New State Budget Allows Texas Railroad Commission to Better Serve Oil, Gas Industry

AUSTIN – The state budget bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor enhances the Railroad Commission’s work in regulating the oil and gas industry and serving Texans.

The bill provides the agency with approximately $481 million for the next two fiscal years.

The RRC regulates the major components of the state’s energy industry including oil and gas; surface mining of coal and uranium; the alternative fuels of LNG, CNG, and LPG; intrastate pipelines and natural gas utilities.

The energy industry is vital to Texas’ economic prosperity and the Legislature’s funding allows the RRC to continue its work in permitting, compliance and enforcement. The RRC consistently meets or exceeds important annual performance goals set by the Legislature that is tied to the agency’s funding.

The budget includes new funding to enhance the RRC’s work serving public safety and environmental protection. Highlights include:

  • Hiring up to 50 new pipeline safety inspectors to inspect thousands of more miles of pipelines in Texas. A new federal law this year provides oversight of additional gathering lines to the RRC. Gathering lines are pipelines that are used to transport oil or natural gas from the production site to a central location. The number of RRC regulated gathering lines has now increased more than seven times to about 45,000 miles.
  • Funding for new staff in the Oil and Gas Environmental Permits and Support Unit. The RRC has seen a significant workload increase over the last year following the enactment of legislation that encourages the recycling of fluid waste for beneficial purposes. Fluid oil and gas waste is waste containing salt, brine, hydraulic fracturing fluid, or other fluids that are the result of drilling for oil or gas. The additional staff would also assist in an anticipated increase in carbon capture permitting applications if the EPA grants the RRC primacy to oversee carbon capture applications.
  • New funding to enhance data collection for the Electricity Supply Chain Map. The map has been crucial to helping the Commission ensure ample gas supply is available during weather emergencies. The RRC will implement an online portal that will allow a company to upload, review and update their information electronically as needed. This will improve the efficiency and accuracy of supply chain data gathering.
  • Funding for additional FLIR cameras will increase inspection capabilities in two of the most active areas of the State, the Midland and San Antonio districts. The cameras have been used by the Commission for more than 10 years to detect emissions from wells and other oil and gas facilities during inspections.
  • Digitization of records funding will help the agency continue its broad transparency initiatives with historical documents at the agency. The RRC was budgeted $1.9 million to create online access to millions more archived documents. Approximately 5 million documents from district offices throughout the state will be imaged so that the public can access the documents online without needing to travel.

Related News


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}