RRC Steps In to Plug Wells Along the Texas Coast

February 01, 2024

AUSTIN - The Railroad Commission’s well plugging program will utilize its expertise to plug hard to reach orphaned wells located along the Coastal Bend of Texas in Baffin Bay, Humble Channel and Pita Island.

The RRC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the General Land Office (GLO) in which GLO will provide $3 million to help plug 10 wells. The RRC will utilize marsh buggies and any other specialized equipment needed to reach and plug the wells. 

Coastal Bend area
Coastal Bend area where wells are located

This latest project is yet another example of how the RRC uses its award-winning plugging program to assist other agencies. In the past several years, the Commission has plugged a well for the GLO in the Bolivar Peninsula; helped the National Park Service by removing hazardous casing from previously plugged wells at the Big Thicket National Preserved in East Texas; and plugged wells at another popular national park, Padre Island National Seashore, in 2021.

“This year marks the 40-year anniversary of the RRC's nationally recognized State Managed Plugging Program," said RRC Executive Director Wei Wang. “We have plugged more than 45,000 wells during that time, and our extensive experience gives us the expertise that other agencies can rely on. The RRC is always willing to help in the important mission of protecting communities and the environment around our great state."

The RRC also exceeds high performance standards for well plugging set by the Texas Legislature. The agency has plugged more wells than the annual legislative goals for seven straight years.

About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit https://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.