RRC Efficiency Increases Allow Quick Standard Drilling Permits

January 13, 2020

The Railroad Commission of Texas lobbied strongly during the past two legislative sessions for budget increases to increase efficiency, and now RRC staffers say they’re breaking records in the issuing of standard drilling permits.

Many of the commission’s budget requests were granted through various means by legislators, and the RRC now says it’s set historic records for two consecutive years, taking just an average of two days to process permits that don’t require exceptions to commission rules such as spacing or density.

Much of the new money budgeted to the RRC is going to technological advances and database modernization, and now the agency is processing such permits in one day below the legislative requirement.

And during calendar year 2019 there was a total of 11,654 new drilling permits processed, the RRC said.

Executive Director Wei Wang said “The Railroad Commission’s technological solutions enable operators to quickly apply for and receive drilling permits.

“Nearly 99 percent of operators apply for drilling permits online.

“This allows our staff to thoroughly and quickly review each application to ensure operators meet all drilling permit requirements.

“Texas will continue to be the nation’s leader in energy production,” Wang added.

“The Railroad Commission’s efficient, timely permit review processes are essential to the continued development of the state’s energy resources and ultimately support Texas’ economic prosperity.”

In a news release, the RRC noted that Texas “leads the nation in oil and gas production with the Permian Basin ranking as the top energy production region nationwide.

“In the last 12 months Texas operators reported 1.438 billion barrels of oil produced and almost 10 trillion cubic feet of total gas.

“Additionally, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Permian Basin contains 66 billion barrels of oil, nearly 300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 21 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the Midland and Delaware Basins.

“Obtaining a drilling permit or Form W-1 from the Commission is one of the first steps oil and gas operators must take along with filing an Organization Report or  P-5 and posting necessary bonds.

“Drilling permits indicate if a well will be vertical or horizontal; the well’s proposed location; and specific hydrocarbon fields to be produced.

“Once approved, drilling permits are valid for two years.

“Drilling permits filed by operators and approved by RRC staff can be searched by using the Commission’s online “Drilling Permit (W-1) Query.”