AUSTIN-- The Railroad Commission today adopted new rules to encourage Texas operators to continue their efforts at conserving water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells, even though hydraulic fracturing and total mining use accounts for less than 1 percent of statewide water use, with irrigation, municipalities and manufacturing making up state’s top three water consumers.
Major changes adopted to the Commission’s water recycling rules include eliminating the need for a Commission recycling permit if operators are recycling fluid on their own leases or transferring their fluids to another operator’s lease for recycling. The changes adopted by the Commission today also clearly identify recycling permit application requirements and reflect existing standard field conditions for recycling permits.
Chairman Barry Smitherman said, “By removing regulatory hurdles, these new amendments will help foster the recycling efforts by oil and gas operators who continue to examine ways to reduce freshwater use when hydraulically fracturing well.”
Commissioner David Porter said, “Water use has been a major concern examined by my Eagle Ford Shale Task Force, and I commend our staff for working to streamline our rules to encourage more recycling.”
Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “Just as our operators have used technology to bring us into this modern day boom of oil production, they are also using technology to reduce their fresh water use. The changes adopted today will assist in those efforts.”
The rule amendment also establishes five categories of commercial recycling permits to reflect industry practices in the field:
- On-lease Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
- Off-lease or Centralized Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
- Stationary Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
- Off-lease Commercial Recycling of Fluid; and
- Stationary Commercial Recycling of Fluid
The changes to the rule also establish a tiered approach for the reuse of treated fluid, including both authorized reuse of treated fluids in oil and gas operations and provisions for reusing the fluid for other non-oilfield related uses.
About the Railroad Commission
Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including more than 90 years regulating the oil and gas industry. Additionally, the Commission promotes research and education on the use of alternative fuels and has jurisdiction over gas utility, surface mining and pipeline industries. 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. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov/.