Texas Railroad Commission Available 24/7

Texas Railroad Commission
Texas Railroad Commission

The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) added a new toll free number this week to insure they are easily accessible to the public and first responders when emergencies happen in the oilfield.

The RRC is responsible to regulate the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas, which includes investigating accidents and inspecting pipelines. Companies contact the RCC when they have any environmental emergency, discharge, spill, or air release from oil and gas facilities, pipelines, or alternative fuels.

Related:Pipeline Explodes in DeWitt County

During emergencies, the RRC works closely with first responders to provide support with a staff that is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The agency added the new number (844-773-0305) to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

Public safety and the protection of our natural resources are our highest priority at the Commission. While we never want to see an emergency situation arise, our staff is on call and ready to support emergency responders including providing information and overseeing any related cleanup efforts.
— Commissioner, Christi Craddick

The Railroad Commission also offers other resources on its website to help companies stay on top of safety concerns including emergency planning forms, safety FAQs and training.

Read more at rrc.texas.gov

Producers Defend Fracking Practices

RCC Studies Texas Quakes
RCC Studies Texas Quakes

XTO and Enervest were summoned to Austin last week to try and persuade the Texas Railroad Commission that their operations are not to blame for recent earthquakes in North Dallas.

Related: Texas Earthquakes: The Verdict is Still Out

This unusual request was a result of a highly-publicized and debated study conducted by SMU researchers that concluded two specific wastewater injection wells are likely the cause of a rare string of earthquakes over the last few years (more here).  Though the public seems convinced of this causal link, Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said publicly he is 'unconvinced'.

XTO, a subsidiary of ExxonMobile, presented mounds of evidence to defend their fracking practices including more than 30 exhibits, dozens of slides, and three expert witnesses. The company argued that the unusual seismic activity was a natural occurrence and in hopes that the RRC from shutting down their wells.

The earth has been moving continuously over time, and that movement is the result of natural tectonic forces far away but that express themselves right here.
— Tim George, Attorney for XTO

This is the first time the commission has required a company to prove it’s not to blame for earthquakes. Recent policy changes now allow the agency to revoke permits if wells are linked to earthquakes.

Enervest is expected to put on its case today and tomorrow.

You can watch the hearing at rrc.com

Texas Earthquakes: The Verdict is Still Out

Texas Earthquakes
Texas Earthquakes

The Texas Railroad Commission is publicly questioning scientific evidence that links fracking to earthquakes.

Last Friday scientists met with Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton and other officials for a technical discussion about the science behind a recent study that links fracking and earthquakes.

Related: Texas Earthquakes Linked to Fracking

The peer reviewed study led by researchers at SMU concluded that earthquakes in the north Texas communities of Azle and Reno were likely triggered by the wastewater disposal methods used by fracking companies. This common process is to inject the saltwater waste through high pressure methods deep into storage facilities underground.

During the meeting, SMU geophysics professor Heather DeShon reaffirmed the findings stating that  "You only need a pressure change of 1.5 PSI to trigger an earthquake on a critically-stressed fault line,"

During the meeting, the scientists also asked Commissioner Ryan Sitton for a list of things that would be helpful for further studies including:

  • Requiring disposal well operators to provide bottom hole measurements would be very helpful in their research.
  • Getting saltwater disposal volume and pressure data on either a monthly or quarterly basis instead of yearly
I have not reached the conclusion that oil and gas activity is the causal factor,” said Craig Pearson, the Railroad Commission’s staff seismologist. “While we remain concerned about seismic activity in the state, we still haven’t had a hearing where we’ve had a definite case made that a specific operator is associated with any specific earthquake activity.

Eagle Ford Leads the State

April 2015 Eagle Ford Permits
April 2015 Eagle Ford Permits

Texas Railroad Commission released its latest statistics showing the state’s oil and gas production continues to impress, with the Eagle Ford leading the way.

Original drilling permits issued for April dropped from 1,919 last year to 848. Of the April total, 721 permits were for new oil and gas wells, 9 to re–enter existing well bores and 118 for re–completions.Broken down even further, April permits included 218 for oil, 51 gas, 530 oil and gas, 40 injection, zero service and nine other.

Related: Texas Drilling Permits down 50%

Statewide, well completions were up in April 2015, with operators reporting 1,867 oil, 314 gas, 125 injection and one other completions. In april 2014, there were 1,012 oil, 92 gas, 21 injection and four other completions. Total well completions for the year are still down by several thousand over this time last year.

Activity in the Eagle Ford continues lead the state in April with  176 permits to drill oil and gas, 222 oil completions and 94 gas completions.

Texas’ prime production conditions have provided an environment well-suited for a dynamic, thriving oil and gas industry. Today, Texas continues to drive America’s competitiveness in the world’s oil market and ultimate independence from OPEC.
— Railroad Commissioner, Cristi Craddick

The Commission estimates that final production for March 2015 was 84,879,948 barrels of crude oil and 533,174,979 Mcf of gas, with Eagle Ford counties remaining on top:


  1.  KARNES – 6,755,884
  2.  LA SALLE – 4,586,791
  3.  DE WITT – 4,571,129
  4.  MCMULLEN – 3,252,014
  5.  GONZALES – 3,072,829
  6.  ANDREWS – 3,045,628
  7.  MIDLAND – 2,885,602
  8.  MARTIN – 2,883,997
  9.  UPTON – 2,703,478
  10. 10. REEVES – 2,155,608

Read more at rrc.org

Texas Earthquake Study Under Review

RCC Studies Texas Quakes
RCC Studies Texas Quakes

The Texas Railroad Commission is hosting a meeting to discuss the findings of a recent study on seismic activity in Texas.

Related: Texas Earthquakes Linked to Fracking

In April, scientists published a study in the scientific journal, Nature Communications, confirming that oil and gas activities are likely to blame for a series of earthquakes in Azle  and Reno Texas. At a meeting scheduled for June 5th, Commissioner Ryan Sitton and other technical staff will join the scientists and researchers to discuss the findings.

Commissioner Sitton has established the following goals for the meeting:

1) To understand the nature of this and similar studies

2) To explore what additional data could contribute to better scientific understanding on the processes that may be involved

3) To assess how these data might be efficiently and economically obtained

4) To determine what additional information could be requested of operators

5) To consider what regulatory changes the Railroad Commission could make to ensure that oil and gas continues to be developed safely yet with minimal economic impact in Texas

6) To discuss what future research and study is taking place that will enhance and further refine the scientific findings for Azle and other areas in Texas.


  • Friday, June 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM CST
  • William B. Travis State Office Building
  • 1701 N. Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas
  • Room 12-126.1 (12th floor)
  • Access live stream at  www.rrc.state.tx.us