,963


    TABLE 4 – February 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     

    REEVES

    77,054,063

     

    WEBB

    54,468,697

     

    MIDLAND

    34,769,551

     

    PANOLA

    30,652,940

     

    TARRANT

    29,145,957

     

    CULBERSON

    28,470,809

     

    KARNES

    22,469,980

     

    REAGAN

    21,707,449

     

    UPTON

    17,899,961

     

    LOVING

    17,696,273

     

    TABLE 5 – February 2020 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     

    REEVES

    5,263,496

     

    CULBERSON

    2,605,428

     

    LOVING

    1,340,961

     

    DE WITT

    1,020,652

     

    DIMMIT

    991,315

     

    WEBB

    959,278

     

    KARNES

    783,240

     

    LA SALLE

    253,937

     

    MCMULLEN

    200,858

     

    LIVE OAK

    137,871

     

  • ICYMI - Chairman Christian Announces His Position On Proration In Houston Chronicle Op-Ed

    April 29, 2020

    AUSTIN – Today, Chairman Wayne Christian published an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle detailing his thoughts on whether or not the Railroad Commission should “prorate” or limit the production of crude oil in Texas.

    You can read Chairman Christian’s op-ed here.

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June of 2019, Christian was elected to lead the agency as Chairman by his fellow commissioners. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren.

  • RRC Commissioners Assess $1.1 Million in Penalties

    April 24, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $1,141,580 in fines involving 212 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference this week. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    One operator was assessed $24,155 in three oil and gas protested enforcement dockets that went to hearing. The final order can be found here

    Eleven dockets involved $442,811 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings. Details on these Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $273,089 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $401,525 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules.  Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Oil and Gas Inspections Exceed Expectations for Fiscal Year 2020

    April 23, 2020

    AUSTIN – Oil and gas inspectors at the Railroad Commission of Texas have already surpassed annual inspection targets, even with more than four months remaining in the fiscal year.

    The Texas Legislature sets performance measures tied to agency budgeting for each state fiscal year. For Fiscal Year 2020 the target for oil and gas well and facility inspections was 189,367. As of this week, 218,995 have been conducted. Also this week, RRC exceeded the 5-year well inspection frequency goal for the year.

    Inspections include responding to incidents and complaints; conducting routine well inspections; and witnessing critical well operations including setting surface casing to protect groundwater, mechanical integrity tests and well pluggings.

    “These performance numbers indicate the hard effort of dedicated staff in our district offices statewide,” said Clay Woodul, RRC Oil and Gas Division Assistant Director for Field Operations. “Our work is critical to ensuring the safety of the public and the environment in Texas. We continue those important tasks even as work routines have changed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

    The Commission has an online tool, RRC OIL, that allows the public and oil and gas operators to lookup inspection and violation data recorded during inspections of oil and gas leases, wells, facilities and other sites.

    Read about RRC OIL

  • Christian Joins CNBC’s The Exchange:

    “Texas will rise to the occasion”
    April 22, 2020

    AUSTIN – Today Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian joined Kelly Evans on CNBC’s The Exchange to discuss the continued conversation on proration and his call for the industry to establish a Blue Ribbon Task Force for oil economic recovery. You can view the interview here or below.

    image of Christian speaking on CNBC

    Christian and Evans began by discussing Commissioner Ryan Sitton’s potential motion to put in place proration contingent on a number of factors, including the actions of other states.

    “We are working to find a solution as fast as possible because we don’t need the markets to continue to have uncertainty about what is going on with the regulation of oil and gas,” said Chairman Christian. “Texas will rise to the occasion — a hundred percent of the time we have faced hardship, America comes back stronger and so does Texas.”

    Christian emphasized the importance of ensuring solutions come from listening to producers and business owners, rather than simply relying on government mandated cuts. It is with this in mind that he announced the formation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for oil economic recovery. 

    “Our task force brings industry together, large and small, from across various sectors to tell our agency how we can best assist the free market industry — rather than the government, big brother, telling them what to do,” continued Christian. “America has built the most successful energy sector in the history of the world, why should we doubt those who made this possible during a time of crisis?”

    Before closing out the interview, Evans mentioned the Saudi flotilla making its way to America. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, "A fleet of tankers full of Saudi oil is slowly making its way to the U.S. Gulf Coast, threatening to worsen an already historic oversupply of crude. The 20 tankers holding a combined 40 million barrels of crude are still headed to ports in Louisiana and Texas, according to shipping sources and market intelligence firms Vortexa Ltd. and Kpler Inc. They are due to arrive in Texas and Louisiana through late May.” (1)

    “I have visited with Senator Ted Cruz and will visit with Senator John Cornyn tomorrow about my concerns with this flotilla that is against the intent of the OPEC agreement to cut production,” said Christian.

    (1) https://www.wsj.com/articles/flood-of-saudi-oil-looms-as-u-s-drillers-face-supply-glut-11587119400


  • Wayne Christian Discusses Proration

    And Establishment of Task Force
    April 21, 2020

    AUSTIN – Today, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) continued discussion on the issue of proration, ongoing relief initiatives of the agency, and the formation of a Blue Ribbon Task Force for oil economic recovery.

    Chairman Christian kicked off the discussion by inviting RRC Executive Director Wei Wang to discuss the various relief and flexibility initiatives that the agency has provided to our state's oil and gas operators, including deadline extensions for certain requirements/filings, online processing and electronic submissions, and enforcement discretions and waiver considerations. You can view the discussion here (34:30-40:03). A full list of our notice to operators can be found here.

    Next Chairman Christian announced the formation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Oil Economic Recovery. This task force is being led by the leadership of our state's major trade associations including the Texas Oil and Gas Association, The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, The Permian Basin Petroleum Association, The Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association, and the Texas Pipeline Association. If you would like to join and offer your input, please reach out to: toberbeck@txoga.org.

    “I want to challenge the task force to look at every aspect on what can be done at the state level to assist operators and save jobs as we endure these historic circumstances — operations, permitting, timelines, tax policy and deadlines, storage capacity expansion, pipeline capacity, market access barriers, and anything else the task force can think of that will aid the industry in managing through difficulty,” said Chairman Christian. “The goal is to save as many jobs, enable operators to survive and return to a robust level as quickly as possible.”

    Before closing out the open meeting, the commissioners revisited the issue of proration. Commissioner Sitton discussed a potential motion to put in place proration contingent on a number of factors, including the actions of other states.

    “I agree with Commissioner Sitton that if we are going to take action, time is of the essence,” said Chairman Christian. “But I also agree with Commissioner Craddick that if we are going to go down this road, it is imperative that our motion be done in a way that is lawful and does not open us up to months of litigation. Neither of these positions are mutually exclusive.”

    As I stated in WorldOil, I have reservations that must be answered before I would consider voting to take Texas down this road," continued Christian. "With Commissioner Sitton's goal of a June 1st implementation, I think waiting to vote on the matter until May 5th gives the Commissioners two weeks to get the answers we need, see how other states act, and continue to work on other options in earnest with the federal government."

    Through his role as the Texas Representative to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Chairman Christian has been working closely with other states to get a feel for where they are headed on the issue of proration. Prior to the meeting this morning, he spoke with The North Dakota Director of the Department of Mineral Resources, Lynn Helms about the direction their state was going. In the last week, he has also spoken with members of the Texas Congressional delegation and representatives from the Department of Energy and the State Department.

  • Christian Joins CNBC’s The Exchange to Discuss Proration & Crude Oil Market Stability

    April 16, 2020

    AUSTIN –Yesterday, Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian joined Kelly Evans on CNBC’s The Exchange to discuss the agency’s virtual meeting on proration and his thoughts on various efforts to stabilize the worldwide market for crude oil. You can view the interview here or below.

      Chairman Christian speaks on The Exchange


    “Yesterday we heard from a desperate industry. About 30,000 people in 86 countries and 49 states tuned in  to our 10 hour meeting, where we heard from over 50 witnesses on the pros and cons of prorating crude oil,” said Chairman Wayne Christian.

    “Whether or not proration is the answer, it is imperative we stabilize the international crude market to protect hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs and preserve the national security that comes with American Energy Dominance.”

    “The Railroad Commission will reconvene next Tuesday for our monthly open meeting, where we will once again discuss this issue and our various options,” continued Christian. “I will continue to visit with our officials in the Trump Administration and my fellow regulators on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission about what can be done."

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for March 2020

    April 15, 2020

    AUSTIN –– The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 744 original drilling permits in March 2020 compared to 1,137 in March 2019. The March 2020 total includes 671 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, six to re-enter plugged well bores and 56 for re-completions of existing well bores.

    The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in March 2020 is 189 oil, 43 gas, 468 oil or gas, 40 injection, and four other permits.

    In March 2020, Commission staff processed 1054 oil, 313 gas and 240 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 493 oil, 127 gas, and 43 injection completions in March 2019.

    Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 3,857, compared to 2469 recorded during the same time period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. The information in prior year reports may not correlate exactly to the same results on the new report.  These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page.

     

    TABLE 1 – March 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS New DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    *A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas website

  • Commissioner Ryan Sitton Statement

    April 13, 2020

    AUSTIN - The following statement was issued by Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton in response to the international agreement formalized yesterday to reduce global oil supply and in advance of the Commission’s proration hearing tomorrow.

    “This weekend, OPEC and additional countries reached a historic agreement to pull 9.7 million barrels of oil out of the market.  When you add the 1.5 million barrels that the US, Canada, and Brazil have already cut, the world’s supplies will have dropped over 11 million barrels from a week ago.  The question remains, should the Texas Railroad Commission do anything?

    “Much has been made of the Texas Railroad Commission’s consideration of proration of oil.  As Coronavirus has presented some of the most extraordinary challenges in our history, we are not only faced with trying to stave off a global pandemic, but now likely facing down the next great depression. "

    "Because of the extraordinary challenges and extraordinary measures that governments are taking around the world to deal with the crisis, the options and actions have a heightened impact, and therefore heightened drama.  The fact is, while our state and federal governments have taken extreme actions that clearly step outside of precedent and test the bounds of their actual constitutional power –  imposed lockdowns, shuttered business, and borrowed and spent trillions of dollars in subsidies and handouts – tomorrow we will be evaluating the application of a system that is specifically identified in our state laws, and has decades of precedent.

    “I have not advocated for Texas to prorate.  I have advocated that we consider it.  I felt that we should be open to evaluating any path that helps to bring the international oil community together in a global deal.   While I have been public about my thoughts that Texas should take a lead role in this conversation, I still have many reservations, and I will be examining heavily if and how proration could be done.  On that note, I want to give credit to my fellow commissioner Wayne Christian who I believe has publicly taken largely the same position. Yes, the three commissioners have disagreed in the past – even vehemently.  But despite media framing to the contrary, I believe that our three opinions are more similar than different.  None of us likes the idea of government control of private enterprise, but we also acknowledge that these unprecedented times require us to consider all options to bring stability to the industry that we regulate.

    “As far as tomorrow goes, I believe that any argument that the Railroad Commission should not even consider proration is simply misinformed.  The fact is we are CHARGED with this duty in Texas’ state laws.  Here are key excerpts from the Texas Natural Resources Code:   

    Sec. 85.045.  WASTE ILLEGAL AND PROHIBITED.  The production, storage, or transportation of oil or gas in a manner, in an amount, or under conditions that constitute waste is unlawful and is prohibited.

    Sec. 85.046.  WASTE.  (a)  The term "waste," among other things, specifically includes:

    (10)  production of oil in excess of transportation or market facilities or reasonable market demand, and the commission may determine when excess production exists or is imminent and ascertain the reasonable market demand.

    Sec. 85.049.  HEARING.  (a)  On verified complaint of any person interested in the subject matter that waste of oil or gas is taking place in this state or is reasonably imminent, or on its own initiative, the commission, after proper notice, may hold a hearing to determine whether or not waste is taking place or is reasonably imminent and if any rule or order should be adopted or if any other action should be taken to correct, prevent, or lessen the waste.

    Sec. 85.051.  ADOPTION OF RULE OR ORDER.  If the commission finds at the hearing that waste is taking place or is reasonably imminent, it shall adopt a rule or order in the manner provided by law as it considers reasonably required to correct, prevent, or lessen the waste.

    “Some say that this duty doesn’t make sense, that the Railroad Commission should never do this, and just let the market play out.  That is a point worth considering, but not on Tuesday.  If someone believes that this statutory framework is wrong, then they should take that up with the Texas legislature, and amend our state laws.

    “For now, we have a duty to follow the law and consider the request in front of us (remember, the Commission didn’t call this hearing on its own motion).  On that point, here are the questions that we should be weighing on Tuesday:

    1. Is waste occurring?
    2. If so, is that waste due to production in excess of market demand?
    3. If so, can that waste be effectively reduced by the RRC systematically prorating Texas production?

    “As I consider the testimony, I will be working to find the answers to these three questions.  If the answer to any of these is “no”, then I will vote against proration.  If the answers are all “yes”, then I may vote for it. 

    “I look forward to the testimony from all those who have come forth willing to provide insight on these issues, and I look forward to discussing this issue with my fellow commissioners.”   

  • RRC Follows Up on Recommendation to Temporarily Halt Gas Disconnections

    April 08, 2020

    AUSTIN – A few weeks ago the Railroad Commission of Texas recommended that gas utilities temporarily suspend disconnecting residents facing financial constraints during the current COVID-19 State of Disaster.

    Gas utilities have taken that very important step of voluntarily suspending disconnections, and today the RRC made another announcement in the process.

    In a Notice to Operators, the RRC authorized utilities to create accounting mechanisms to track COVID-19 related expenses including, but not limited to, uncollected debt, employee personal protective equipment, occupational health costs and cleaning supplies.

    “We will continue to work with utilities to help provide relief to residents facing hardships across Texas,” said Mark Evarts, RRC Market Oversight Section Director. “If utilities come to the RRC for rate change hearings in the future, we will thoroughly review the accounting of expenses accrued due to COVID-19 and determine whether they can recover those costs when their rates are set.”

    The notice sent to gas utilities can be found on the RRC website at nto-state-disaster-waiver-gas-utility-asset-accounting_04-08-2020.pdf.

  • Commissioner Craddick asks Comptroller Hegar to Issue Delay on Severance Tax Collections

    April 06, 2020

    AUSTIN – Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick sent a letter to Comptroller Glenn Hegar requesting he extend the monthly deadline to file crude oil and natural gas production taxes, as he has done with the state’s franchise tax deadline.

    In the letter, Commissioner Craddick writes: “I ask you to also consider extending the monthly deadline to file crude oil and natural gas production taxes for three to six months to weather this storm. These taxes, like others the state imposes, have been deducted from mineral payments and held in trust to be remitted to your office. Other oil producing states have taken similar measures in the past week. A delay in filings may make the difference for companies giving them time and the needed flexibility to get through this crisis.”

    Commissioner Craddick also asked that Comptroller Hegar review appraisal standards for real property interest in oil in place to determine if guidance can be made from his office to reduce the high likelihood of massive numbers of mineral appraisal protests.

    “These are unprecedented times and if we can give Texas businesses time and flexibility to weather this storm, policymakers should employ every avenue to do it,” said Commissioner Craddick.

    A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

  • RRC Increases Transparency in Hearings Process:

    New Online Portal Will Benefit the Public and Energy Industry
    April 02, 2020

    AUSTIN – Today the Railroad Commission of Texas launched the Case Administration Service Electronic System (RRC CASES) public portal, reaching another milestone in increasing transparency of the agency’s functions. 

    For the first time, operators can file hearing cases online and the public can go online and access documents in the RRC’s hearings process. Users can search hearings dockets using a variety of criteria including case number, operator name, or RRC district.

    The Hearings Division conducts hearings and prepares recommendations on issues that need resolution in oil and gas, pipeline safety, alternative fuels safety, gas utilities, and surface mining matters within the Commission’s jurisdiction.

    RRC CASES also will be beneficial for parties involved in hearings. Parties to a docket can request to become an authenticated user. Authenticated users can upload documents for filing in a docket, which will then be reviewed for acceptance by the Hearings Division’s Docket Services.

    When Docket Services approves a document for filing, it shows up in real time on the public portal for anyone to view.

    “RRC CASES continues our efforts to make the agency more efficient and transparent,” said Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian. “I am thankful for all of the hard work our staff put in to finish this project.”

    “We continue to make progress to modernize this agency saving time and money for our regulated community while increasing online access to information for the broader public,” said Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick.

    “Texans expect our government to be responsive and transparent, and the new RRC CASES system delivers,” said Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton. “Texans can look up documents related to Commission hearings anytime they want, from anywhere they want, making our state government more like the private sector and fulfilling a promise I made to increase transparency at the Railroad Commission.”

    Parties or their representatives will be able to file documents and download a file-stamped copy from their offices without having to use regular mail or make a trip to the RRC. The process should be more convenient and efficient for those appearing before the Hearings Division.

    Another benefit the public portal provides is to improve the agency’s efficiency. For example, people requesting documents through the open records process can now save time and see the information on RRC CASES.

    More than 900 dockets for 2019 and 2020 are currently available on the online portal. As new dockets are created, they will be added to RRC CASES. Currently a portion of the oil and gas docket types are available in RRC CASES. By September 1, all newly requested hearings for all docket types should be created in RRC CASES. Orders for dockets not created in RRC CASES will remain available on the Hearings Division web page.

    Visit the RRC CASES public portal at https://rrctx.force.com/s/.

    To upload a case file, visit RRC CASES authenticated user login page.

    Authenticated user request forms, a user guide and video tutorial are available on the RRC website at Hearings - RRC Cases.

  • Chairman Christian Applauds President Trump on Energy Negotiations

    April 02, 2020

    AUSTIN – Today, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian (R) applauded President Donald Trump on his international negotiations to stabilize crude oil prices.

    Crude oil futures improved after the President tweeted "Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!" Trump later went on to clarify that the cuts could be as large as 15 million barrels.

    "President Trump understands that American Energy Dominance has given us far more than economic growth and jobs," said Christian. "It has given us unprecedented national security."

    "The double punch of demand drops associated with COVID-19 and an international price war has been devastating to Texas producers and the hundreds of thousands of Texans they employ," continued Christian. "It is essential for us to stabilize the market quickly to ensure the future survival of the industry."

    Over the last few weeks, Christian has been in regular contact with both state and federal elected officials, the Department of Energy, and industry."

    Today, the Railroad Commission of Texas announced an open meeting on Tuesday, April 14th to discuss the issue of proration. You can view the posting on the Secretary of State website at https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/pubomquery$omquery.QueryViewByKey?P_OM_ID=224582&Z_CHK=32312. If you would like to submit comments with your thoughts on the issue please follow the instructions in the posting and submit by Wednesday, April 8th. The comments will be reviewed, and some commenters will be asked to testify live during the meeting.

    Chairman Christian recently discussed his views on the issue of proration in an editorial in WorldOil Magazine. You can read the op-ed at this link https://www.worldoil.com/news/2020/3/25/texas-rrc-chairman-wayne-christian-we-must-stabilize-worldwide-oil-markets.

March

  • MEDIA ADVISORY: Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton Discusses COVID-19

    Energy Demand Model Showing Global Market Oversupplied by at Least 16 Million BPD
    March 31, 2020

    Energy demand is dropping through the floor due to COVID-19 and the breakdown of the Saudi/Russia oil production alliance is flooding the global oil market with supply. These two factors have led to the oil market being oversupplied by at least 16 million BPD (likely higher).

    What does this mean for the U.S. energy industry and the national economy -- now and over the next few months?

    Join energy market expert and Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton LIVE as he discusses his real-time COVID-19 demand model -- showing the greatest oversupply in the history of the oil and gas industry.

    What:             Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Discusses His COVID-19 Global Energy Demand Model

    When:             Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 2 pm

    Where:           Expired

    Media contact: Bryan Preston, bryan.preston@rrc.texas.gov

  • Railroad Commission Adds More Online Mapping Data for Public Viewing

    March 27, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas continues to enhance transparency by adding more data to its Public Geographic Information System (GIS) Map Viewer. The public can now view information on Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) and Brownfield Response Program (BRP) sites around Texas – two programs designed to incentivize the remediation and redevelopment of abandoned oil and gas sites.

    In addition, more layers have been added to the Environmental Permits information that is already available on the GIS Viewer. The new information shows Commercial Waste Disposal Sites and Discharge Permits that are related to oil and gas activities.

    “Protecting the natural resources and the environment is a critical part of our agency’s mission in the energy industry,” said Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director.

    “The GIS data we added helps residents, operators and local governments easily access information related to the variety of work we do in remediation, cleanups and waste disposal around Texas.”

    The VCP and BRP data on the interactive map includes information such as project size, project status, and Certificate of Completion for closed sites. Communities, engineers and banks can find the information very useful if they are planning any redevelopment initiatives near these sites.

    The RRC’s Environmental Permit and Support Unit (EPS) will have a GIS map layer that identifies discharges, and all commercial waste management facilities, which includes disposal, reclamation, recycling and separation facilities. The new data will allow anyone to view information including the operator name, permit numbers and the types of wastes received and processed at the facility. Oil and gas operators and waste haulers can use the information to locate the most convenient authorized disposal facilities.  

    The new data is housed in the Public GIS Viewer at https://gis.rrc.texas.gov/GISViewer, and the user guide is available in the application as well as on the Public GIS Viewer webpage.

  • It’s an Important Time to Know Before You Dig

    March 27, 2020

    AUSTIN – With many areas of Texas under local stay-at-home orders because of COVID-19 concerns, homeowners may have extra time on their hands to get their back yards ready for the summer or for other landscaping projects. 

    But residents shouldn’t forget an important safety reminder before digging. They need to call 811 if digging deeper than 16 inches, in order to know where underground pipelines and utility lines are located.

    It’s the law. Homeowners, excavators and contractors are required to call 811 at least two days prior to digging. A caller can tell the operator the location of the dig, and affected pipeline and utility companies in the area will send locators to the dig site to mark the approximate location of buried lines with flags or paint.

    The call helps prevent injuries, pipeline damage, and unnecessary gas, water, or Internet outages in neighborhoods. Homeowners could also be liable for potential fines and costly repairs for striking and breaking an underground utility line.

    In the current COVID-19 situation Texas 811 continues to provide the same level of critical public safety service as before.

    The call to 811 is free and invaluable to you, your family and neighbors. Homeowners can also file an online request to locate on the Texas 811 website at https://txhop.texas811.org/.

  • RRC Launches Successful Pilot Webinar for Alternative Fuels Safety Training

    March 26, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas has now made it more efficient for individuals in the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry to get vital safety training.

    Earlier this month the RRC conducted its first webinar for LPG dispenser operators to receive continuing education safety training.

    The individuals perform services for a variety of activities Texans are involved in. They fill propane cylinders used for barbecue pits and deep fryers, as well as cylinders used for forklifts and industrial equipment. They also fill propane tanks used in vehicles as an alternative to gasoline, and in recreational vehicles that use it to supply their appliances.

    “This was an initiative we took as we continue to look for ways to serve the alternative fuels industry better,” said April Richardson, Alternative Fuels Safety Director. 

    “The online training is an easy way for us to reach a large audience across the state at one time and save individuals the time and money they would have spent traveling to Austin for the training.”

    More continuing education safety training webinars are scheduled in March and April with additional classes being added. The webinars will be posted on the agency's Calendar of Events which can be found on the RRC Alternative Fuels Events page. This online training will also be valuable in instances where large gatherings in one place may be prohibitive, such as the current COVID-19 situation in Texas.

    Individuals seeking a new certification are still required to take their initial training in person.

  • RRC Chairman Wayne Christian Comments on Oil Markets, Proration, and Filling SPR

    March 20, 2020

    AUSTIN – As Saudi Arabia and Russia flood the international energy market with a glut of crude oil, prices have dropped to unsustainable levels that threaten the future of the Texas oil and gas industry, its associated benefits to the state economy, and American energy dominance.

    The United States recently became the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world, producing a record 12.4 million barrels in August 2019. Texas is responsible for about 40% of this production. The industry directly employs more than 361,271 Texans and exceeded $116 billion in taxes and royalty payments over the last decade, including a record $16.3 billion in 2019. 

    None of this is temporary, as the U.S. Geologic Survey assessed a recent oil discovery in the West Texas to be 46 billion barrels of oil. RS Energy Group estimates this find could actually be as large as 230 billion barrels. This is the largest oil find in the history of the world. To put this in perspective, proven reserves in the U.S. from Alaska to Brownsville were estimated to be 36.4 billion barrels in 2014.

    In order to stabilize markets, a few oil and gas producers have suggested that the Railroad Commission of Texas resume prorating the production of oil.

    "I am very concerned about the impact the international oil market instability has on the Texas economy, state budget, and the hundreds of thousands of Texans who rely on the oil and gas industry for a paycheck," said RRC Chairman Wayne Christian. "A couple of operators have suggested pro-rationing oil as a solution. While I am open to any and all ideas to protect the Texas Miracle, as a free-market conservative I have a number of reservations about this approach." 

    "First, Texas does not operate in a vacuum. If we prorate our oil, there is no guarantee other nations, or even states will follow suit," continued Christian. "From a practical standpoint, the Railroad Commission has not prorated oil in over forty years; we do not have staff at the agency with experience in this process and our IT capabilities to handle this process are limited at best.“

    Earlier this morning, Chairman Christian had a conference call with the Department of Energy (DOE) to discuss what the United States can do to stabilize the oil market. On the call, the DOE asked Christian to notify Texas operators that they have initiated an initial solicitation for 30 million barrels to begin filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). 

    Christian instructed staff to put out a notice to operators to ensure the Texas industry is aware of this opportunity. You can read the notice to operators here on the RRC website.

    ###


    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June of 2019, Christian was elected to lead the agency as Chairman by his fellow commissioners. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren

  • RRC Commissioners Assess Nearly $800,000 in Penalties

    March 09, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $781,554 in fines involving 237 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference this week. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Thirty six dockets involved$268,704 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings. Details on these Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $47,375 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $465,475 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for December 2019

    March 03, 2020

    AUSTIN –– Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for December 2019 came from 174,016 oil wells and 87,595 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from January 2019 to December 2019, total Texas reported production was 1.455 billion barrels of crude oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s website .

    TABLE 1 - December 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.


    TABLE 2 – AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION**

    PRODUCT

    December 2019 TOTAL

    December 2018 TOTAL

    Crude Oil

    3,298,738 BBLS

    2,910,743 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    22,827,243 mcf

    20,881,305 mcf

    **Preliminary Reported Totals


    TABLE 3 - December 2018 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL

    Crude Oil

    128,085,300 BBLS

    90,233,019 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    831,691,033 mcf

    647,320,468 mcf

     

    TABLE 4  December 2019 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     

    MIDLAND

    12,645,264

     

    MARTIN

    8,156,706

     

    REEVES

    7,518,660

     

    KARNES

    7,062,910

     

    HOWARD

    5,479,726

     

    UPTON

    5,160,143

     

    LOVING

    4,295,291

     

    REAGAN

    3,540,241

     

    GLASSCOCK

    3,538,147

     

    LA SALLE

    3,358,663

     

    TABLE 5 – December 2019 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     

    REEVES

    77,198,501

     

    WEBB

    53,737,348

     

    MIDLAND

    33,977,655

     

    CULBERSON

    30,954,482

     

    TARRANT

    28,539,118

     

    PANOLA

    27,836,230

     

    KARNES

    24,012,715

     

    LOVING

    23,220,880

     

    REAGAN

    20,835,423

     

    UPTON

    20,214,406

     

    TABLE 6 – December 2019 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     

    REEVES

    5,455,369

     

    CULBERSON

    2,609,981

     

    LOVING

    2,031,271

     

    WEBB

    1,103,249

     

    DE WITT

    1,024,594

     

    KARNES

    998,473

     

    DIMMIT

    437,353

     

    LIVE OAK

    268,384

     

    MCMULLEN

    252,105

     

    LA SALLE

    248,283

February

  • Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for January 2020

    February 25, 2020

    AUSTIN ––The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 1,133 original drilling permits in January 2020 compared 1,199 in January 2019. The January 2020 total included 1,041 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, eight to re-enter plugged well bores and 84 for re-completions of existing well bores. The breakdown of well types for those permits is 310 oil, 61 gas, 751 oil or gas, 33 injection, zero service and one other permit.

    In January 2020, Commission staff processed 927 oil, 222 gas and 157 injection completions compared to 793 oil, 252 gas, 150 injection completions in January 2019. Total well completions processed for 2020 year to date are 1,306; up from 1,195 recorded during the same time period in 2019.

    Recent Information Technology changes are allowing the Commission to report more detailed data on drilling permits and well completions each month. These technological improvements provide more statistics and transparency, and the new report is available on the Commission’s monthly drilling completion summaries web page.

     

    TABLE 1 – January 2020 TEXAS OIL AND GAS NEW DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    *A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas website here.

  • Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton Releases First Report on Natural Gas Flaring in Texas

    February 18, 2020

    AUSTIN - Today Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton will publicly release his first report on flaring in the state of Texas. Commissioner Sitton's 2020 Texas Natural Gas Flaring Report is the result of extensive data compiling and analysis, and presents the first comprehensive, fact-based contextual picture of flaring in the nation's largest energy-producing state.

    Commissioner Sitton will discuss his report via online video webinar at 3:30 p.m. Central time today and will take questions from media who log on. Please use the following link to access the webinar:

    Click to access and download the report and underlying data.

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for November 2019

    February 14, 2020

    AUSTIN –– Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for November 2019 came from 173,528 oil wells and 88,349 gas wells.

    The RRC reports that from December 2018 to November 2019, total Texas reported production was 1.444 billion barrels of crude oil and 9.7 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.

    For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s website.

    TABLE 1 - November 2019 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    * These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.

    TABLE 2 – AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION**

    PRODUCT

    November 2019 TOTAL

    November 2018 TOTAL

    Crude Oil

    3,352,056 BBLS

    3,006,399 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    23,288,161 mcf

    21,150,604 mcf

    **Preliminary Reported Totals

    TABLE 3 - November 2018 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL

    Crude Oil

    122,684,197 BBLS

    90,191,982 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    790,550,528 mcf

    634,518,124 mcf

    TABLE 4November 2019 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

     1

    MIDLAND

    11,999,922

     2

    MARTIN

    8,545,212

     3

    KARNES

    7,299,029

     4

    REEVES

    6,916,823

     5

    HOWARD

    5,219,817

     6

    UPTON

    4,576,301

     7

    LOVING

    4,242,515

     8

    REAGAN

    3,511,169

     9

    LA SALLE

    3,470,117

     10

    WARD

    3,467,309

    TABLE 5 – November 2019 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

     1

    REEVES

    71,847,083

     2

    WEBB

    49,599,737

     3

    MIDLAND

    32,020,772

     4

    TARRANT

    27,698,234

     5

    PANOLA

    26,379,249

     6

    CULBERSON

    26,108,693

     7

    KARNES

    23,948,736

     8

    LOVING

    23,020,578

     9

    REAGAN

    20,997,942

     10

    UPTON

    18,670,992

     

    TABLE 6 – November 2019 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

     1

    REEVES

    4,911,147

     2

    CULBERSON

    2,116,198

     3

    LOVING

    1,913,203

     4

    DIMMIT

    1,058,301

     5

    WEBB

    961,275

     6

    KARNES

    953,687

     7

    DE WITT

    902,132

     8

    LIVE OAK

    256,179

     9

    LA SALLE

    161,568

     10

    WHEELER

    142,348

  • Railroad Commissioners Act to Help Boost Energy Production in Texas

    February 14, 2020

    AUSTIN – Texas Railroad Commissioners this week adopted a key rule amendment to adapt oil and gas regulations to an evolving energy exploration landscape in the state. 

    Commissioners unanimously voted to amend RRC Rule 3.40 Assignment of Acreage to Pooled Development and Proration Units.

    The rule restricted exploration in unconventional fracture treated (UFT) fields when oil and gas mineral ownership is divided at different depths below the surface. A UFT field is a field in which horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing must be used to recover oil and gas.

    To take advantage of technological advances that can tap into once inaccessible hydrocarbon resources in UFT fields, Commissioners voted to allow assignment of acreage to multiple wells in these fields. This rule revision will further protect mineral owner interest and allow access to additional resources.

    “This rule change is a win-win for industry and regulators, saving both agency staff and energy producers time and resources,” said Chairman Wayne Christian. “I am thankful for the hard work that went into modernizing these rules.”

    “I appreciate the tremendous effort that Commission staff put into revising this rule,” said Commissioner Christi Craddick. “Working together with industry and stakeholders, these changes help to streamline our processes and increase production.”

    “Our job as Commissioners is to ensure that the state’s rules keep up with advancing technology,” said Commissioner Ryan Sitton. “Amending Rule 40 will enable energy producers to responsibly extract more energy resources by recognizing that the way energy is produced has evolved over time. All Texans win in the form of lower energy prices with this change.”

    The rule amendments adopted by Commissioners go into effect March 3, 2020.

     

  • Railroad Commission Chairman Christian Discusses Flaring In Texas

    February 10, 2020

    AUSTIN – Flaring is a process used primarily in the production of crude oil in which excess natural gas produced with the oil is burned off at the well head. An operator who wants to flare gas must receive authorization from the Railroad Commission of Texas. 

    "There are many misconceptions about what flaring is and how much we are flaring in Texas," said Chairman Wayne Christian. "This uncertainty has led to confusion and concern among the general public and on Wall Street, limiting the funding opportunities for independent energy producers across the state." 

    To learn more about the process of flaring and how it is regulated, click here

    "As I previously stated in an opinion piece for USA Today (read here), flaring is an important part of America’s rise to global energy dominance and is a safer alternative to venting," continued Christian. "However, I am very concerned about the rate of flaring in Texas and have expressed this as the first commissioner in recent memory to vote against a flaring permit."

    Last fall, Chairman Christian instructed staff to analyze flaring in Texas. Their analysis shows that the average monthly statewide flaring rate since January 2014 has been about 1.24 percent, fluctuating between 0.8 percent to 2.2 percent. The data is taken from flaring amounts and gas production reported on operators’ monthly production reports to the Commission. 

    Operators receiving permits to flare are required to report to the Commission gas volumes flared on their monthly Production Report form (Form PR). On the forms, operators must include actual, metered volumes at the RRC lease level. 

    RRC’s flaring rule allows an operator to flare gas while drilling a well and for up to 10 days after a well’s completion to conduct well potential testing. Flaring from wells for extended periods may be necessary if a well is drilled in areas new to exploration where pipelines have not been constructed. Other reasons for flaring include: gas plant shutdowns; repairing a compressor or gas line or well; or other maintenance. In existing production areas, flaring also may be necessary because operating pipelines may have reached capacity. 

    “I truly believe much of our state’s flaring will be eliminated as we expand our pipeline capacity and export infrastructure for LNG,” continued Christian. “But in the meantime, I would love to hear suggestions from industry and the public on creative ways we can curb this practice and encourage using this gas for its intended purpose, powering Texas.” 


    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June of 2019, Christian was elected to lead the agency as Chairman by his fellow commissioners. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. 

January

  • Christian Gives Keynote Address at World Oil Forecast Breakfast

    January 31, 2020

    AUSTIN – Today, Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian gave the keynote address at the 94th Annual World Oil Forecast Breakfast.

    “The United States is the top producer of oil and gas in the world, and Texas is the top producer and exporter in the nation,” said Christian. “While short-term we have seen a slight decline in growth, the industry still managed to produce a record 1.8 billion barrels of oil and 10.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2019.”

    This growth is not temporary, as Texas is blessed with tremendous reserves, including the largest find in the history of the world. The United States Geologic Survey assessed a recent discovery in the Permian Basin to be 46 billion barrels of oil and according to RS Energy Group, it could be as large as 230 billion barrels. To put this in perspective, proven oil reserves in the U.S. from Alaska to Brownsville were estimated to be 36.4 billion barrels in 2014.

    “The growth of the oil and gas industry in Texas over the last decade has grown our state’s economy, provided energy sovereignty, and most importantly improved our national security,” continued Christian. “Meanwhile, environmentally since 1970, the six major pollutants regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) have fallen by 73 percent and worldwide air pollution-related deaths have fallen 27 years in a row. These are just two examples that show both the economy and environment can flourish concurrently - they are not mutually exclusive.”

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June of 2019, Christian was elected to lead the agency as Chairman by his fellow commissioners. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren.

  • Railroad Commission Launches Two More Interactive Statewide Data Maps

    Provides Drilling Permit and Spud Data
    January 27, 2020

    AUSTIN– The Railroad Commission of Texas this week launches two more interactive data maps showing oil and gas drilling permit approvals and the number of wells spudded, which is when operators begin drilling a well. Information is displayed by counts, operators, county locations and on a statewide level. The data is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week beginning with Calendar Year 2018.

    “With this latest interactive data on the Commission’s drilling permit approvals and wells spudded, our agency is providing more detailed insight into Texas’ energy industry,” said Wei Wang, RRC’s Executive Director. “This helps enhance our regulatory transparency and continues educating the public about one of the state’s top economic drivers.”

    The Commission’s first series of interactive data on oil and gas production and plugged abandoned wells is very popular with nearly 8,000 unique page views for oil and gas production data and nearly 1,400 unique page views for the abandoned well plugging data since the information’s release in October 2019.

    View the RRC Approved Drilling Permits Data Visualization Map.

    The map includes:

    • Total count of approved drilling permits;
    • Bar chart for top 10 counties;
    • Bar chart for top 10 operators;
    • Selection for drilling permit filing purpose such as a new drill, recompletion of an existing well or to re-enter an existing well;
    • Map showing countywide approved permit count; and
    • Map for lat/long for each American Petroleum Institute (API) well number

    Once approved, RRC drilling permits are valid for two years. RRC wells spudded data shows the number of wells that have begun drilling operations.  

    View the Wells Spudded Data Visualization map.

    The map includes:

    • Count of wells spudded* in a month;
    • Bar chart for top 10 counties;
    • Bar chart for top 10 operators;
    • Map showing countywide count of wells spudded; and
    • Map for lat/long for each American Petroleum Institute (API) well number

    *As one of the first steps of the well completion process, the number of wells spudded in a month may provide a snapshot of drilling in a particular area.  RRC’s Well Compliance Department uses this data to monitor and regulate well completion activity on a monthly basis.

    Previously released data visualization maps can be found below:

    Oil & Gas Production Data Visualization

    Plugged Abandoned Wells (State Managed Well Data Visualization)

     

  • RRC Staff Processing Standard Drilling Permits in Two Days

    Drilling Permit Processing Record Set for Second Year in a Row
    January 17, 2020

    AUSTIN –– For two years in a row since 2018, Railroad Commission of Texas staff have set a historic record of taking just two days on average to process standard drilling permits, one day below the Legislative requirement. This efficiency helps foster the growth of energy production statewide. Standard drilling permits are permits that do not require exceptions to Commission rules such spacing or density rules.

    During Calendar Year 2019 the RRC processed a total of 11,654 new drilling permits.

    “The Railroad Commission’s technological solutions enables operators to quickly apply for and receive drilling permits,” said RRC Executive Director Wei Wang. “Nearly 99 percent of operators apply for drilling permits online. This allows our staff to thoroughly and quickly review each application to ensure operators meet all drilling permit requirements.”

    Texas leads the nation in oil and gas production with the Permian Basin in West Texas ranking as the top energy production region nationwide. In the last 12 months Texas operators reported 1.438 billion barrels of oil produced and almost 10 trillion cubic feet of total gas.

    Additionally, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Permian Basin contains 66 billion barrels of oil, nearly 300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 21 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the Midland and Delaware Basins.

    “Texas will continue to be the nation’s leader in energy production,” Wang said. “The Railroad Commission’s efficient, timely permit review processes are essential to the continued development of the state’s energy resources and ultimately support Texas’ economic prosperity.” 

    Obtaining a drilling permit or Form W-1 from the Commission is one of the first steps oil and gas operators must take along with filing an Organization Report or P-5 and posting necessary bonds. Drilling permits indicate if a well will be vertical or horizontal; the well’s proposed location; and specific hydrocarbon fields to be produced. Once approved, drilling permits are valid for two years. Drilling permits filed by operators and approved by RRC staff can be searched by using the Commission’s online “Drilling Permit (W-1) " Query.

  • RRC Commissioners Assess Nearly $900,000 in Penalties

    January 16, 2020

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $899,005 in fines involving 222 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ conference this week. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety. 

    Forty-four dockets involved $455,409 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings. Details on these Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $43,546 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $400,050 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. Details on all these Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC website here.

    In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.





Commissioners