Railroad Commission Launches Two New Oil and Gas Online Filing Applications for Operators

03/24/2015

AUSTIN –The Railroad Commission of Texas continues modernization and efficiency upgrades as part of its Information Technology Project with the launch of two more applications operators can complete and file online.

The Commission’s Form GW-1, Groundwater Protection Determination Request Form, and Statewide Rule 13 exception requests (SWR 3.13 regarding Casing, Cementing, Drilling, Well Control and Completion Requirements) can now be completed and submitted online. These new online applications allow operators to submit filings more conveniently and also enable Commission staff to review and process them more quickly. The new online applications minimize errors and provide for online fee payments.

For all wells drilled in Texas, the Groundwater Protection letter states the depth of usable-quality water (which varies throughout the state) and additional isolation zones to be protected by surface casing. In Texas, all wells are required to be constructed with several layers of casing, with surface casing first required to be set from the surface to at least 25 feet below the base of usable quality water to isolate an oil or gas well from groundwater. Surface casing acts as a protective sleeve sealing the well off from and protecting groundwater while providing a channel through which deeper drilling occurs.

In May 2013, the Commission updated and clarified Statewide Rule 13 construction requirements for oil and gas wells drilled on or after Jan. 1, 2014.

Chairman Christi Craddick said, “These modernization and efficiency upgrades will help the Commission reduce regulatory burdens on industry without compromising the safety of our citizens and natural resources. The agency is able to make these improvements thanks to legislative support and funding made available last session for important IT functions.”

Commissioner David Porter said, “Protecting groundwater when oil and gas wells are drilled is one of the most important roles we have as a regulatory agency. By allowing operators to request and more quickly obtain information on how to construct their wells to protect groundwater, we are strengthening this vital role.”

Commissioner Ryan Sitton said, “These new applications will for the first time allow operators to fill out their requests online and submit payments in one process. They will provide greater efficiencies in well-constructing permitting to protect public safety and our natural resources while encouraging the development of our home-grown, domestic energy. It is our duty to use the resources the Legislature appropriated to us to make Texas the easiest and best place in the world to develop energy.”

About the Railroad Commission

Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov.