Railroad Commissioners Act to Help Boost Energy Production in Texas

February 14, 2020

AUSTIN – Texas Railroad Commissioners this week adopted a key rule amendment to adapt oil and gas regulations to an evolving energy exploration landscape in the state. 

Commissioners unanimously voted to amend RRC Rule 3.40 Assignment of Acreage to Pooled Development and Proration Units.

The rule restricted exploration in unconventional fracture treated (UFT) fields when oil and gas mineral ownership is divided at different depths below the surface. A UFT field is a field in which horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing must be used to recover oil and gas.

To take advantage of technological advances that can tap into once inaccessible hydrocarbon resources in UFT fields, Commissioners voted to allow assignment of acreage to multiple wells in these fields. This rule revision will further protect mineral owner interest and allow access to additional resources.

“This rule change is a win-win for industry and regulators, saving both agency staff and energy producers time and resources,” said Chairman Wayne Christian. “I am thankful for the hard work that went into modernizing these rules.”

“I appreciate the tremendous effort that Commission staff put into revising this rule,” said Commissioner Christi Craddick. “Working together with industry and stakeholders, these changes help to streamline our processes and increase production.”

“Our job as Commissioners is to ensure that the state’s rules keep up with advancing technology,” said Commissioner Ryan Sitton. “Amending Rule 40 will enable energy producers to responsibly extract more energy resources by recognizing that the way energy is produced has evolved over time. All Texans win in the form of lower energy prices with this change.”

The rule amendments adopted by Commissioners go into effect March 3, 2020.


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 https://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.