Requirements for underground injection operations in Texas are prescribed in Chapter 27 of the Texas Water Code, Title 3 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, and the Railroad Commission's Statewide Rules for Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Operations. Highlights of these requirements are outlined in this manual; however, it is essential that individuals or entities engaged in underground injection operations be thoroughly familiar with the details of these requirements in order to comply with them on a timely basis. A copy of the statewide rules may be procured by contacting the Secretary, Railroad Commission of Texas, P.O. Box 12967, Austin, Texas 78711.
The statewide rules specifically applicable to disposal wells, injection wells, and hydrocarbon storage wells are Statewide Rules 9, 46, 95, 96, and 97. These rules are summarized below. The complete text of Rules 9, 46, 95, 96, and 97 are available on the Secretary of State website. Links are provided throughout this manual. The Commission has adopted Statewide Rule 81 concerning brine mining injection wells. Rule 81 became effective when EPA approved the Commission's underground injection control program for these wells on March 29, 2004.
Rule 9 - Disposal Wells
Statewide Rule 9 governs the disposal of salt water, or other oil and gas waste by injection into a porous formation not productive of oil, gas, or geothermal resources. Matters addressed in the rule include filing of applications (Form W-14); notice and opportunity for hearing; protested applications; geological requirements; special equipment requirements (e.g., tubing and packer); and modification, suspension, or termination of permits for one or more of several causes.
The rule also outlines instructions regarding records maintenance, monitoring and reporting, testing, and plugging. Further, it outlines penalties to be imposed for noncompliance with the rule. Permit revocation may result as a consequence of noncompliance.
Rule 46 - Fluid Injection into Productive Reservoirs
Statewide Rule 46 governs fluid injection into reservoirs productive of oil, gas, or geothermal resources. Application for a permit is on Railroad Commission Forms H-1 and H-1A. The rule also addresses matters regarding: the application process; notice and opportunity for hearing; protested applications; special equipment requirements (e.g., tubing and packer) and modification, suspension, or termination of permits for one or more of several causes.
Also included in Statewide Rule 46 are requirements regarding: records maintenance; monitoring and reporting; testing; plugging; and penalties for violations of the rule. Permit revocation may result as a consequence of noncompliance.
Rules 95, 96, and 97 - Underground Hydrocarbon Storage
These rules address: the procedures for filing of applications; notice and opportunity for hearing; transfer of permits; and technical and safety requirements pertinent to storage facilities.
They also prescribe requirements for records maintenance, monitoring and reporting, testing, and plugging of underground hydrocarbon storage wells.
Rule 95 covers underground hydrocarbon storage facilities for the storage of liquid or liquefied hydrocarbons in underground salt formations; Rule 96 covers underground hydrocarbon storage facilities for the storage of natural gas in depleted or productive reservoirs; and Rule 97 covers underground hydrocarbon storage facilities for the storage of natural gas in underground salt formations.
Brine Mining Injection Wells
Statewide Rule 81 - The Railroad Commission regulates brine mining injection wells following the approval of the brine mining program by the EPA on February 16, 2004. New brine mining injections wells will be considered for injection permits under Rule 81. Drilling, casing, and cementing must be in accordance with Rules 5 and 13. Specific instructions in regard to applying for a brine mining injection well permit may be obtained from the Technical Permitting Section in Austin.