News

Agency News Items - 2024

February

  • Texas Oil & Gas Regulator Supports House Republican Vote to Repeal Biden’s LNG Export Ban

    February 15, 2024

    In January 2024, the Biden Administration announced a pause on permits for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects. In response to this pause, it was announced that the U.S. House of Representatives would be voting on H.R. 7176, the Unlocking Domestic LNG Potential Act (Rep. Pflueger, TX-11), which would repeal the Biden Administration’s ban on new LNG export projects. Following the news, Texas Railroad Commission Wayne Christian said the following:

    “U.S. LNG is life-saving energy to our allies, and I don’t know about the president, but I’d much rather have the world buying American natural gas over foreign or hostile nations,” said Commissioner Christian. “President Joe Biden’s politically motivated pause on new LNG export projects hurts consumers, Texans’ jobs, slows the U.S. economy, makes energy more expensive, and jeopardizes the lives our foreign allies.”

    “H.R. 7176 will put pressure on the Biden Administration to remove their political and unnecessary blockade on LNG export projects which are vital to Texas, America, and the world. It’s a great bill, and I applaud Rep. Pfluger and House Republicans for fighting back,” continued Christian. “If America cuts off LNG shipments, it will allow China, Iran, and Russia’s influence to grow. Our nation should be THE global energy leader – not through unreliable and heavily subsidized “green” energy – but through the responsible production and export of oil and gas.”

    To read the letter click here.

  • Texas Drilling Permit and Completion Statistics for January 2024

    February 05, 2024

    The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 799 original drilling permits in January 2024. The total includes 748 to drill new oil or gas wells, 10 to re-enter plugged wellbores and 39 for re-completions of existing wellbores.

    The breakdown of well types for total original drilling permits in January 2024 is: 135 oil, 36 gas, 558 oil and gas, 49 injection, and 21 other permits.

    In January 2024, Commission staff processed 770 oil, 216 gas and 319 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions.

    Detailed data on drilling permits and well completions for the month can be found at this link:

    https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/research-and-statistics/drilling-information/monthly-drilling-completion-and-plugging-summaries/

     

    TABLE 1 – January 2024  TEXAS OIL AND GAS NEW DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT

    PERMITS TO DRILL
    NEW OIL/GAS HOLES

    NEW OIL COMPLETIONS

    NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    95

    86

    34

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    55

    50

    25

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    6

    19

    14

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    15

    2

    6

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    9

    2

    0

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    26

    8

    24

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    14

    14

    0

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    103

    98

    0

    (8) MIDLAND

    381

    363

    82

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    18

    14

    0

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    19

    30

    5

    (10) PANHANDLE

    7

    1

    2

    TOTAL

    748

    687

    192

     

    # # #

  • RRC Commissioners Assess $2 million in Penalties

    February 02, 2024

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $1,956,012 in fines involving 616 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ Conference on Tuesday. The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state’s oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety.

    Twenty-four dockets involved $406,262 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 $155,900 for oil and gas, LP-Gas, critical infrastructure, or pipeline safety rule violations. Pipeline operators and excavators were assessed $1,393,850 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.

  • 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 than annual legislative goals for seven straight years.

January

  • RRC Successfully Plugs Uncontrolled Water Flow in Crane County

    January 31, 2024

    AUSTIN- This week marked the end of an extensive project in the Railroad Commission’s efforts to protect environmental and public safety.

    On Monday, the RRC completed plugging a well that had an uncontrolled water flow in Crane County that began in December.

    Inspectors in West Texas were dispatched within hours of the water flow being reported, and construction almost immediately began on lined pits and berms to contain the flow and protect any threat to freshwater.

    The water flow stopped on January 21. The well is now cased and cemented and freshwater zones are protected.

    The agency has done extensive research, and the well is not on any RRC records, indicating no evidence that this is an oil and gas well. Water sampling further suggests this may not have been an oil and gas well.

    The water sample had high salt content, which would not be surprising given the fact that the site is over the Salado Formation which is a salt formation.  

    Although there is no evidence to suggest that this is an orphan oil and gas well, the RRC acted quickly to remediate the water flow in Crane County because the RRC will make every effort possible to protect freshwater in Texas.

    We are continuing to investigate the historical geological features in the area and working with entities such as the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology for potential assistance in understanding historical geology.

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for November 2023

    January 30, 2024

    Statewide and county crude oil and natural gas production for November 2023 reported in the tables below came from 162,789 oil wells and 86,491 gas wells.

    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 full oil and gas production statistics, you can visit the links below.

    Statewide totals: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/research-and-statistics/production-data/texas-monthly-oil-gas-production/

    County rankings: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/research-and-statistics/production-data/texas-monthly-oil-gas-production-by-county-ranking/

    TABLE 1 - November 2023 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    103,432,924 BBLS (barrels)

    3,447,764 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    859,711,071 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    28,657,036 mcf

    * 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 - November 2022 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    Crude Oil

    133,459,476 BBLS

    104,364,728 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    963,094,475 mcf

    776,813,155 mcf

     

    TABLE 3 November 2023 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

    1.

    MARTIN

    16,357,645

    2.

    MIDLAND

    15,583,934

    3.

    HOWARD

    6,214,946

    4.

    UPTON

    5,799,258

    5.

    KARNES

    5,622,802

    6.

    LOVING

    4,433,694

    7.

    GLASSCOCK

    4,047,901

    8.

    REAGAN

    3,604,967

    9.

    REEVES

    3,143,556

    10.

    ANDREWS

    3,069,819

    TABLE 4 – November 2023 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

    1.

    WEBB

    77,226,919

    2.

    REEVES

    73,027,225

    3.

    MIDLAND

    56,900,621

    4.

    PANOLA

    51,196,972

    5.

    MARTIN

    41,072,124

    6.

    CULBERSON

    34,707,788

    7.

    HARRISON

    33,941,541

    8.

    LOVING

    33,100,693

    9.

    UPTON

    25,232,858

    10.

    REAGAN

    25,008,615

     

    TABLE 5 – November 2023 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

    1.

    REEVES

    6,193,630

    2.

    LOVING

    3,844,042

    3.

    CULBERSON

    3,511,987

    4.

    DE WITT

    1,270,047

    5.

    KARNES

    1,105,951

    6.

    WEBB

    1,081,708

    7.

    DIMMIT

    637,033

    8.

    LIVE OAK

    453,424

    9.

    WARD

    347,021

    10.

    LA SALLE

    291,237

     

  • Christian: Biden’s LNG Policies Leave Americans with Higher Costs & Our European Allies in a Deadly Situation

    January 26, 2024

    Following news that the Biden Administration would effectively pause new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian said the following: 

    “Texas natural gas is saving the free world, and President Biden wants to end it. His administration’s pause on new liquified natural gas export (LNG) plants may recklessly endanger European lives, many of whom are facing a harsh winter with less access to life-saving energy,” said Commissioner Christian. “Europe came to rely on unreliable wind/solar energy too much. Since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the destruction of the Nord stream pipeline, and Europe’s justified ban on Russian gas, many European nations scrambled to provide reliable energy to save their citizens through importing LNG, burning wood, and reclassifying natural gas as a “green” energy source. But American LNG stepped up for our allies in their hour of need, with 20% of our LNG exports going to Europe. But this new pause could put those European citizens right back winter’s deadly, cold grip this season.”

    Christian continued, “This move by the Biden Administration is just the latest in a long line of actions to dismantle American oil and gas production and does NOT eliminate emissions. It simply exports them to dirtier and more hostile producers overseas. President Biden will always choose his climate catastrophist friends over increasing fossil fuel production to lower energy costs—for Americans and our allies.

    Anti-energy policies by the Biden Administration and the woke left will decrease human flourishing and lead to death. Our energy strategy should be benefiting mankind by increasing production of our domestic fossil fuels and exporting that reliable energy.”

     

    Background:

    Previously, Commissioner Christan sent a letter to President Biden urging him not to move forward with the pause on new LNG project.



    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Chairman Christian here.

  • Texas Oil & Gas Commissioner Slams Biden Administration’s Pending Decision to Cap US LNG Exports

    January 24, 2024

    Austin – Recent media reports revealed that the Biden Administration is considering a pause on permits for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects. Following the news, Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm criticizing the potential action and encouraging them to grow LNG exports to support America’s allies abroad.  

    “America becoming energy dominant again – like in 2019 – is the key to restoring global order, and that starts with a strong LNG export industry,” said Commissioner Christian. “I don’t know about President Biden, but I’d much rather have the world buy America’s clean natural gas over gas anywhere else. LNG can be a beacon of hope, where many countries no longer produce their own fossil fuels due to the Net Zero agenda. Our energy strategy should be to increase production of our domestic fossil fuels and export that reliable energy to our allies across the globe.”

     

    Read the letter here

  • RRC Issues Notice to Operators Ahead of Harsh Winter Temperatures

    January 11, 2024

    The RRC has taken major steps to prepare for sub-freezing temperatures that are projected to grip Texas beginning this weekend. Residents and operators are encouraged to keep an eye on weather forecasts and safety alerts during this time.

    Beginning in early December, Critical Infrastructure Division inspectors spread across the state to ensure natural gas facilities on the state’s electricity supply chain map are weatherized and in compliance with RRC’s weatherization rules. All of what are known as Tier One facilities have already been inspected, in addition to ongoing inspections of other facilities on the map. Tier One facilities are gas processing plants, underground gas storage facilities, pipelines that directly connect to electricity generation plants, and oil and gas leases that produce more than 5 million cubic feet of gas per day. No violations have been identified so far; weatherization inspections will continue through the beginning of the spring.

    Another important layer in preparing for harsh weather is the amount of natural gas in underground storage in Texas. This is gas that can be utilized in case it’s needed during an emergency. At the end of November, which was the typical end of the injection season for winter, there was approximately 488.8 billion cubic feet of gas in storge, a five percent increase compared to the end of November 2022 and the highest amount in six years. The infrastructure for gas storage and withdrawal capacity has grown within a year which is a boon to protecting residents in a growing state.

    The Commission will continue its round-the-clock work to stay on top of weather conditions including coordination with other state agencies for any necessary emergency response. The RRC will remain in constant communications with operators and other agencies, as has been done during past weather emergencies, to ensure an ample gas supply as we head into the long holiday weekend in which gas markets will be closed.

    The RRC issued a Notice to Operators on incoming inclement weather which can be viewed here https://www.rrc.texas.gov/media/roxm1a2u/2024_nto_winter-weather-forecast_1-11-2024.pdf.

  • RRC Rolls Out Regulatory Framework for Produced Water Recycling Pilot Studies

    January 10, 2024

    The Railroad Commission has issued a framework for pilot programs that could greatly enhance environmental protection in Texas with the potential to recycle produced water safely and economically.

    Produced water is a byproduct of what comes to the surface during oil and gas production, and the produced water recycling framework will provide a regulatory pathway for operators to assess the effectiveness and the suitability of applying treated produced water for beneficial purposes. 

    Operators will apply for authorization to conduct pilot studies, and RRC will issue a permit or letter of authorization if the application meets requirements. The operators would compile data of how treated produced water can be reused in certain activities that are safe and protective of human health and the environment.

    Ultimately, the potential exists to reduce the amount of produced water that gets injected back into the ground, which can help reduce incidents of seismicity, as well as developing a potential water source for above ground use. 

    “This is another example of how we stay at the forefront of our critical mission of protecting public safety and the environment while we regulate an industry that is crucial to the state’s economy,” said Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director. “This framework opens up the potential to use treated produced water in ways that have never been seen before in Texas, which is a win-win for conserving water resources, and protecting the environment and Texans.”  

    The Commission will focus attention on the effectiveness of treatment technologies and examine proper methods for gathering, storing, treating, testing, and documenting how treated water quality evolves and is controlled in each pilot facility. The oil and gas industry has been using recycled produced water in oil and gas activities. The pilot studies will explore opportunities in additional beneficial uses. Treated fluid will not be allowed to be discharged to surface water during the pilot studies.  

    The produced water recycling framework is a starting point and will evolve over time in collaboration with the work of others such as the academic community, consortia, industry, and community leaders.

    The information obtained by these pilot studies can be used to develop more focused regulation on produced water recycling and help guide future development.

    A copy of the framework can be found on the RRC website at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/applications-and-permits/environmental-permit-types/pilot-projects/.

  • Texas Drilling Permit and Completion Statistics for December 2023

    January 04, 2024

    The Railroad Commission of Texas issued a total of 669 original drilling permits in December 2023. The total includes 621 to drill new oil or gas wells, 14 to re-enter plugged wellbores and 33 for re-completions of existing wellbores.

    The breakdown of well types for total original drilling permits in December2023 is:  120 oil, 38 gas, 475 oil and gas, 25 injection, two service, and nine other permits.

    In December 2023, Commission staff processed 506 oil, 129 gas and 77 injection completions for new drills, re-entries and re-completions.

    Detailed data on drilling permits and well completions for the month can be found at this link:

    https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/research-and-statistics/drilling-information/monthly-drilling-completion-and-plugging-summaries/

    TABLE 1 – December 2023 TEXAS OIL AND GAS NEW DRILLING PERMITS AND COMPLETIONS BY RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS DISTRICT*

    DISTRICT

    PERMITS TO DRILL
    NEW OIL/GAS HOLES

    NEW OIL COMPLETIONS

    NEW GAS COMPLETIONS

    (1) SAN ANTONIO AREA

    77

    93

    30

    (2) REFUGIO AREA

    56

    34

    13

    (3) SOUTHEAST TEXAS

    6

    16

    5

    (4) DEEP SOUTH TEXAS

    12

    0

    1

    (5) EAST CENTRAL TX

    1

    4

    1

    (6) EAST TEXAS

    26

    15

    27

    (7B) WEST CENTRAL TX

    11

    9

    0

    (7C) SAN ANGELO AREA

    63

    66

    0

    (8) MIDLAND

    305

    169

    33

    (8A) LUBBOCK AREA

    30

    15

    0

    (9) NORTH TEXAS

    31

    12

    7

    (10) PANHANDLE

    3

    2

    0

    TOTAL

    621

    435

    117

     

    # # #

     

  • Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for October 2023

    January 02, 2024

    Statewide and county crude oil and natural gas production for October 2023 reported in the tables below came from 162,578 oil wells and 86,662 gas wells.

    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 full oil and gas production statistics, you can visit the links below.

    Statewide totals: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/research-and-statistics/production-data/texas-monthly-oil-gas-production/

    County rankings: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-and-gas/research-and-statistics/production-data/texas-monthly-oil-gas-production-by-county-ranking/

    TABLE 1 - October 2023 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION*

    PRODUCT

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION

    Crude Oil

    114,547,597 BBLS (barrels)

    3,695,084 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    893,803,295 mcf (thousand cubic feet)

    28,832,364 mcf

    * 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 2022 STATEWIDE PRODUCTION

    PRODUCT

    UPDATED REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    PRELIMINARY REPORTED TOTAL VOLUME

    Crude Oil

    137,539,533 BBLS

    110,720,603 BBLS

    Natural Gas

    996,054,137 mcf

    848,930,463 mcf

     

    TABLE 3 October 2023 TEXAS TOP TEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CRUDE OIL (BBLS)

    1.

    MARTIN

    17,531,332

    2.

    MIDLAND

    16,976,898

    3.

    UPTON

    8,118,787

    4.

    HOWARD

    7,564,696

    5.

    LOVING

    6,334,749

    6.

    KARNES

    5,901,076

    7.

    GLASSCOCK

    4,473,447

    8.

    REEVES

    4,339,619

    9.

    ANDREWS

    3,990,857

    10.

    REAGAN

    3,673,834

    TABLE 4 – October 2023 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL GAS (GAS WELL GAS & CASINGHEAD) PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    TOTAL GAS (MCF)

    1.

    REEVES

    84,804,652

    2.

    WEBB

    75,641,419

    3.

    MIDLAND

    67,839,320

    4.

    PANOLA

    52,774,590

    5.

    MARTIN

    44,328,511

    6.

    LOVING

    38,239,037

    7.

    CULBERSON

    37,215,849

    8.

    UPTON

    33,461,390

    9.

    HARRISON

    31,198,550

    10.

    HOWARD

    26,462,951

     

    TABLE 5 – October 2023 TEXAS TOP TEN TOTAL CONDENSATE PRODUCING COUNTIES RANKED BY PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION

    RANK

    COUNTY

    CONDENSATE (BBLS)

    1.

    REEVES

    6,986,663

    2.

    LOVING

    4,135,292

    3.

    CULBERSON

    3,275,129

    4.

    KARNES

    1,308,516

    5.

    WEBB

    1,272,484

    6.

    DE WITT

    1,146,882

    7.

    DIMMIT

    721,106

    8.

    WARD

    510,235

    9.

    LIVE OAK

    500,028

    10.

    MCMULLEN

    277,454

    ###





Commissioners