Newly sworn-in Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton told about 165 members of the Texas Pipeline Association (TPA) members in Houston that he will be looking to the oil and gas industry for “good, sound advice” on improving regulations during his tenure. The Texas A&M University graduate said it is imperative to establish a “level playing field for operators” where regulations are concerned and in some ways work as an advocate for Texas’ energy interests, which must compete with other states.
“The Commission must be more public about best practices for all when dealing with local ordinances [restricting the midstream sector]. We have to be much more engaging,” Sitton said Jan 9 at a TPA luncheon. The Railroad Commission should provide aggressive support as “chief expert witnesses” on behalf of the industry’s interests in federal cases and oversight.
Sitton is the first engineer in 50 years to serve on the Railroad Commission, which regulates Texas natural resources and the state’s pipelines. He stepped down as CEO of his own company, PinnacleAIS, a technology and services provider for oil and gas assets, to assume the office.
As an engineer Sitton said he hopes to use his expertise to play a critical role in evaluating and implementing regulations that are not over-reaching. He said he sees the midstream industry as a key problem-solver toward national energy independence.
“We have transportation problems to deal with,” Sitton said. “The pipeline industry is going to be our way of dealing with that.”