Texas Railroad Commission to consider trimming oil and gas rules

Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick was the keynote speaker at the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers at an annual meeting in Wichita Falls, Texas, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (Torin Halsey/Times Record News via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick  (Torin Halsey/Times Record News via AP) 

A Texas oil and gas commissioner is proposing a series of rule changes she says will help oil companies more easily navigate the state bureaucracy, potentially saving them money during the current downturn.

Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick is calling her proposal “common sense practices” aiming to reduce paperwork, eliminate unnecessary rules and improve efficiency for state energy regulators. She said the commission has re-evaluated methods and rules and overhauled information technology programs that could save tens of millions of dollars for oil and gas operators.

She will introduce specifics at the three-member commission’s meeting on Tuesday in Austin. Commissioners could vote at that meeting on one rule change, amending statewide requirements on gas well reporting. Other suggested rule changes will be taken up by the board before year’s end, Craddick’s staff said.

The full package of changes, which she is calling the Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative, includes reducing gas well status filings, modifying gas well deliverability reporting, changing some pressure calculations, amending production definitions, prioritizing rig inspections in sensitive areas like cities or wetlands, creating area-wide surface casing requirements in counties with constant water depth, simplifying permit reissuance applications and reviewing all Railroad Commission forms to determine if the data is used.

The initiative already has support from several industry association leaders.

Craddick said the streamlining tries to avoid weakening public and environmental protection.