RRC Energy News - August 2016


topIn this Issue:
FishProtecting our Waterways

Two teenagers spot and report oily sheen to Commission.
When it comes to fishing in Texas, we have many options to choose from. Texas is home to 80,000 miles of scenic rivers and streams, hundreds of lakes, and endless miles of coastline, all waiting for you to cast your bait. Protecting these scenic landscapes and preserving our resources is something we all take pride in. That's what two teenagers did as they spent their last days of summer fishing on Gilbert Creek in Wichita County.

The boys set out for a regular day of fishing, but noticed something peculiar on the water that day - an oily sheen. They notified their father who then called the RRC's Wichita Falls District Office to inform staff of a possible spill. RRC inspectors went to assess the site shortly after receiving the call to gather more information. Inspectors determined the oily sheen was caused by an old open-ended flowline not in use anymore, and estimated less than half a gallon of oil was on the surface. The Commission notified the operator, who quickly took action and worked to ensure clean up and compliance.

Because the teenagers reported what they saw, the Commission and the operator could respond quickly. The Commission needs the eyes and ears of the community to aide us in identifying issues so we can all work together - regulators, citizens and operators - to ensure we protect our great outdoors. If you see something, please submit a complaint to the appropriate Oil and Gas District Office. The Field Operations section of the Commission conducts investigations of complaints related to the exploration, production and transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas that are within the Commission's authority and jurisdiction.
pdpptrainingPipeline Damage Prevention Training
Texas has the largest underground pipeline infrastructure in the nation.
Texas is home to 431,997 miles of underground pipeline. In 2015, excavators caused more than 8,769 pipeline damage incidents in Texas. It is important for anyone digging to know where underground utility lines are located before digging. That's why Texas law requires a call to 811 before digging to identify underground utilities.
RRC enforces compliance and educates the public on our state's digging laws to ensure the safety of all Texans. To better educate individuals and operators on these laws, we partnered with Texas811 and PEC Safety to deliver a unique training opportunity for excavators. This four-hour training course provides a basic understanding of pipeline safety principles as well as an in-depth look at Texas' underground pipeline damage prevention laws as outlined in the Texas Administrative Code. Upon completion of this course, participants gain awareness of:
  • What pipelines are used for in the oil and gas industry
  • The various ways pipelines transport materials
  • Regulations governing pipelines
  • How to recognize and react to abnormal operating conditions
  • How pipelines are handled and installed in the oil and gas industry
  • Excavation safety
  • Appropriate safety measures and precautions
First time offenders may be eligible for a penalty adjustment after successfully completing the Pipeline Damage Prevention Training class. To find out if you are eligible, you must contact a RRC Damage Prevention Specialist. For more information on the Pipeline Damage Prevention Training, visit www.pipelinedamagepreventiontraining.com.  

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sunsetCommission Testifies Before Sunset Advisory Committee

   RRC testifies before Sunset Advisory Committee.
All three Railroad Commissioners provided invited testimony before the Texas Sunset Advisory Committee on August 22 at the Texas Capitol. The Commissioners updated committee members on the agency's activities. To view the archived hearing, click here

Last day to provide comment on proposed rule changes is Sept. 26.
seekingcommentsSeeking Comments on Rule Amendments
RRC is now accepting public comment on proposed rule amendments to surface equipment removal requirements and inactive well rules as outlined in 16 Texas Administrative Code §3.15 (Statewide Rule 15) until noon on Monday, September 26, 2016. The rule amendments for Statewide Rule 15 were proposed to more accurately track when inactive wells have been returned to production; reducing the administrative burden for those wells and associated costs to the oil and gas industry.
RRC is also accepting public comment on proposed rule amendments to 16 Texas Administrative Code §3.28 (Statewide Rule 28) until noon on Monday, October 10, 2016. The rule amendments for Statewide Rule 28 would adjust the methodology regarding deliverability testing requirements for gas wells to minimize the frequency of such tests, thereby reducing the administrative burden for those wells and associated costs to the oil and gas industry.
The proposed rule amendments, available online, are a part of the Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative. Use the online comment form to provide input.
DataData Center
View monthly production totals of crude oil, condensate and total oil; and of gas well gas, casinghead gas, and total natural gas.
The Commission has primary oversight and enforcement of the state's oil and gas industry and intrastate pipeline safety. View the Master Agreed Orders here
The Public GIS Viewer allows users to view oil, gas and pipeline data in a map view. To launch the Public GIS Viewer, click here
commissionersCommissioner's Corner



Commissioner Craddick announced details of her Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative as the first rule amendments of the project were rolled out during the Commissioners' open conference on Aug. 9. The initiative improves efficiencies for the state's energy regulatory body, as well as oil and gas producers working to sustain business operations during the current downturn in the energy sector. The initiative will reduce the regulatory administrative burden on industry while ensuring the Commission continues to protect the public and environment.
Chairman David Porter testified before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, condemning recent rulemaking by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). His testimony focused on recent EPA Methane rules, the Clean Power Plan and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.  
To review Chairman Porter's full testimony, click here
Commissioner Sitton gave the keynote address at the Summer NAPE Business Conference, hosted in Houston on Aug. 10. 

"No one does a better job producing oil and gas than Texas," Sitton said. "The U.S. was once labeled a declining producer, but we've now overtaken Saudi Arabia and Russia for the claim of being the No. 1 oil and gas producer in the world. As the leading producer of oil and gas in the country, Texas is uniquely poised to take advantage of the next oil boom."
eventsUpcoming Events
September 12, 2016 Open Meeting Austin, Tx
September 27, 2016 Open Meeting Austin, Tx
For more RRC events, please see the calendar. To view open meeting webcasts, click here.