Permitting Flowchart Discussion
The permit application review process begins when the application is received in Technical Permitting in Austin. The administrative technician assigned to each district will log the application into the tracking database and begin the review.
The administrative review process verifies that all filing requirements are satisfied. The administrative technician will prepare a request for additional data for any filing deficiencies or problems noted in the review.
The technical review process verifies that the proposed well construction and operation meets rule specified standards.
The technical reviewer will prepare a request for additional data for any well construction or operation deficiencies.
Hydrogen Sulfide Injection
If Hydrogen Sulfide (Sour Gas) is to be injected, then there are additional requirements which must be satisfied under Statewide Rule 36. If the proposed well is already covered by an approved Rule 36 Compliance plan, then injection permit application will be processed routinely. If the proposed well is not already covered by an approved Rule 36 Compliance plan, then processing of the injection permit application will be suspended while the Commission hearing is held to address the Hydrogen Sulfide compliance issues.
Fresh Water Injection
If fresh water is to be injected, then there are additional requirements which must be satisfied. This includes a review by the Groundwater Advisory Unit of the Railroad Commission of Texas (GAU) to verify that there are no technically viable alternative water sources in the area. The GAU has up to thirty days to review and comment on the fresh water injection proposal.
Meets Technical and Administrative Standard
If the permit application meets the technical and administrative standards for permit issuance, then a permit may be issued administratively (in the absence of a protest from an affected party).
If the permit application does not meet the technical and administrative standards for permit issuance, then the application will be administratively denied and the operator will be advised of the opportunity to request a hearing before the Commission on the application.
If the permit application is complete, and if no problems are noted during the administrative or technical reviews, then a letter will be issued within 30 days of the application being received in Technical Permitting to notify the operator that the application is complete and a permit should be issued within 15 days. Whenever possible, the permit is issued instead of sending the "application is complete" letter within the same time frame.
If the permit application is incomplete, or if any problems are noted during the administrative or technical reviews, then a letter requesting additional data will be sent to the operator within 30 days of the application being received in Technical Permitting.
The administrative technician will check for additional filings thirty days after sending the first request for additional data. If the requested data has not been received, or does not resolve the deficiency, then a second letter requesting additional data will be sent.
The administrative technician will check for additional filings thirty days after sending the second request for additional data. If the requested data has not been received, then the incomplete application will be returned to the operator. If the requested data has been received, but does not resolve the deficiency, then the application will be administratively denied.
Two Additional Filings
Practice and Procedure Rule 201, which mandates maximum staff processing times for permit applications, also limits filings on incomplete applications to two additional filings. If the application is still incomplete after the second additional filing, then the application must be denied.
If the permit application has been protested by an affected party, then the operator is notified of the protest and advised that the permit cannot be administrative issued in the presence of a protest. The application may be set for hearing before the Commission at the operator's request.
Go to Protested Applications section.
If a hearing is requested, then Technical Permitting staff will forward the complete permit application to docket services for the hearing process to begin.
The hearing date will be set and the parties will be notified by docket services. The hearing will be held and will result in a permit being approved, denied, or referred back to administrative processing if the protestant fails to appear. Note that the hearing process generally adds up to six months to the application review process.
If the permit application is approved, a permit will be issued within 15 days of the administrative review being completed.