Railroad Commission Exceeds Well Plugging Goals

Plugs More than 1,700 Abandoned Wells in FY 2019

September 20, 2019

AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission in Fiscal Year 2019 (Sept. 1, 2018 – Aug. 31, 2019) plugged more than 1,700 abandoned wells. This exceeded the performance measure goal set by the Texas Legislature to plug 979 abandoned wells in FY 2019. 

Most operators plug their own wells when the wells are no longer productive. To protect land and water resources, the Commission uses industry fees paid into the Oil & Gas Regulation and Cleanup Fund to plug abandoned wells. No Texas taxpayer dollars are used.

“In FY 2018, we began a very aggressive effort to increase the number of abandoned wells the agency plugs every year,” RRC Executive Director Wei Wang said.

“In FY 18, we plugged 1,364 abandoned wells. Combining that total with the 1,710 wells plugged this fiscal year, we have plugged more than 3,000 abandoned wells in the FY 2018-19 biennium greatly exceeding the Legislative goal set for our agency to plug more than 1,900 wells over this two-year period.”

Since the state-managed well plugging program was established in 1984, the RRC has plugged more than 39,500 abandoned wells across Texas restoring land used in energy production back to a safe condition.

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/.