Texas Regulator OKs New Oil and Gas Monitoring and Enforcement Plan

The Texas Railroad Commission has approved its plan for fiscal year 2023, outlining priorities and highlighting enforcement efforts.

Map of Texas and oil derrick
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The Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator, approved the Fiscal Year 2023 Oil and Gas Monitoring and Enforcement Plan, which outlines strategic priorities and provides statistical data highlighting the agency’s enforcement efforts, including violations cited by rule.

Among new information in the plan is an expansion of statistical data to include the previous fiscal year for comparison purposes.

The plan explains RRC’s inspection processes and enforcement procedures and affirms the agency’s commitment to inspecting every oil and gas facility at least once every 5 years.

“Texas’ oil and gas industry has become increasingly more important to maintain economic stability in the nation during global conflicts,” said Wei Wang, the RRC’s executive director. “The RRC is also committed to ensuring any expansion of oil and gas in the state is done responsibly in a manner protective of Texans and the environment, which the Oil and Gas Monitoring and Enforcement Plan helps to ensure.”

The RRC has said that plugging orphaned wells is a critical component of its mission to protect public safety and the environment. The State Managed Plugging Program, which has exceeded legislative goals for 5 consecutive years, has the goal of plugging another 1,000 orphaned wells in fiscal year 2023 using state appropriations funded with revenue from the oil and gas industry. FY 23 also will include an infusion of federal infrastructure funding that should result in the plugging of up to an additional 800 orphaned wells.

In the next fiscal year, the RRC said it expects to analyze flaring data. The resulting study will evaluate additional measures the agency can take on flaring and clarify any data discrepancies. Findings, including any recommendations for regulatory or statutory changes, will be shared with the state legislature and the public.

The agency also announced that it is continuing to update its computing systems, which will result in more information being available online. Also, the agency said it plans to provide more information via its social media channels demonstrating what oil and gas inspectors do, including how violations are cited.