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Railroad Commission Takes Transparency a Step Further with New Flaring/Venting Database

February 16, 2022

AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission launched a new online database of flaring and venting applications this week.

The Flare/Vent Exceptions Query continues a years-long effort to take advantage of technologies and vastly improve public access to the RRC’s information.

The query, which is updated every night, makes available all applications for exception to Statewide Rule 32 (SWR 32) that were filed electronically with the agency from May 2, 2021, to present.

SWR 32 specifies exempt and authorized flaring in which an operator can flare, including for safety reasons, without going through the application process to obtain an exception to the rule. Any other flaring request would go through the application for exception to the rule and reviewed.

The RRC launched a new form, Form R-32, Application for Exception to Statewide Rule 32, for operators to apply for an exception to SWR 32. The new form provides specific guidance on when an exception to flare would be permissible, under which circumstances and for how long.

The online version of the form launched in May 2021, providing the necessary data to populate the query.

“The query shows our commitment to making the RRC an open book,” said Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director. “Flaring has been a much-discussed topic, and we want our information to be publicly accessible as we continue to work to reduce flaring in Texas. The latest data show that in November less that 0.2 percent of natural gas produced was flared, which was a record low. The amount of gas flared has been on a steady decline from 2.7 percent since June 2019. All the rest was gas captured and used for beneficial purposes.”

The flaring query has several fields for which a user could search including operator name, county, and exception status. All search results have an Actions button for more information on the applications.

The RRC has published a User Guide for the new query at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/media/u4hc253p/swr-32-public-query-user_guide_1-0.pdf.

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/.