Winter Storm 2021

Oil & Gas

Regulating the exploration, production, & transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas




February 19, 2021

Given the current extreme severe weather across the State, the oil and gas industry has worked to maintain production to provide sources of energy for power generation. The extreme cold has also caused some of the State’s salt water disposal (SWD) wells to shut down or have limited functionality. These SWD wells are essential to the continued operation of oil and gas wells as they provide for the disposal of waste associated with oil and gas production, including produced water. The shutdown of SWD wells results in an overall reduction of disposal capacity at a time when demand for that disposal capacity remains high. In the absence of adequate disposal capacity, operators may be forced to curtail production of oil and gas.

Therefore, the Railroad Commission of Texas requests the continued assistance of SWD well operators to assess the current state of SWD capabilities in Texas. Please respond to the online survey on the Survey Gizmo website at, preferably by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 19, 2021. The survey will remain active until 5 p.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021. 

Commission staff will use this information to identify opportunities to assist industry in our recovery from this severe weather emergency.

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Oil & Gas Overview PDF

Printable Overview

What we do

The Railroad Commission, through its Oil and Gas Division, regulates the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas. Its statutory role is to:

  1. prevent waste of the state's natural resources,
  2. to protect the correlative rights of different interest owners,
  3. to prevent pollution, and
  4. to provide safety in matters such as hydrogen sulfide.

The division accomplishes these goals by permitting and reporting requirements; by field inspections, testing programs and monitoring industry activities in the field; and through programs to remediate abandoned wells and sites through the use of fees and taxes paid by industry.
The Oil and Gas Division is headquartered in Austin, Texas with nine district offices spread over the state.

Drilling Permit Processing Time as of February 15, 2021

Expedited Permits: approximately 2
Business days
Standard Permits: approximately 4
Business days

Read this .PDF for tips on having a problem-free drilling permit submission.