RRC Open Meeting Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

The next RRC Open Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday June, 22 at 10:30 a.m. (please note the different start time). The virtual meeting can be viewed live at this link: http://www.adminmonitor.com/tx/rrc/open_meeting/20210622/

News

Christi Craddick's Press Room

News Items - 2020

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

     

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

     





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