Texas Natural Gas Companies Submit Critical Designations

February 10, 2022

AUSTIN – As part of the RRC’s ongoing implementation of Senate Bill 3, the agency established rules in November for filing critical infrastructure designation forms (Form CI-D) and filing forms for exception (Form CI-X) as authorized in legislation.

For the first time ever, companies in the Texas oil and gas industry are required to file forms designating natural gas facilities across the state as critical.

For the inaugural filings last month, 438 companies filed Form CI-D designating at least 38,471 assets as critical. Assets include, but are not limited to, gas wells and oil wells that produce gas, gas processing plants, underground natural gas storage facilities, natural gas pipelines and saltwater disposal facilities.

Forty-one companies also filed Form CI-X for 726 assets. Some companies filed both Form CI-D and Form CI-X depending on their assets.

The final number on filings could change as Commission staff continues their reviews.

Form CI-D filers who need electricity to operate also submit their critical infrastructure information to electric utilities to help ensure that electric companies do not inadvertently cut the power off to the state’s critical gas infrastructure during a load shed event.

RRC staff will send out notices to companies who did not file forms with the agency. If confirmed that these companies have critical gas facilities as defined in rules, the RRC will assess the maximum amount of penalty, $10,000 per day for each violation, as allowed in statute.

“We are encouraged by the number of operators who have filed forms to designate their facilities as critical. This helps ensure natural gas supply during weather emergencies,” said Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director. “RRC staff will conduct thorough reviews on the accuracy of the forms that have been filed, especially on those applications for an exception. Staff will carefully examine the evidence provided by the applicants to determine eligibility as well as the adequacy of the evidence itself. Applications for an exception that do not meet rule requirements, whether it is for lack of objective evidence or basis for eligibility, will be denied.”

Some oil and gas operators, such as those with only low, non-critical production volume wells that did not meet critical gas supplier definition, are not eligible for critical designation or required to file forms.

Critical infrastructure filings are also being utilized in developing the state’s Electricity Supply Chain Map, which the RRC and other state agencies are developing. That map is expected to be produced this spring, well ahead of a Sept. 1, 2022 legislative deadline. The RRC will adopt weatherization rules within six months of the map as specified in legislation.

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/about-us/.