16 Texas Administrative Code §3.66 (Rule 3.66)
Weather Emergency Preparedness Standards FAQ
- Critical Infrastructure Division (CID) main webpage: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/critical-infrastructure/
- Weatherization webpage: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/critical-infrastructure/weatherization/
- CID training resources: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/critical-infrastructure/ci-training/
- CID contact information: Phone (512) 463-6737; Email CID@rrc.texas.gov
- CID portal in RRC Online System: https://webapps.rrc.texas.gov/security/login.do
- Email for requesting RRC Online System login: firstname.lastname@example.org
Will the presentation slides from the webinar be available?
Yes, the webinar slides have been posted on the CID Weatherization webpage at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/media/pjeih30i/rule-3-66-presentation-cid-training.pdf.
How can we stay in the loop on RRC rule changes?
Please sign up on the RRC’s Rules Page at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/general-counsel/rules/current-rules/. Click the link for “RRC Rules Email Service” on the right side of the page.
When will Rule 3.66 and Rule 3.65 be effective?
Rule 3.66, the Weatherization rule, went into effect September 19, 2022. The rule states that facilities subject to its requirements must comply by December 1, 2022.
Rule 3.65, the designation of critical infrastructure rule, first went into effect in December 2021. Amendments to that rule were proposed and then adopted on November 1, 2022. The amendments go into effect November 21, 2022.
How did the Electricity Supply Chain Security and Mapping Committee map the electricity supply chain?
The Committee started by mapping the locations of all the gas-fired electric generation facilities. Those electric generation facilities worked with the Public Utility Commission and provided information for which pipeline operators served their facilities. The RRC contacted the pipeline operators identified by the electric generation facilities and the pipeline operators provided shapefiles consisting of point and line data to show the RRC the location of their pipelines and delivery points serving electric generation facilities. Those pipelines were then included on the map. Using the pipeline operator submitted shapefiles, the RRC was able to identify gas processing plants, pipeline compressor stations, and underground storage facilities connected to the pipelines that serve electric generation, and the Committee placed those assets on the map. The RRC contacted the gas processing plants on the map to request the name of producing operators that send their gas to those processing plants. The processing plants provided operator names and the RRC contacted those operators to verify the specific leases that send gas to the processing plants identified on the map. For the leases sending gas to the processing plants on the map, the RRC also asked which saltwater disposal facilities the leases use to dispose of produced water. The leases and saltwater disposal facilities provided by those operators were then placed on the map.
Which facilities are required to comply with Rule 3.66?
For gas supply chain facilities (as defined in Rule 3.66), a facility is required to comply with the rule if it is included on the electricity supply chain map and is designated critical in the Commission’s designation of critical infrastructure rule (Rule 3.65). For gas pipeline facilities (as defined in Rule 3.66), a facility is required to comply with Rule 3.66 if it is included on the electricity supply chain map and it directly serves a natural gas electric generation facility operating solely to provide power to the electric grid for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power region or for the ERCOT power region and an adjacent power region.
Is the "weather emergency" time frame defined as only while rolling blackouts are taking place, or as a time frame that is put in place by a state official for that specific weather event?
A weather emergency is defined in Rule 3.66 as weather conditions such as freezing temperatures, freezing precipitation, or extreme heat in the facility's county or counties that result in an energy emergency as defined by Rule 3.65. A weather emergency does not include weather conditions that cannot be reasonably mitigated such as tornadoes, floods, or hurricanes. Rule 3.65 defines an energy emergency as when ERCOT issues an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) 1, 2, or 3. Therefore, a weather emergency is when the weather conditions described above result in ERCOT issuing an EEA 1, 2, or 3.
Will the Commission notify operators of a weather emergency?
Yes, the RRC will notify operators in several ways including email and notices on its website. Companies may also subscribe to ERCOT’s notification system to receive notification of EEAs. Signing up for this service will ensure you receive notice directly from ERCOT when an EEA 1, 2 or 3 is issued. Sign up to receive ERCOT alerts at http://lists.ercot.com.
Will notification occur at the beginning and end of an emergency?
Yes. The RRC will issue the notice at the beginning and end of a weather emergency.
Will notification occur by area or region?
No. EEAs are not issued by area or region. Thus, the RRC’s notification of a weather emergency will not be limited to an area or region.
Where do we submit the attestation?
The attestation must be submitted to RRC by December 1, 2022. Go to the RRC website at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/critical-infrastructure/weatherization/, and under Useful Links select Attestation Upload (WE PREP). The RRC Sign In page will appear, and you can sign in with your User Name and Password to file the attestation. If you need to a step-by-step guide to assist you in uploading the attestation, select How to upload Attestations in the Useful Links section of the webpage. A presentation will appear that shows slide-by-slide how to upload an attestation form.
Will the RRC issue guidance on what the attestation should look like?
Yes, the RRC has developed a general attestation template that may be used but is not required. The template is available in the Documents section of the Weatherization webpage. Select the Weather Emergency Readiness Attestation Template and it will download as a Microsoft Word form.
Is one attestation required per facility or per operator?
Operators with facilities subject to Rule 3.66 are required to submit one attestation per operator.
Can attestations be submitted for different sectors of an operator’s business?
You must submit one attestation per operator. If the operator has different operating divisions and those divisions would like to develop separate pieces of the attestation, that is acceptable. However, those need to be incorporated into one attestation for the operator.
What happens if an operator of a facility subject to Rule 3.66 does not submit an attestation by December 1, 2022?
Failure to submit the attestation is a violation of Rule 3.66 that will subject the operator to penalties as described in the penalty table.
How can we address weatherization of the facilities that fall under 3.66 if we have not received the letter of which facilities are included on the map?
As of November 4, 2022, all letters identifying which facilities are included on the map have been sent. Additionally, mapping information was previously provided by operators.
I have one well that produces 16 Mcf/day. I have completed the Form CI-D but do I also need to submit the attestation?
Operators with gas wells producing less than 250 Mcf/day and oil leases producing less than 500 Mcf/day are now excluded from the list of critical facilities in Rule 3.65 due to the rule amendments adopted on November 1, 2022. A producing facility that is excluded from Rule 3.65 does not have to file the Form CI-D and does not have to comply with Rule 3.66 requirements, such as submitting the attestation, because it does not meet the criteria required to be subject to the weatherization rule.
If a facility is transferred to a new operator between now and December 1, who is required to file the attestation?
The facility’s operator of record as of December 1 is required to file the attestation.
When will we receive our letter?
If you have a critical facility on the map, then expect to receive a letter no later than November 30th, 2022. Letters will be sent by certified mail and an electronic copy will be posted on the RRC Online system to the operator's account. RRC cannot guarantee the actual date of when an operator will receive the letter, RRC can only provide the date it sends the letter by certified mail based on the contact information provided by the operator.
Will we have an opportunity to see the map?
No. The map is deemed confidential by statute.
Will operators be notified of changes on the map?
Yes. The mapping committee will update and issue new versions of the map periodically. Operators will be notified which facilities are on the map so they can ensure their facilities comply with Rule 3.66.
Is notification needed within 1 hour of the shut down or 1 hour of discovery?
For a regular WRFS that is not resolved within 24 hours, the notification must be made immediately upon expiration of the 24 hours. For a major WRFS, notification is required within 1 hour of discovery of the major WRFS.
Is the production or capacity threshold in the definition of major WRFS an instantaneous rate or a daily average?
The WRFS becomes major when a stoppage at the facility results in the thresholds described in the definition of major WRFS. The operator is not required to report a major WRFS within the 1-hour timeline until the threshold is reached. However, once the threshold is reached, the operator must report the major WRFS within one hour of discovery and may not wait to determine the daily average prior to submitting the report.
Is a well in an underground storage facility considered a producing well such that it is subject to the 5,000 mcf/d component of a major WRFS?
If the well is an injection well (with a UIC permit) used to inject and/or withdraw gas from the underground storage, the well in an underground storage facility is considered part of the underground storage facility. The storage facility must report a major WRFS when the 200 MMcf threshold is reached.
Are we required to report forced stoppages caused by road closures, icy roads, or third-party rental compressors?
Yes. You are required to report forced stoppages during a weather emergency when the forced stoppage is caused by weather conditions or a loss of electricity. In a weather emergency, a forced stoppage due to road closures or icy roads is a forced stoppage due to weather conditions, and a forced stoppage due to issues with third-party compressors would be caused by weather conditions or a loss of electricity. Therefore, those types of stoppages should be reported. There is a place in the notification portal that allows operators to describe roads or third-party compressors as the cause of the stoppage. Note: a reported stoppage will not necessarily result in a violation of Rule 3.66. If the stoppage is caused by issues outside the operator’s control, such as road closures or a loss of electricity and not a failure to prepare, the stoppage is not considered a violation.
Are we required to report stoppages that are not weather-related?
Yes, but only if the stoppage is due to a loss of power. Operators with facilities subject to Rule 3.66 are required to report a WRFS and stoppages due to a loss of electricity. So, if a stoppage is due to something other than weather (e.g., a mechanical failure, damage to the facility unrelated to weather) then it is not required to be reported. Note that notifications of a WRFS, forced stoppages due to loss of electricity, a major WRFS, and major stoppages due to loss of electricity are only required during a weather emergency.
Does the 5000 Mcf/day production threshold for a major WRFS stoppage at an oil lease apply to gas lift that is recirculated or only to gas that is sold from the lease?
Any threshold in Rule 3.65 or Rule 3.66 is based on production reported to the Commission on the Form PR.
None of my wells produce near 5000 Mcf/day. Does that mean I do not have to report forced stoppages?
A facility that produces less than 5000 Mcf/day will not experience a stoppage that amounts to a “major” forced stoppage. Thus, the facility will not be required to report a stoppage within one hour of discovery. However, all facilities subject to Rule 3.66 must report any WRFS and forced stoppages due to loss of electricity during a weather emergency. These stoppages must be reported within 24 hours of the stoppage if the stoppage is not resolved within the 24-hour period.
For large multi-well, multi-battery oil leases, how will inspectors and operators agree what are critical components for inspection if a failure is defined as a WRFS of the entire lease?
Inspectors will reference the operator’s attestation to gain understanding regarding how the facility was weatherized. The inspector will also consider the type of the facility, input from the operator, and other factors to render professional judgement. Violations will be based on a failure to prepare in accordance with Rule 3.66.
For inspections prompted by a forced stoppage notification, should we leave the facility down or is it okay to get the facility back up and running?
You do not need to leave the facility down for the inspection. Operators should resume operations safely and as quickly as possible.
Regarding facilities scheduled for inspections beginning December 1, 2022, how do I get my facility removed from the inspection schedule if its production or capacity declines such that the facility is no longer critical under Rule 3.65?
Gas wells and oil leases subject to Rule 3.65 are critical if their production exceeds a certain threshold at the time the Form CI-D is required to be filed. The thresholds are calculated based on the average daily production from the well's six most recently filed monthly production reports. Wells without six months of production reports must average the production from the well's production reports on file with the Commission or use the production volume from the well's initial potential test or deliverability test if the well has not yet filed a production report. If a facility’s production volume is declining and its average production at the time of the Form CI-D filing (March 1 or September 1, as applicable) falls beneath the threshold using the calculation described above, then the facility does not have to file the Form CI-D.
Is the 200 MMcf threshold based on actual current capacity or nameplate capacity?
It is based on actual capacity.
Can operator qualification through Veriforce be a way to train employees on weatherization?
CID does not certify or endorse operator qualifications at this time. All CID inspectors have the opportunity to take a version of the SafelandUSA Basic Orientation Course as part of the comprehensive CID training curriculum. The course does not constitute weatherization training, but does satisfy general industry safety requirements.
Gas lift compressors are often fueled by "wet" lease gas and gas lift distribution lines often contain pressurized "wet" lease gas. These components are particularly difficult, if not impossible, to protect against freeze ups attributable to Joule Thomson effects at pressure drops such as distribution manifolds, valves, etc. even with preventative measures including methanol injection, etc. Please address inspectors’ expectations for reliability and preparations for these types of installations.
Inspectors’ expectations for any type of weatherization method will be compliance with Rule 3.66, which requires implementing the weather emergency preparation measures, including the weatherization methods the operator chose for each type of facility.
Since there are no guidelines or minimum requirements on what weatherization specifications the RRC is looking for, is it up to the operator’s discretion on what efforts are made?
The operator must implement the emergency preparation measures described in subsection (c) of Rule 3.66. The weather emergency preparation measures include: (A) providing training on weather emergency preparations and operations to relevant operational personnel; (B) consideration of the risk to the health and safety of employees and protection of the environment; and (C) weatherization of the facility using methods a reasonably prudent operator would take given the type of facility, the age of the facility, the facility's critical components, the facility's location, and weather data for the facility's county or counties such as data developed for the Commission by the state climatologist. Thus, the operator has discretion on the weatherization methods to implement. Weatherization is defined as “the iterative cycle of preparedness for sustained operation during weather emergencies that includes: (A) correcting critical component failures that occurred during previous weather emergencies; (B) installing equipment to mitigate weather-related operational risks; and (C) internal inspection, self-assessment, and implementation of processes to identify, test, and protect critical components.
The RRC has provided weatherization information on its website at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/critical-infrastructure/weatherization/.
Will trucking companies be forced to haul produced water during a weather emergency?
No. Rule 3.66 does not apply to trucking companies.
I operate facilities outside Texas that supply natural gas for Texas. Are these facilities required to report weather-related forced stoppages?
No. The RRC does not have jurisdiction over facilities outside Texas, so those facilities are not required to comply with Rule 3.66.
Does Rule 3.66 apply to saltwater disposal facilities?
Yes, saltwater disposal facilities and pipelines that are included on the electricity supply chain map and have not applied and received an exception to critical designation under Rule 3.65 are required to comply with Rule 3.66.
Could certain highways be designated critical based on amount of operators/production in an area? What if anything is being done to ensure roads are available during an emergency?
Designating highways critical is outside of the RRC’s jurisdiction. However, the Texas Energy Reliability Council, of which the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is a member, has been working closely with TxDOT since Winter Storm Uri to plan to address road conditions in a future weather emergency. The RRC also works with local authorities to help with facility access. Operators are encouraged to contact the RRC regarding road issues prior to or during a weather emergency so that the RRC can coordinate with TxDOT, TDEM, and local authorities to address road conditions.
The letter we received from the RRC identifies assets that are on the electricity supply chain map by T4 permit numbers. These T4 permits include non-regulated gathering, regulated gathering, and transmission. Is this rule applicable to non-regulated gas gathering pipelines?
The rule does not apply to non-regulated gas gathering pipelines.
Are interstate pipelines subject to the requirements of Rule 3.66?
No, Rule 3.66 does not apply to interstate pipelines.
When facilities are sold and no longer operated by an operator, how will the RRC know the operator is no longer responsible for weatherization of those facilities?
Operators are required by Commission rules to file transfer of operatorship documents with the Commission. The Operator of Record according to Commission records is responsible for complying with Commission rules.
Can operators request that additional facilities be designated critical?
Yes, there is a process described in Rule 3.65(c) that allows a facility not designated critical in subsection (b) of the rule to request critical designation. Operators may review that process in the rule available on the RRC website at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/general-counsel/rules/proposed-rules/ under “Chapter 3” and “Adoption Approved at Conference”.
Will they be approved?
No, you will not receive a communication from the RRC regarding an approval or denial of your EOP. You may receive a communication with recommendations for improvement, but this does not mean your EOP was denied. Note: EOPs are required by statute but are not addressed in Rule 3.66. The attestation described in Section 6 above is separate from the EOP.