Railroad Commission Orders “Show Cause” Proceeding for Azle Disposal Wells

04/24/2015

Austin – The Railroad Commission of Texas today directed the Commission’s Hearings Division to initiate proceedings requiring the operators of two disposal wells in the area of Azle, Texas to show cause why the injection permits for the wells should not be cancelled and the wells ordered shut-in due to an alleged connection raised by new seismic research between ongoing operation of the wells and seismic activity in the vicinity.

The two wells at issue are XTO Energy Inc.’s West Lake SWD No. 1, Newark, East (Barnett Shale) Field, Parker County and Enervest Operating L.L.C.’s Briar No. 1, Caughlin (Strawn) Field, Wise County.

“The Railroad Commission has in place strong rules addressing the issue of seismicity and disposal well activity, and it is incumbent upon us to apply these rules where and when appropriate for the protection of public safety and our natural environment,” Chairman Christi Craddick said. “In light of SMU’s study linking disposal well activity to earthquakes in 2013, it is important to assess this new information in relation to the continued operational safety of the wells.”

Commissioner David Porter said, “Due to the that fact the wells were permitted prior to the Commission’s rule amendments addressing disposal well activity and seismic activity, and in light of the new research contained in SMU’s report, it’s appropriate and necessary for the Commission to consider the operation of these wells in a fully informed manner and determine the appropriate course of action.”

While the SMU report remains under review by Commission staff, the show cause hearing is set for June 10 and 11, 2015 for XTO Energy and June 15 and 16, 2015 for Enervest Operating, L.L.C.

Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner.  A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

Commissioner Porter was elected statewide to the Texas Railroad Commission on November 2, 2010. A Certified Public Accountant and successful small business owner, Commissioner Porter has worked with oil and gas producers for nearly three decades providing strategic financial advice and tax counsel. He has a long record of pro-business, free market, conservative credentials.