Agency News Items - 2023
Ample Natural Gas Supply Available During Winter Storm Mara: RRC is Monitoring Round-the-ClockJanuary 31, 2023
AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas’ preparations for Winter Storm Mara began well ahead of time as we began tracking the approaching weather last week; activated the RRC Emergency Management Team on Sunday; and also issued a notice to operators on Sunday on the incoming impact to the state.
The agency has been meeting daily for the last three days with gas utilities that serve residences, and held conference calls this morning with those utilities as well as the state’s major oil and gas producers and pipeline operators.
All facets the gas supply chain - production, pipeline transportation and underground gas storage - are reporting no major issues. Preliminary estimates from S&P Global indicate daily production of 25 billion cubic feet. Gas supply remains steady throughout the supply chain.
The RRC is committed to helping ensure there is adequate gas supply for home heating and power generation to protect millions of Texans during the winter storm.
We are also working at the State Operations Center, side by side with agencies such as the Public Utility Commission, ERCOT and the Texas Department of Transportation to address any requests for assistance oil and gas operators have.
Operators are dealing with icy road conditions in several parts of the state that could affect movement of crews and equipment, and the RRC is working directly with state and local partners to address those issues. We want to remind operators and all Texans to be mindful of road conditions and stay safe.
RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $630,000 in PenaltiesJanuary 20, 2023
AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $630,917 in fines involving 161 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on Wednesday. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.
Nine dockets involved $73,667 in penalties after operators failed to appear at Commission enforcement proceedings. Master Default Orders can be found on the RRC Hearings Division webpage.
Operators were ordered to come into compliance with Commission rules and assessed $44,600 for oil and gas, LP-Gas or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $512,650 for violations of the Commission’s Pipeline Damage Prevention rules. Master Agreed Orders can be found on the RRC General Counsel webpage.
In the absence of timely motions for rehearing, decisions are final as stated in these final orders.
Numbers Show Natural Gas Supply in Texas Held up During Winter Storm ElliottJanuary 17, 2023
The RRC’s commitment to ensure the resilience of natural gas infrastructure during cold weather was tested last month during Winter Storm Elliott with sub-freezing temperatures that lasted several days during the Christmas weekend. The numbers are in and show that there was ample natural gas supply to help the state’s electricity supply chain and keep Texans safe.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration analysis below shows the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) energy mixes for electricity generation in the state for the past year. As the chart reflects, natural gas fired electric generation reached the highest peak for the entirety of 2022 on December 23 during Winter Storm Elliott, surpassing that of the peak days last summer.
Furthermore, data from S&P Global Platt shows the daily average of Texas onshore natural gas production during Elliott was 24.89 Billion cubic feet (Bcf) which was even more than the daily average from the prior winter.
The RRC will continue its diligent work to inspect natural gas facilities supporting the electricity supply chain throughout this winter and ensure infrastructure is hardened against extreme weather conditions. Just as what was done during Elliott, staff will work around the clock to help ensure Texans’ safety in any upcoming cold weather.
Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for October 2022January 06, 2023
AUSTIN – Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas for October 2022 came from 161,356 oil wells and 80,281 gas wells.
The RRC reports that from November 2021 to October 2022, total Texas reported production was 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 11.2 trillion cubic feet of total gas. Crude oil production reported by the RRC is limited to oil produced from oil leases and does not include condensate, which is reported separately by the RRC.
For additional oil and gas production statistics, including the ranking of each Texas County by crude oil, total gas and condensate production, visit the RRC’s website at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/research-and-statistics/production-data/texas-monthly-oil-gas-production/.
TABLE 1 (October 2022): Statewide Production*
110,720,603 bbls (barrels)
848,930,463 mcf (thousand cubic feet)
* These are preliminary figures based on production volumes reported by operators and will be updated as late and corrected production reports are received.
TABLE 2 (October 2021): Statewide Production
Updated Reported Total Volume
TABLE 3 (October 2022): Texas Top 10 Crude Oil Producing Counties Ranked by Preliminary Production
Crude Oil (bbls)
TABLE 4 (October 2022): Texas Top 10 Total Gas (Gas Well Gas & Casinghead) Producing Counties Ranked by Preliminary Production
Total Gas (mcf)
TABLE 5 (October 2022): Texas Top 10 Total Condensate Producing Counties Ranked by Preliminary Production
Texas Drilling Permit and Completion Statistics for December 2022January 05, 2023
AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 869 original drilling permits in December 2022 compared to 842 in December 2021. The December 2022 total includes 797 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, four to re-enter plugged wellbores and 45 for re-completions of existing wellbores.
The breakdown of well types for original drilling permits in December 2022 is 161 oil, 71 gas, 598 oil or gas, 27 injection and 12 other permits.
In December 2022, Commission staff processed 815 oil, 167 gas and 231 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions, compared to 605 oil, 99 gas and 211 injection completions in December 2021.
Total well completions processed for 2022 for new drills, re-entries and re-completions are 13,415 compared to 9,269 recorded in 2021.
Detailed data on drilling permits and well completions for the month can be found at this link:
TABLE 1 – DECEMBER 2022 TEXAS OIL AND GAS NEW DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*
PERMITS TO DRILL
NEW OIL/GAS HOLES
(1) SAN ANTONIO AREA
(2) REFUGIO AREA
(3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS
(4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS
(5) EAST CENTRAL TX
(6) EAST TEXAS
(7B) WEST CENTRAL TX
(7C) SAN ANGELO AREA
(8A) LUBBOCK AREA
(9) NORTH TEXAS
*A district map is available on the Railroad Commission of Texas website at https://rrc.texas.gov/media/3bkhbut0/districts_color_8x11.pdf.
RRC Unveils Interactive Map of Orphaned Wells Being Plugged with the Use of Federal FundingJanuary 03, 2023
AUSTIN – In yet another move to improve transparency, the Railroad Commission has launched an interactive map of ongoing orphan well plugging with the use of federal infrastructure funding.
The data visualization allows users to choose what they see on the map, including which county to view, the fiscal year, and whether the wells have been plugged or have had a work order issued to be plugged.
The RRC received a $25 million initial grant to plug abandoned oil and gas wells from the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2022. Texas was the first state in the country to start plugging abandoned oil and gas wells using federal funds with projects in Refugio County in October (video).
The funds are part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which dedicated the funds to plug abandoned oil and gas wells.
So far, the agency, which has the critical mission of protecting public safety and environment, has already plugged 128 orphaned wells with the federal funding and plans to plug about 800 abandoned wells by the end of the fiscal year.
“Thanks to our well-established well plugging program, we were able to hit the ground running to start plugging wells with the federal funds,” said Clay Woodul, RRC Assistant Director of the Oil and Gas Division for Field Operations. “The data visualization allows anybody with access to the Internet to see our progress plugging wells the federal funds.”
RRC’s State Managed Plugging Program, which utilizes revenue from industry fees and fines, has exceeded performance measures set by the Texas Legislature for six consecutive fiscal years.
The RRC may receive up to $318 million in additional formula funding from the federal government to plug orphaned wells. More information and links can be found via the following webpage: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/environmental-cleanup-programs/federally-funded-well-plugging/.