RRC Commissioners Approve FY 2018-19 Well Plugging and Site Remediation Plans

RRC to Plug Up to 3,000 Orphan Wells During Biennium

November 07, 2017

AUSTIN – All three Texas Railroad Commissioners today approved the Railroad Commission’s 2018-19 well plugging plan. Under this proposal, the Commission plans to plug up to 3,000 abandoned wells over the biennium. The estimated cost of the well plugging plan is $67 million, which will come from fees paid by oil and gas operators into the Oil & Gas Regulation & Cleanup Fund (OGRC) and the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF). No taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for well plugging activities. 

This year the 85th Texas Legislature approved allowing the Commission to use OGRC and ESF industry fees to plug wells abandoned by operators. The majority of oil and gas operators take care of their own wells, plugging a total of 10,325 in Fiscal Year 2017. 

The additional support from the Legislature will allow the Commission to substantially increase wells plugged to approximately 1,500 each year of the next biennium compared to 918 abandoned wells plugged in FY17. Since the well plugging program began in 1984, 36,610 abandoned wells have been plugged for $272 million. 

Additionally, Commissioners approved the RRC’s site remediation section’s plan to complete 259 cleanup activities at abandoned oilfield sites in FY18 using approximately $9 million from the OGRC.


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/.