New Oil & Gas Water Recycling Rules – TX RRC

Water Recycling At Oil & Gas Wells in TX Just Got a Bit Easier

The Railroad Commission has adopted new rules to encourage Texas operators to continue their efforts at conserving water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells. They have essentially relaxed rules to make it easier for operators to recycle water onsite.

Major changes adopted to the Commission’s water recycling rules include eliminating the need for a recycling permit if operators are recycling fluid on their own leases or transferring their fluids to another operator’s lease for recycling. The changes adopted by the Commission today also clearly identify recycling permit application requirements and reflect existing standard field conditions for recycling permits.

Chairman Barry Smitherman said, “By removing regulatory hurdles, these new amendments will help foster the recycling efforts by oil and gas operators who continue to examine ways to reduce freshwater use when hydraulically fracturing well.”

Commissioner David Porter said, “Water use has been a major concern examined by my Eagle Ford Shale Task Force, and I commend our staff for working to streamline our rules to encourage more recycling.”

Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “Just as our operators have used technology to bring us into this modern day boom of oil production, they are also using technology to reduce their fresh water use. The changes adopted today will assist in those efforts.”

Water shortages in Texas in the past 5 years has brought the spotlight on new oil and gas production methods, in particular hydraulic fracturing. Even though this technique is reported to only use about 1% of water usage in the state, it is an important resource that industries are compelled to manage properly for a more responsible energy future. In doing so, a new ruling by the Texas Railroad Commission removes the regulatory hurdle from recycling frac water– bringing big promise to the future of water recycling in the region. “We see this change as an opportunity to accelerate deployment of our water recycling technologies in Texas.”, said Peter Pappas, VP at Bosque Systems.

The rule amendment also establishes five categories of commercial recycling permits to reflect industry practices in the field:

  • On-lease Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Off-lease or Centralized Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Stationary Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Off-lease Commercial Recycling of Fluid
  • Stationary Commercial Recycling of Fluid

The changes to the rule also establish a tiered approach for the reuse of treated fluid, including both authorized reuse of treated fluids in oil and gas operations and provisions for reusing the fluid for other non-oilfield related uses.

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R.T. Dukes

R.T. Dukes

Managing Editor at
R.T. is the managing editor of In prior roles, he advised major oil companies on strategy, the macro business environment, and opportunity screening. 2503 Robinhood, Houston, TX, 77005, U.S.A. | Telephone: 832.429.4790


  1. Andrew Smith says:

    Does this rule change mean that less frac water will be going to injection wells? Are there portable recycling units that can move from well to well?

    • R.T. Dukes R.T. Dukes says:

      It should make recycling easier, thus making the need for disposal less. Yes, there are portable recycling facilities.

  2. Chesney Coker says:

    Tanks for responding. Is there any production data available on the Pearsall shale wells?

    • R.T. Dukes R.T. Dukes says:

      Use the search box closer to the top right of the screen and do a search for Pearsall Shale. You’ll find a few articles related to well results there.

  3. Chesney Coker says:

    Would like to know how much the drop off is on Eafgleford wells that ip’s of 600 to 3-4000 barrels per day. Are they similar to the Austin chalk wells or do they hold up better? Especially the wells that are 1 to 3 years old

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