History of the Railroad Commission 1960-1979
A Chronological List of Key Events in the History of the Railroad Commission of Texas (1960 - 1979)
William J. Murray becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission
February 27, 1961
Legislature enacts a law requiring persons to obtain a permit from the Railroad Commission to drill injection wells, or to convert existing wells into injection wells.
Tex. Water Code Ann. ''2.001 et se. (Vernon 1972) (original at 1961 Tex. Gen. Laws. ch.82).
March 8, 1961
Texas Supreme Court strikes down the Railroad Commission proration order for the Normanna field based on the 1/3 - 2/3 formula (even in light of the rule of capture) holding that it did not allow each producer in the field to produce his share of the gas, and there was no substantial evidence presented to justify the large discrepancy in the rate of production between operators that the order occasioned. For example, a .3 acre tract was allowed to produce over 200 times as much gas as a larger 230 acre adjoining tract, and the .3 acre operator was given a Rule 37 exception to drill. (Normanna Case).
Atlantic Refg. Co. v. Railroad Commission, 346 S.W.2d 801 (Tex. 1961).
April 5, 1961
Texas Supreme Court holds that the statute authorizing the Railroad Commission to supervise the shooting, drilling, and completion of wells, to enact rules for the prevention of waste, and to require wells to be drilled and operated in such a manner as to prevent injury to adjoining property does not cover the process of sand fracturing. The courts, not the Railroad Commission, have the authority to determine whether a sub-surface trespass is occurring or about to occur, and the substantial evidence rule does not apply. This was a suit brought to enjoin adjoining landowner and operator from fracturing the common formation beyond the operator's own property lines into adjoining operator's property. Although the Railroad Commission had no rules governing such (although same had been requested), the court said that if and when such rules were promulgated by the Railroad Commission, they would then be scrutinized by the courts.
Gregg v. Delhi-Taylor Oil Corp., 337 S.W.2d 216 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1960), aff'd, 344 S.W.2d 411 (Tex. 1961).
July 26, 1961
Texas Supreme Court holds that Railroad Commission "Henze-type" proration order assigning gas field allowables by a retroactive application to the actual production is invalid ab initio for noncompliance with Art.6008, '12, Texas Civil Statutes, which requires that all allowables be fixed prospectively.
Rudman v. Railroad Commission, 344 S.W.2d 211 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin) rev'd, 349 S.W.2d 717 (Tex. 1961)
September 18, 1961
Ben Ramsey succeeded Olin Culbertson as a Railroad Commissioner.
September 27, 1961
Railroad Commission, following the "Normanna Decision", issues second "Normanna Order" based on 100% acreage allocation, but with a provision providing that a special allowable can be granted to a small tract (100 acres or less) after notice and hearing, and on proof that it is not economically feasible to drill the tract with the normal allowable, and further that there has been no opportunity to pool the tract with other acreage on a reasonable basis.
October 18, 1961
Supreme Court of Texas reverses the Court of Civil Appeals and upholds an earlier judgment of the Railroad Commission in denying an application for a Rule 37 exception. The Court holds the right to drill rests in the right of ownership and not in the land itself. Respondent was unable to prove the existence of waste or confiscation and therefore could not rely upon the Century Doctrine for protection of non-existent rights.
Railroad Commission v. Williams, 336 S.W.2d 800 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin), rev'd 356 S.W.2d 131 (Tex. 1961).
January 5, 1962
Texas Court of Civil Appeals, rejecting an application of the doctrine of animals ferae nature to extraneous gas stored in a depleted field and removed intentionally by adjacent landowner by drilling on his legal tract and perforating at the storage level, held that the title and ownership of gas, once captured and acquired, does not pass by the storage of same in natural underground storage reservoirs. The court further ruled on the jurisdictional question where the Railroad Commission, once declaring a depleted field or reservoir to be reclassified as a gas storage reservoir, should have the jurisdiction over the question of the legal right to the gas stored therein and to regulate perforations and other wells drilled into such reservoir. The court held that this was clearly a case of the adjudication concerning the title and ownership of gas since the plea was only for damages for the removal of such gas, and therefore the Railroad Commission had no jurisdiction.
Lone Star Gas Co. v. Murchison, 353 S.W.2d 870 (Tex. Civ. App. - Dallas 1962, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
February 14, 1962
Supreme Court of Texas holds that Railroad Commission proration order of the 1/3-2/3 type for the Port Acres Field is arbitrary, unreasonable, confiscatory in nature, and not supported by substantial evidence, basing its decision on the Normanna Case. Court defines the Rule of Capture to apply only to the liability of one owner of the soil to another adjoining owner in respect to damages for drainage, saying that due to the fugitive nature of hydrocarbons, that when captured and brought to the surface they belong to the owner of the soil to which they have flowed, irrespective of and without liability to the owner of the soil where they may have originally been in place. Court also strikes down the Hawkins Case dicta regarding the statutory right of the small tract owner to a well.The court holds that this right is dependent upon a showing of confiscation before a permit will issue. Language of the Court further indicates approval of a proration order of the type of the second Normanna Order.
Halbouty v. Railroad Commission, 357 S.W.2d 364 (Tex. 1962).
May 4, 1962
Railroad Commission, on the basis of recurring rumors of violations of Commission regulations, issues order for show cause hearing to operators in the East Texas Field to consider Commission ordered inclination surveys to be conducted on certain properties in such field.
May 31, 1962
Railroad Commission requests the Texas Research League to make a study of the Commission's operations and procedures and recommend plans for improvements.
June 6, 1962
Supreme Court of Texas holds that the mere fact a tract is separate and non contiguous and voluntary subdivision is not involved does not, as a matter of law, require the Railroad Commission to grant a Rule 37 permit to drill a well thereon.
Coloma Oil & Gas Corp. v. Railroad Commission, 348S.W.2d 390 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1961), rev'd 358 S.W.2d 566 (1962).
August 17, 1962
Commission changes the policy of not accepting application for field rules until about five wells had been completed stating that applications for temporary rules will be accepted after the first well has been completed.
Statewide Hearing, (August 16, 1962).
October 1, 1962
Statewide spacing rule is amended to increase the proration unit size from 20 to 40 acres and increase distance from lease lines and between wells from 330-933 to 467-1200, respectively. Effective October 1, 1962.
Docket No. 20 - 49,459 (September 26, 1962).
October 17, 1962
Supreme Court of Texas upholds the Railroad Commission order authorizing an injection well at an irregular location and holds that when the Railroad Commission properly authorizes secondary recovery projects, a trespass does not occur if the injected secondary recovery forces move hydrocarbons across lease lines, and that substantial evidence supported the Commissions' exception permitting lessees to drill and inject water in a well located at an irregular spacing as necessary to protect their correlative rights and to prevent drainage from their unit across lease lines.
Railroad Commission v. Manziel, 361 S.W.2d 560 (Tex. 1962).
November 2, 1962
Commission amends Statewide Rule 54 setting forth the requirements for filing inclination surveys on all wells drilled and also clarifying directional drilling requests and more clearly defining when directional or random deviation may be permitted and also setting forth the procedure for conducting and reporting directional surveys.
Docket No. 20 - 49.945 (November 2, 1962).
November 14, 1962
Texas Court of Civil Appeals affirms the Railroad Commission order granting a Rule 37 permit to the owner of a 7.1 acre tract surrounded by four 620 acre tracts containing one gas well each. The court states if granting the permit without restriction and under the present allowable would result in the probable confiscation of gas belonging to adjoining landowners, they are not precluded from obtaining relief by appropriate proceedings.
Colorado Interstate Gas Co. v. Sears, 362 S.W.2d 396 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1962, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
Ben Ramsey becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.
January 1, 1963
Commission rescinds the rules and regulations and report forms which constituted the tender system and replaces it with Form SW-1, Producer's Certificate of Compliance and Authorization to Transport Oil or Gas from Lease.
Docket No. 20 - 50,366 (December 4, 1962).
January 30, 1963
Texas Court of Civil Appeals reverses a Railroad Commission order assigning acreage for proration purposes where the original order was issued as regular location provided the well was not completed in the reservoir it was eventually completed in when drilled. This reservoir was found at a depth below the reservoir limit as previously determined by the Railroad Commission. The court stated that a completion in this reservoir was a violation of the terms of the permit and therefore illegal.
Railroad Commission v. Phillips, 364 S.W.2d 408 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1963, no writ).
March 1, 1963
Railroad Commission adopts the Texas Research League's plans for reorganization.
February 25, 1963.
April 2, 1963
Legislature enacts a law amending the method of permitting gas production in excess of the monthly allowable under certain conditions (see l935 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.120; 1947 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.453. supra).
1963 Tex. Gen. Laws. ch.213.
May 8, 1963
Supreme Court of Texas upholds Railroad Commission Rule 37 permit treating vertically separated gas reservoirs under a 0.115 acre tract as separate reservoirs stating that the Railroad Commission can so regulate flow of the gas that no unreasonable hardship need result from its application.
Benz-Stoddard v. Aluminum Co. of America, 368 S.W.2d 94 (Tex. 1963).
May 28, 1963
Jim C. Langdon succeeded William J. Murray, Jr. as a Railroad Commissioner.
Supreme Court of Texas holds that the Commission's rule providing for the running of directional surveys paid for by complaining parties where such complaining parties had shown probable cause to suspect that a well was not bottomed under its lease and agreed to pay costs and expenses and posted bond to obtain such a survey was valid to prevent illegal production of oil and gas.
L & G Oil Co. v. Railroad Commission, 368 S.W.2d 187 (Tex. 1963).
June 26, 1963
Court of Civil Appeals holds that refusal to comply with special order issued by Railroad Commission with respect to purchase and transportation of crude oil did not give rise to cause for action for penalties and mandamus while appeal from order was pending, and that no court has jurisdiction of complaints of discrimination in purchase and transportation of oil until such complaints have been presented to the commission.
State of Texas v. Crown Central Petroleum Corp., 369 S.W.2d 458 (Tex. Civ. App.- Austin 1963, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
August 1, 1963
Commission establishes administrative approval for uncontested applications to inject fluid into a reservoir productive of oil or gas without the necessity of a formal notice and hearing effective August 1, 1963.
Docket No. 20 - 52,413 (July 30, 1963).
October 16, 1963
Court of Civil Appeals holds that venue of penalty suits filed by Attorney General in behalf of the State was Travis County, where Attorney General elected to file the suit in Travis County as he had a legal right to do under statute, Vernon's Ann. Civ. St. Art.6036 Mitchell v. State of Texas, 371 S.W.2d 799 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1963, writ dism'd).
January 29, 1964
Supreme Court reverses ruling of the Railroad Commission and holds that rights granted by oil well drilling permit were not abandoned by operator but were utilized with reasonable diligence to exercise right to drill, that operator had legal right to redrill and straighten existing deviated wells, and that refusal to permit production upon correction of oil well bores which excessively deviated from vertical until wells had given up, through normal allowables, all production obtained while unlawfully deviated would be authorized penalty on the Commission's part.
Harrington v. Railroad Commission, 375 S.W.2d 892 (Tex. 1964).
April 8, 1964
Supreme Court of Texas upholds the Commission and rules that evidence which revealed that deviation did not gain any advantage was sufficient to sustain Commission's finding that bottom holes reasonably complied with original well drilling permit which did not contain "straight hole" clauses.
Stewart v. Humble Oil & Refg. Co., 377 S.W.2d 830 (Tex. 1964)
May 27, 1964
Supreme Court of Texas strengthens the "Normanna" and "Port Acre" decisions in the "Quitman Case".
Railroad Commission v. Shell Oil Co., 369 S.W.2d 363 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin, aff'd, 380 S.W.2d 556 (Tex. 1964).
Supreme Court of Texas upholds the Commission in the denial of modification of the proration formula of 1/3 per well, 2/3 acreage, that had been in effect for four years without objection in the Appling Field where small tract drilling had been conducted and large sums expended in reliance on the formula, notwithstanding that average per well allowable for small tracts was 43 times average per acre allowable for standard unit tracts.
Railroad Commission v. Aluminum Co. of America, 368 S.W.2d 818 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin), rev'd, 380 S.W.2d 599 (Tex. 1964).
June 1, 1964
Commission adopts a recompilation of the Statewide Rules merging the present regulations now found in the Statewide Rules, and many Statewide orders, interpretive memoranda, and instructions into one body of regulations.
Docket No. 20 - 53,839 (April 16, 1964).
August 1, 1964
Pursuant to Article 6029a, Vernon's Revised Civil Statutes of Texas, Statewide Rule 5 is amended to require each operator to file a plugging bond of $5,000.00 on each well drilled or $10,000.00 as a blanket bond to cover all wells drilled in the state to insure that operator will plug and abandon each well in accordance with laws of the State of Texas and the rules and regulations of the Commission.
Docket No. 20 - 54,027 (May 21, 1964).
October 13, 1964
Commission adopts administrative procedure for Rule 37 well spacing exception to expedite handling of spacing cases.
Docket No. 20 - 54,459 (October 13, 1964).
January 1, 1965
Commission readopts the 1947 yardstick and also adopts a 1965 yardstick for all oil fields discovered subsequent to January 1, 1965.
Docket No. 20 - 54,119 (November 20, 1964).
January 11, 1965
Byron Tunnell, succeeded Ernest O. Thompson as a Railroad Commissioner.
January 12, 1965
Texas Legislature changes the name of the Tribune Building to the Ernest O. Thompson Building in honor of General Ernest O. Thompson who served over 32 years as a Railroad Commissioner.
S. Con. Res. No. 1, 59th Leg. (1965).
February 10, 1965
Supreme Court of Texas upholds Commission order prorating oil allowable at 50 percent for number of surface acres and 50 percent for number of acre feet in the production unit where evidence showed that as oil was withdrawn, water replaced it and that the edge wells, having a thinner section of sand than the crest wells, would be watered out before the wells have a chance to recover the reserves beneath their production unit. The court also holds that the above proration formula did not compel unitization as alleged by Plaintiff.
Pickens v. Railroad Commission, 387 S.W.2d 35 (Tex. 1965).
March 29, 1965
Commission advises operators that its Statewide Conservation applies to offshore operations.
Docket No. 20 - 54,960 (March 29, 1965).
April 28, 1965
Texas Court of Civil Appeals holds that attack on title to productive acres assigned by Railroad Commission for purpose of allowable allocation should be brought in a court of law, not before the Commission.
Sun Oil Co. v. Railroad Commission, 390 S.W.2d 803 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1965, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
June 15, 1965
The Commission eliminates the necessity of a Notary Public jurat and seal on each data gathering form.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. '91.143 (Vemon 1978) original version at 1965 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.449, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. arts.6036c, 6036c note (Vernon Supp. 1979-l980)].
June 30, 1965
Texas Court of Civil Appeals upholds the Commission in granting Rule 37 permits to redrill and straighten deviated wells, although there was a previous agreed judgment by the applicant that another well on the same lease, which had been drilled by one of the operators would, constitute full and final development of the tract for oil and gas purposes and that no additional wells would be applied for or drilled thereon by the applicant, his heirs, successors, or assigns.
Amerada Petroleum Corp. v. Railroad Commission, 395 S.W.2d 403 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1965, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
July 6, 1965
Commission amends Rule 37 by adoption of Rule 37(H)(2) to provide for administrative approval of Rule 37 applications where waivers are submitted by all offset operators on drilling or deepening applications or where no protest is received after ten days notice on additional completion, recompletion, or re-entry in an existing well bore.
Docket No. 20 - 54,459 (July 5, 1965).
July 27, 1965
District Court holds that it was not the legislative intent, by the passage of Article 7621d, Vernon's Annotated Civil Statutes, to give the Texas Water Pollution Control Board any jurisdiction to regulate or control the disposal of oil field brines and wastes necessarily produced as a result of oil and gas operations. This decision was appealed by the Texas Water Pollution Control Board.
Superior Oil Co. v. Texas Water Pollution Control Board, No,.137,792 (Dist. Ct. of Travis County, 53rd Judicial Dist. of Texas, July 27, 1965).
August 30, 1965
Legislature enacts the Mineral Interest Pooling Act, making it effective for all fields discovered subsequent to March 8, 1961, the date of the Normanna case, and authorizing the Railroad Commission to provide for pooling of mineral interests for an oil or gas well under certain conditions and providing for allocation of production and for appeals from such pooling order before it becomes effective.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. ''111.081, 111.084 to 111.086, 111.091. to 111.096 (Vernon 1978) [original version at 1965 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.303, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art.6049a, ''8aa, 8aaa, lld, lldd (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)].
Legislature enacts the Well Plugging Statute placing a duty on the operator, non-operator, and landowner to plug abandoned oil and gas wells or dry holes and a duty on the Commission to determine if wells are properly plugged; and the act also gives to the State a cause of action if the Commission plugs the wells and also authorizes the Commission to accept money to properly plug wells.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. 89.001, 89.003, 89,011 to 89.013, 89.081 to 89.084, 89.041 to 89.045, 89.121, 89.122 (Vernon l978)[original version at l965 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.355, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art.6005, 6005 note, 6032c-2 note (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)].
Commission establishes District 8-A, effective September 1, 1965, with the district office in Lubbock.
Docket No. 20 - 55,551 (August 16, 1965).
September 1, 1965
Legislature makes the question involved in Superior v. Texas Water Pollution Control Board moot by amending Article 7621d Sec.10(c)(4), specifically giving the Railroad Commission exclusive jurisdiction to regulate disposition of waste and abatement and prevention of pollution of water, both surface and subsurface, resulting from activities associated with the exploration, development or production of oil or gas.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 7621d ''3,10(c)(4) (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980) (original version at 1965 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.382).
December 8, 1965
Texas Supreme Court holds that even though the Railroad Commission permit pooling 170.86 acres for proration purposes is unquestionably valid, this order of the Commission cannot compel pooling agreements that the parties themselves do not agree upon. The field rules required 80 acre units but only permitted the assignment of an additional 80 acres, and did not compel the additional assignment of 80 acres.
Killingsworth v. Jones, 379 S.W.2d 362 (Tex. Civ. App. - Tyler), rev'd, 403 S.W.2d 325 (Tex. 1965).
January 1, 1966
Commission adopts Statewide Rule 45(A)(4), Texas Offshore Allowable Yardstick so that continuing development and operation of all oil and gas produced offshore will have an equitable balance with production rates and standards onshore considering the unusual conditions existing in offshore operations.
Docket No. 20 - 55,957 (December 16, 1965).
January 12, 1966
Commission rescinds Statewide Rule 5(D), Plugging Bond stating Article 6005 of Vernon's Revised Civil Statutes is sufficient to govern the plugging of abandoned wells.
Docket No. 20 - 54,299 (January 12, 1966).
March 28, 1966
To increase exploration incentives the Commission increases the discovery allowable period from 18 to 24 months for onshore operations.
Docket No. 20 - 56,204 (March 31, 1966).
May 31, 1966
To further increase exploration incentives, the Commission increases the limit on the number of oil wells that can be completed in a field before discovery allowable terminates to eleven from a previous limit of six.
Docket No. 20 - 56,342 (May 31, 1966).
June 22, 1966
Supreme Court of Texas upholds the Commission order pursuant to the Common Purchaser Act requiring Rio Grande, a common purchaser of gas to extend its line to a reservoir from which it is taking no gas, holding that Rio Grande and McQuire are producers "in the same field" despite the fact that their respective wells are producing from vertically separated reservoirs and carried as separate reservoirs on the Commission records.
Railroad Commission v. Rio Grande Valley Gas Co., 405 S.W.2d 304 (Tex.1966).
Jim C. Landon becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.
January 1, 1967
Commission amends Statewide Rule 80 providing for a partial revision and updating of data collecting forms to meet the needs of machine accounting.
Docket No. 20 - 56,755 (September 27, 1966).
February 16, 1967
Commission adopts a safety code for gas transmission lines.
Docket No. 377 (February 16, 1967).
April 3, 1967
Commission adopts a Statewide no-pit order prohibiting operators conducting oil and gas development operations from using salt water disposal pits for storage and evaporation of oil field brines and mineralized waters effective January 1, 1969. (Statewide Rule 8).
Docket No. 20 - 56,841 (April 8, 1967).
July 12, 1967
During the Middle East Crisis, the Commission increases oil a11owable to a new high of 3,166,000 barrels per day effective retroactively to July 1, 1967, after an emergency conference concerning allowables with principal company top executives.
Docket No. 20 - 57,723 (July, 12, 1967).
July 20, 1967
Railroad Commission suspends GO-2 tests for six months period so that unnecessary diversion of personnel and equipment from regular production would not result in an unnecessary reduction of production from capable wells at a time of high demand and urgent needs for efficient utilization of existing production facilities during the Middle East Crisis.
Docket No. 20 - 57,750 (July 20, 1967).
August 28, 1967
Legislature enacts the Saltwater Hauler's Act requiring permits from the Railroad Commission before saltwater can be hauled from a lease and disposed of when such hauling is done in connection with the drilling or operation of an oil or gas well, and also providing for penalties for violations.
Tex. Water Code Ann. ''24.001 to 24.046 (Vernon l972)[original version at l967 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.355, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 6029b (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)].
September 1, 1967
Legislature enacts the Texas Water Quality Act of 1967 and thereby establishes the Texas Water Quality Board which will continue the functions of the Water Pollution Control Board.
Tex. Water Code Ann. '21.001 (Vernon 1972) 1 original version at 1967 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.313, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 7621d-1 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)].
May 1, 1968
Commission issues a special order permitting any lease or unitized area in the State of Texas to be produced on a lease allowable basis, using the sum total of the individual well allowables as the allowable, which sum total shall be determined from annual well tests. The East Texas Field is excluded from this order.
Docket No. 20 - 58,054 (April 17, 1968).
July 2, 1968
Commission amends Statewide Rule 49 (G) to permit calendar-day testing on a statewide basis.
Docket No. 20 - 58,691 (July 2, 1968).
December 4, 1968
Supreme Court of Texas holds that jurisdiction on an appeal from an order denying pooling under the Mineral Interest Pooling Act is in Travis County and that jurisdiction on an appeal from an order effecting pooling is in the county where the land lies.
Railroad Commission v. Mlller, 428 S.W.2d 162 (Tex. Civ. App. - Tyler) rev'd, 434 S.W.2d 670 (Tex. 1968).
Ben Ramsey becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.
April 1, 1969
Commission issues special order amending Statewide Rules 14A and 80 permitting a landowner to take over a well from an operator for fresh water purposes where he assumes full legal responsibility for plugging the well on new Form P-13.
Docket No. 20 - 59,327 (April 9, 1969).
April 17, 1969
Legislature expressly grants power to the Railroad Commission to adopt safety standards and practices applicable to the transportation of gas and all gas pipeline facilities within the borders of Texas.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat Ann. art. 6053-1 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980) (original version at 1969 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.80).
May 1, 1969
Commission issues special order amending Statewide Rule 8 regarding the prevention of pollution during the drilling, completion, and operation of wells drilled offshore Texas and in Texas bays, inlets and estuaries requiring more strict procedures and equipment in drilling and production and requiring operators to clean up spillage or other pollution at their own expense.
Docket No. 20 - 59,200 (May 1, 1969).
October 1, 1970
Commission issues special order amending Rules 8 and 13C making offshore regulations applicable to offshore, bays, inlets and estuaries, also requiring storm chokes in all flowing wells in bays, estuaries, lakes, rivers or streams a minimum depth of 100 feet below the mudline.
Docket No. 20 - 60,280 (July 15, 1970).
October 28, 1970
Texas Supreme Court holds that the owner of mere royalty interest in oil or gas may not invoke provisions of the Mineral Interest Compulsory Pooling Act.
Railroad Commission v. Coleman, 445 S.W.2d 790 (Tex. Civ. App. - Texarkana 1970), aff'd, 460 S.W.2d 404 (Tex. 1970).
Bryon Tunnell becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.
January 1, 1971
Commission issues a special order requiring organizational reports (Form P-5) to be updated each year by January 15; or if no change has occurred, a letter certification to this effect.
Docket No. 20 - 60,617 (December 21. 1970).
January 7, 1971
Texas Civil Appeals Court holds that where owners of a tract situated within boundaries of a unit at no time either drilled or proposed to drill a well to the common reservoir, they could not invoke the power of the Railroad Commission to require pooling.
Northwest Oil Co. v. Railroad Commission, 462 S.W.2d 371 (Tex. Civ. App. - Beaumont 1971, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
June 15, 1971
Legislature amends the Mineral Interest Pooling Act to clearly make the act available to the owner of any interest in an existing unit, or with respect to a proposed unit, the owner of any working interest or any owner of unleased tract, to clearly remove the precedent set by the Supreme Court in the Coleman and Northwest cases.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. '102.015 (Vernon 1978)[original version at 1971 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.903, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 6008c,'2(a) (Vernon Supp. 1978 - 1979)].
Docket No. 20 - 62,673 (September 25, 1973).
August 30, 1971
Legislature repeals Art.6029b which encompassed the Saltwater Hauler's Permit Act and enacts the Texas Water Code, '24.001, which now encompasses the Saltwater Hauler's Permit Act.
Tex. Water Code Ann. '24.001 (Vernon l972)[original version at l971 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.58, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 6029b, '1 (Vernon 1962)].
March 16, 1972
Conservation and Prevention of Waste of Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas in the State of Texas
General Market Demand Order For All Oil Wells in the Various Districts and Fields In The State Of Texas (100% Crude-oil allowable factor)
Docket No. Docket No. 20 -61,640 (March 16,1972).
March 29, 1972
Conservation and Prevention of waste of Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas in the State of Texas
Special Order Amending Special order no. 20-61,640 Issued Effective April 1, 1972 Titled "General Market Demand Order For All Oil Wells In The Various Districts and Fields In The State Of Texas(East Texas Field should not be subjected to increased production through the application of an increased market demand factor pending a determination in this matter).
Docket No. 20 - 61,756 (March 29, 1972).
April 1, 1972
Commission issues a special order amending Statewide Rule 22(C) removing the restrictions of administrative control by the Railroad Commission on the use of bottom hole centrifuga1 pumps declaring that centrifugal pumps are now acceptable for use in oil production.
Docket No. 20 - 61,898 (April 24, 1972).
April 5, 1972
Texas Supreme Court reverses the Railroad Commission and holds that a mineral interest lessee of two adjoining large tracts, both of which had productive acreage in excess of a standard proration unit for the reservoir, was not entitled to force pooling against the wishes of a royalty interest owner where the smaller tract was created out of a larger tract solely by the unitization pattern established by the lessee.
Broussard v. Texaco, Inc., 479 S.W.2d 270 (Tex. 1972).
Jim C. Langdon becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.
January 1, 1973
Commission issues a special order permitting change of a company name by a single machine prepared filing in lieu of separate filings of required individual forms.
Docket No. 20 - 62,502 (November 15, 1972).
Commission issues a special order amending Statewide Rule 71 (A)(9) eliminating the use of ASTM Volume Correction Table #7 and adopting Table #6 and modernizing the rule on approval of measuring devices by the producer and pipeline gatherer.
Docket No. 20 - 62,644 (January 18, 1973).
January 5, 1973
Commission issues a special order requiring every natural gas utility, as that item is defined in Article 6050 to file with the Railroad Commission its curtailment program on natural gas by February 12, 1973. The order also provides for a priority curtailment program for each such gas utility until such time as said gas utility has had Commission approval of its curtailment program.
Docket No. 20 - 62,505 (January 5, 1973).
June 14, 1973
Legislature enacts the Open Records Law.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 6252-17a (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980) (original version at 1973 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch. 424).
June 29, 1973
Commission issues a special order and notice of hearing ordering wholesalers and distributors to maintain the status quo and continue to serve customers of LPG products pending final determination of this matter after a hearing to be held July 16, 1973, concerning the need for LPG regulation.
Docket No. 20 - 63,123 (June 29, 1973).
August 2, 1973
Commission issues a special order amending Statewide Rule 53(A) ordering annual well status reports for each individual oil well on a new modernized machine generated form.
Docket No. 20 - 63,197 (August 2, 1973).
September 18, 1973
Mack Wallace succeeded Byron Tunnell as a Railroad Commissioner.
September 25, 1973
Commission issues a special order adopting Statewide Rules pertaining to oil and gas which contain hydrogen sulfide and designates these rules as new Statewide Rule 36.
Docket No. 20 - 62,673 (September 25, 1973).
October 24, 1973
Commission issues a special order after a hearing on the matter requiring LPG suppliers to give notice of a change in truck loading service that would reduce or terminate the distribution of LPG product to the local consuming public which relies and is dependent upon the LPG product for fuel. It also orders the manufacturer or producer proposing to abandon an established service or facility to continue service until such time as the Commission can review the matter and take action as deemed advisable.
Docket No. 20 - 63,123 (October 24, 1973).
December 1, 1974
Commission amends Statewide Rule 14(B)(2) to change from 20 to 90 day limitation period after drilling or production operations have ceased and plugging operations must be initiated.
Docket No. 20 - 64,782 (December 6, 1974).
Ben Ramsey becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.
January 22, 1975
Court of Civil Appeals upholds the Railroad Commission's order under the Mineral Interest Pooling Act holding that offset operator on an abutting tract was not a "person or party at interest aggrieved" within the meaning of the Act, and, therefore, had no standing to appeal. The Court also held that Exxon's intervention, which was not filed within 30 days following Commission's pooling order, was untimely.
Superior v. Railroad Commission, 519 S.W.2d 479 (Tex. Civ. App. - ElPaso 1975, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
March 5, 1975
Supreme Court of Texas upholds a Commission order holding the Railroad Commission did not have jurisdiction to inquire into the effect on the public interest of contracts entered into by LoVaca with specific customers at a time when it was unable to fulfill its contractual delivery obligations to two cities and a River Authority. The Commission also could not require LoVaca to apportion or share the gas in the LoVaca system. The court did indicate, however, that the Commission should continue to inquire into the supplies of gas throughout the state.
Railroad Commission v. City of Austin, 512 S.W.2d 345 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1974), rev'd, 524 S.W.2d 262 (Tex. 1975).
April 7, 1975
Legislature enacts an act involving sale of state owned gas wherein the Railroad Commission of Texas is designated the regulatory agency to review requests for exceptions to the out-of-state sale of gas produced from publicly owned leased mineral estates in order to determine whether, under certain circumstances, an exception to the provision of the law should be granted.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. '52.293 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980) [original version at 1975 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.560, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat art. 5382f (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)].
April 17, 1975
Commission amends Statewide Rule 36 to apply more stringent safety standards to operations in hydrogen sulfide service in the interest of protection of the public from the hazard of hydrogen sulfide.
Docket No. 20 - 64,973 (Aprll 17, 1975).
May 19, 1975
Legislature amends the Open Meetings Law to require seven days notice for a meeting of the Commissioners posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times. However, the act also provides that in case of an emergency of urgent public necessity, a two-hour notice may be posted.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 6252-17(h) (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980) (original version at 1975 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.31).
May 20, 1975
Legislature enacts Geothermal Resources Act regulating the exploration, development and production of geothermal energy and associated resources and requiring the Railroad Commission, in consultation with the executive director of the Texas Water Quality Board, the executive director of the Texas Air Control Board, and the Land Commissioner, to make, publish and enforce rules and regulations to encourage development and production of geothermal energy and associated resources.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. ''141.001 to 141.003, 141.011, 141.012, 141.071 to 141.079 (Vernon 1978)[original version at 1975 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.243, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 5421s (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)].
June 21, 1975
Legislature enacts the Texas Surface Mining and Reclamation Act and requires the Railroad Commission to adopt rules and regulations governing the mining of coal, lignite and uranium and the reclamation or restoration of lands disturbed by mining operations. Act also creates the Interstate Mining Compact and the Texas Mining Council.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. '131 (Vernon 1978) [original version at 1975 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.690, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 5920-10 (Vernon Supp. l979-1980). Also Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. Chap. 132 l32.004
August 4, 1975
Under the authority of new Article 5382f the Commission issues a special order adopting rules and regulations pertaining to out-of-state sales of gas produced from publicly owned and leased minerals and designates these rules as new Statewide Rule 69.
Docket No. 20 - 65,390 (August 4,1975).
Commission issues a special order adopting a statewide rule pertaining to procedures for identification and control of wellbores having lost radioactive logging tools abandoned in the wellbore and designates this rule as new Statewide Rule 35.
Docket No. 20 - 64,950 (August 4,1975).
October 20, 1975
Commission issues a special order amending Statewide Rules 53(B) and 80 requiring annual well status reports on gas wells producing liquid hydrocarbons on Form G10, a new machine-generated form.
Docket No. 20-65,613 (December 31, 1975).
October 22, 1975
Court of Civil Appeals reverses a trial court decision setting aside a Railroad Commission order pooling minerals under land of which appellee bank was surface owner. The Court held the trial court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case and render judgment because the suit had not been investigated within the controlling 30 day statutory limit, and also ruled the bank had no authority to represent the State of Texas in the action.
Exxon Corp. v. First National Bank, 529 S.W.2d llO (Tex Civ. App.- ElPaso l975, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
November 3, 1975
Pursuant to Senate Bill 385, effective May 20, 1975, the Commission amends various Statewide Rules, adopts rules to regulate development and production of geothermal energy and associated resources, adopts new geothermal forms, and designates the new rules as Statewide Rule 33.
Docket No. 20 - 65,518 (November 3, 1975).
November 5, 1975
Court of Civil Appeals upholds a Commission order denying an application to force a one-third interest owner to pool with the two-thirds interest owners because the application did not provide either a fair or reasonable offer to pool voluntarily as required by statute.
Windsor Gas Corporation v. Railroad Commission, 529 S.W.2d 834 (Tex. Civ. App.- Austin 1975, no writ).
November 12, 1975
Supreme Court of Texas upholds a Commission order that statutory authority exists to establish priorities for gas deliveries by gas utilities, and that a contract between a gas utility and an electric company providing for natural gas deliveries shall not circumvent statutes under which these priorities are established.
Houston Lighting and Power Co. v. Railroad Commission, 529 S.W.2d 763 (Tex. 1975).
January 1, 1976
Texas Legislature passes the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act. This legislation is designed to afford minimum standards of uniform practice and procedure for all state agencies and provide for public participation in the rulemaking process. Adequate and proper public notice and hearing of proposed agency rules and agency actions are required by publication in the Texas Register. In conforming to this legislation, each agency must adopt rules of practice setting forth the nature and requirements for all rulemaking procedures, and index and make available for public inspection all final orders, decisions, opinions, and all other written policy statements.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat Ann. art. 6252-13a (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980).
March 19, 1976
Commission holds a statewide market demand hearing to review market demand regulation of natural gas production, recognizing the need for modernizing market demand determinations and allowables in order to provide a more realistic relationship of demand to allowable.
Statewide Hearing, (March 19, 1976).
June 22, 1976
Commission adopts a rule to provide for timely handling of examiners' reports and proposals for decisions. Although timeliness and deadlines are vital, an examiner may nevertheless use discretion in granting exceptions when deemed necessary.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.01.01.082, 1 Tex. Reg. 1972 (1976).
July 21, 1976
Supreme Court of Texas holds that valid rules and regulations promulgated by an administrative agency which is acting within its statutory authority have the same force and effect as legislation. Further, such rules and regulations are to be construed like statutes, but they must neither conflict nor be inconsistent with the Constitution or statutes of Texas.
Lewis v. Jacksonville Bldg. Savings & Loan, 531 S.W.2d 433 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin) rev'd, 540 S.W.2d 307 (Tex. 1967).
August 11, 1976
Texas Court of Civil Appeals affirms a lower court finding that a delay rentals clause did not allow the lessee to rely upon an uninterested third party's drilling and production in order to sustain the existence of lessee's lease. The court also holds that the parties are presumed to have contracted with full knowledge of the spacing rules of the Railroad Commission, which do not operate to extend a lease under a force majeure clause.
Hughes v. Cantwell, 540 S.W.2d 742 (Tex. Civ. App. - El Paso 1976, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
September 1, 1976
In order to provide more comprehensive control, improve Commission enforcement capabilities and increase public protection, the Commission adopts amended rule which requires safer handling of hydrogen sulfide produced incidental to oil and gas operations.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.02.036, 1 Tex. Reg. 1517 (1976).
November 17, 1976
Chairman Langdon announces that for the first time In nearly five years the Commission has cut the state's oil allowable to less than 100%. By cutting back the Texas Market Factor to 99% (7500 b/d), the Commission hopes to emphasize to the federal government the vital need for encouraging energy conservation and providing incentives for increasing domestic drilling operations.
Statewide Hearing (November 17, 1976)
Mack Wallace becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.
January 10, 1977
Jon Newton succeeded Ben Ramsey as a Railroad Commissioner.
January 12, 1977
Texas Court of Appeals affirms a district court refusal to overrule a Commission order approving the bottom hole location of a well that deviated 820 feet from its permit. Arguments are based primarily upon unfounded claims of unlawful drainage and noncompliance with the issued permit, but the court holds that on the evidence made available to the Commission and the district court, the decision is not unreasonable or arbitrary.
Superior Oil Co. v. Railroad Commission, 546 S.W.2d 121 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1977, writ ref'd n r.e.).
February 10, 1977
Railroad Commission adopts a rule pursuant to authority of the Texas Water Code (chapters 21,22, and 24), requiring that any person desiring to transport salt water for hire be issued a permit by the Commission, and that each permittee maintain accurate records for periodic Commission review.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.02.008, 2 Tex. Reg. 359 (1977).
May 3, 1977
Texas Legislature enacts an amendment giving jurisdiction to the Railroad Commission to regulate all pipeline companies transporting coal, requiring that all such carriers apply for and be issued a certificate.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. '111.002(5) (Vernon 1978) [original version at 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.95, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 6018 (Vernon 1962)].
May 13, 1977
Texas Legislature ratifies the Interstate Compact for the Conservation and Utilization of Natural Energy and Water Resources. The states involved (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) pledge mutual cooperation to develop and execute appropriate programs to provide for conservation, development, and exchange of natural energy and water resources.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 4413e-1 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980) (repealed) (original version at 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.155).
June 10, 1977
In an amendment the Texas Legislature grants eminent domain powers for underground storage of gas, with the Commission designated as the agency which will determine, supervise, and classify all storage reservoirs, thereby promoting conservation and establishing a better year-round supply for residential, commercial, and industrial gas customers.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. '91.171 (Vernon 1978) (original version at 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.366).
June 16, 1977
Legislature creates the Natural Resources Council, granting powers and assigning duties to protect, develop, utilize, and enhance the natural resources of the state, as well as to coordinate all natural resource policies, programs, and activities.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 4413(48), ''1-10 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)(repealed) (original version at 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.756).
August 29, 1977
Legislature passes the Texas Sunset Act, making the Railroad Commission subject to its review. Unless the Commission is continued in existence as provided for by the Act, it will be abolished effective September 1, 1983.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 5429k ''1.01 to 1.21 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980).
In an amendment the Legislature clarifies the definition of waste of natural gas and prohibits its inefficient and wasteful use.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. 86.011, 86.012, 86.181 to 86.185 (Vernon 1978) [original version at 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.731, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 6008, ''3, 7 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)].
Texas Legislature enacts legislation in order to promote conservation of natural gas, giving jurisdiction to the Commission. Basically, this act permits the use of subsurface formations for the storage of natural gas, the building of reserves for orderly withdrawal in period of peak demand, thereby making these resources more readily available to residential, industrial, and commercial consumers.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. ''91.171 to 91.184 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)[original verslon at 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.366, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. art. 6066e, ''1 to 15 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)].
Legislature creates the Texas Energy Advisory Council (TEAC) designed to articulate a state energy policy and facilitate extensive research and development in energy-related matters of particular importance to the Texas energy situation.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 4413 (47a), ''I to 8, (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980) (repealed).
September 1, 1977
Legislature adopts the Natural Resources Code, a formal revision and codification of the statutes relating to oil and gas, the public domain, and other natural resources.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. (Vernon 1978) (original version at 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.871).
September 27, 1977
On direct appeal from a trial court judgment upholding the validity of a Commission order granting an exception permit, the Supreme Court of Texas held that the findings of fact made by the Commission were sufficient and met statutory requirements. Only harmless error was committed by Commission's failure to notify parties involved that it intended to take notice of it records as basis for one of its findings which the court concluded was irrelevant and had no influence on the Commission's decision.
Imperial American Resources Fund Inc v. Railroad Commission, 557 S.W.2d 280 (Tex. 1977).
November 6, 1977
Commission adopts statewide rule conforming the Commission's rule with the statutory requirements included in the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act. In accordance with this rule the Commission shall, prior to the adoption of any rule, give at least 30 days notice of its intended action by filing such action with the Secretary of State and notice to be published in the Texas Register. Seven days notice is likewise required for open meetings, and emergency additions to the agenda may be added up to two hours from the time the meeting is to commence.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.01.01.042, I Tex. Reg. 4095 (1977).
November 9, 1977
Supreme Court of Texas invalidates a Commission order on two grounds: (1) physically separate and distinct pools of oil or gas cannot constitute a common reservoir for proration and regulation purposes, and (2) owners of unleased mineral estates were not accorded due process since they were denied the right to intervene and participate in Commission hearings. In response to the court's action, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 257.
Railroad Commission v. Graford Oil Corp., 557 S.W.2d 946 (Tex. 1977).
November 17, 1977
United States Court of Appeals affirms two Federal Power Commission orders requiring all large producers of natural gas and their affiliates to submit detailed information concerning their exploration and development activities to the FPC on an annual basis since such orders had not been found to be either arbitrary or capricious.
Superior Oil Company v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 563 F.2d 961 (5th Cir. 1977).
January 2, 1978
John H. Poerner succeeded Jim C. Langdon as a Railroad Commissioner.
May 31, 1978
U.S. Supreme Court affirms an FPC order requiring an application to abandon service once gas has begun to flow in interstate commerce from a field subject to a certificate of unlimited duration. The court reasons that interstate gas consumers should be able to depend on an adequate and reliable supply of gas and, therefore, the requirement is reasonable.
California v. Southland Royalty Co., 98 S.Ct. 1955 (1978).
June 21, 1978
In order to provide flexibility in gas operations, the Commission, in accordance with Section 86.185, Natural Resources Code, adopts a rule prohibiting the escape of gas from a well into the air after ten days from when the gas is first encountered unless it is proven prudent and necessary.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.02.032, 3 Tex. Reg. 1937 (1978).
July 26, 1978
Supreme Court of Texas affirms a lower court holding allowing a Commission Rule 37 exception order premised on economic factors arising from the location of the existing well bore and waste consequences to stand.
Exxon Corp. v. Railroad Commission, 471 S.W.2d 497 (Tex. 1978).
August 2, 1978
The Court holds there are two distinct and separate gas markets (interstate and intrastate), and sales of intrastate gas are irrelevant to a determination of the fair market value of gas irrevocably committed to interstate commerce.
Brent v. Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, 457 F.Sup. l55 (N.D. Tex. 1978).
August 17, 1978
Texas Court of Civil Appeals establishes a right of surface access in order to exploit the mineral estate by upholding the right of egress and ingress for a lessee of mineral rights. The lessee of surface rights had intentionally interfered with attempts by the lessee of the mineral estate to enter the property for the purpose of exploring and extracting minerals.
Dillary v. Ball, 570 S.W.2d 465 (Tex. Civ. App. - Eastland 1978, writ granted).
August 30, 1978
Court of Civil Appeals reaffirms the right of the Railroad Commission to deny a request for a permit to drill which had been based on a bad-faith claim to the land. The court also affirmed the right of the Commission to inquire into the validity of survey conducted by a state-licensed surveyor.
Superior Oil Co. v. Railroad Commission, 571 S.W.2d 51 (Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1978, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
October 25, 1978
Texas Supreme Court rules that any administrative orders promulgated prior to January 1, 1976, the date the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act became effective, must be reviewed under laws applicable when the orders were issued. The APA is not retroactive in effect.
Railroad Commission v. Merchant Fast Motor Line, 545 S.W.2d 198(Tex. Civ. App. - Austin 1976), rev'd 573 S.W.2d 502 (Tex. 1978).
October 26, 1978
Railroad Commission adopts the Gas Market Demand Rule enabling the Commission to determine gas market demands and provide procedures for gas well allowable allocations and ratable take between gas wells and fields in Texas.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.99.001, 3 Tex. Reg. 3617 (1978).
November 18, 1978
Departing from precedent, the Texas Court of Civil Appeals rules that the proper method for determining the market value of gas produced during a period is to compute a weighted average market price for all gas sold by all producers in the area.
Exxon Corp. v. Jefferson Land Co., 573 S.W.2d 829 (Tex. Civ. App. - Beaumont 1978, writ filed).
November 27, 1978
Commission issues rules pursuant to the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA).
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.03.001.004, 3 Tex. Reg. 4179 (1978).
December 28, 1978
Based on evidence that the appellee did not know the well existed when the property was acquired and the well had long before been abandoned, the court strikes down a Commission order requiring the appellee to plug the well. The court finds the appellee never operated or occupied the well and therefore could not abandon or be required to plug the well.
Railroad Commission v. American Petrofina Co., 576 S.W.2d 658 (Tex. Civ. App.- Beaumont 1978, no writ).
John Poerner becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.
January 4, 1979
James E. (Jim) Nugent succeeded Jon Newton as a Railroad Commissioner.
February 14, 1979
Court of Civil Appeals rules that a lessee of an oil and gas lease, which provided for a royalty based upon the proceeds from the sale of minerals produced from the lease, is obligated to market those minerals for fair market value.
Amoco Production Co. v. First Baptist Church 579 S.W.2d 280 (Tex. Civ. App. - El Paso 1979, writ filed).
February 23, 1979
Adopting this statewide rule, the Commission states that no operator producing gas for sale from publicly owned or leased minerals may sell or contract to sell the gas to any person, corporation, or other entity for ultimate use outside the State of Texas unless the Commission grants an exception.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.02.069, 4 Tex. Req. 437 (1979).
March 15, 1979
Senate Bill 140 grants the Railroad Commission explicit authority to adopt rules necessary to implement federal programs such as energy determinations under NGPA and Underground Injection Control (UIC).
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. '81.052 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)(original version at 1979 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.12).
May 9, 1979
This legislation empowers the Railroad Commission to develop, issue, and enforce regulations for surface mining and reclamation operations subject to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C.1201 (1977). Basically, this act is designed to protect surface landowners from unregulated activities, prevent unreasonable degradation of land and water resources, and promote reclamation of mined areas.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 5920-11 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)(original version at 1979 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.141).
Texas Supreme Court upholds the Railroad Commission's adoption of a bonus allowable rule permitting an increase in the number of barrels of oil that may be produced in proportion to the number of barrels of water injected into the Fig Ridge Field. The Court rules that recovery of an additional 800,000 barrels of oil, one-half of which would be lost unless oil was produced at bonus allowable rates, outweighed the protection of other correlative rights.
Texaco v. Railroad Commission, 583 S.W.2d 307 (Tex. 1979).
May 23, 1979
Supreme Court of Texas holds the Commission exceeded statutory authority when it consolidated separate reservoirs in order to prorate production.
Gage v. Railroad Commission, 582 S.W.2d 410 (Tex. 1979).
May 28, 1979
Railroad Commission adopts revised and simplified Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA) Determination Procedures, promulgated under the authority of Texas Natural Resources Code Ann. §81.052, which governs requests for certain category determinations.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.03.001.004, 4 Tex. Reg. l778 (1979).
May 29, 1979
Senate Bill 257 is enacted by the Texas Legislature, amending the definition of waste to allow the Commission after notice and hearing to permit production of commingled oil or gas, or oil and gas, from multiple stratigraphic formations, and thereby prevent waste and promote conservation.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. '85.046 (Vernon Supp. l979- 1980)(original version at 1979 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.300).
The Texas Legislature says persons transporting certain agricultural commodities don't need certificates of public convenience and necessity.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat Ann. art. 911b, '5b (Supp. 1986).
June 13, 1979
Legislature repeals the Interstate Compact for the Conservation and Utilization of Natural Energy and Water Resources.
1979 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.785.
July 18, 1979
Supreme Court of Texas upholds a Commission order which allows recovery of gas from an undepleted tract by use of an existing wellbore located on another tract that had been depleted.
Railroad Commission v. Lone Star Gas, 587 S.W.2d 110 (Tex. 1979).
August 27, 1979
Texas Legislature adopts the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code (LPG Code) designed to empower the Railroad Commission to regulate the liquefied petroleum gas industry.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code '113 (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980) (original version at 1979 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.799).
September 1, 1979
Commissioner Mack Wallace is appointed as the Commission representative to the Texas Energy and Natural Resources Advisory Council (TENRAC), succeeding the Texas Energy Advisory Council and the Natural Resources Council. New duties of this council include adopting and assessing Texas energy and natural resource policy, reviewing existing and proposed federal action to determine its impact, recommending legislation, etc.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 4413-47c (Vernon Supp. 1979-1980)(original version at 1979 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.666).
September 4, 1979
Commission officially approves a long-negotiated settlement plan for six-year-old Docket 500 involving Lo-Vaca Gathering Co. and its approximately 400 Texas customers. The settlement plan establishes a new company, Valero Energy Corp., the undertaking of a massive $180-230 million gas search program to supply Valero with gas at discounted prices, and includes the dropping of more than $1.6 billion in law suits and other legal claims brought against Lo-Vaca by its customers for alleged breach of gas supply contracts dating back to the early 1970's.
Statewide Hearing (September 4, 1979).
September 12, 1979
Railroad Commission amends this rule which restricts the production of oil and gas from different strata in order to conform with Senate Bill 257, passed by the 66th Legislature. The rule prohibits oil or gas production from different strata through the same string of casing. An exception may be granted, however, if the commingled production will prevent waste, promote conservation, or protect correlative rights.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.02.010, 4 Tex. Reg. 3082 (1979).
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