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.

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 http://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.