Texas Natural Resources Code §91.114 contains provisions that apply to operators who have violated a statute or commission rule related to safety or the prevention/control of pollution. For purposes of this statute, a “violation” means that a commission order or court ruling has been issued in a matter following notice and opportunity for hearing, and that order or ruling has become final and all appeals have been exhausted. An order in such a matter is commonly referred to as an “Enforcement Order”.
In simplified terms, the statute applies when an Enforcement Order has been issued and the operator has not complied with that order. In that event, the statute prohibits the commission from accepting Organization Report renewals (Form P-5), certain permit applications (including Drilling Permits among others) and requests for Certifications of Compliance and Transportation Authority (Form P-4) for any wells it may operate. The statute also applies to the individuals in control of the company: any other companies controlled by a tagged person are similarly barred from filing with the Commission. Because an “Active” organization report is required for a company to conduct operations subject to the commission’s jurisdiction, the restrictions imposed by §91.114 effectively bar that company (and those who control it) from continuing those activities beyond the current P-5 year.
Of the Enforcement Orders issued by the Commission each year, most are ultimately complied with so that the restrictions fall on relatively few operators. The following table shows the number of operators subject to the 91.114 restrictions where the operators’ final Organization Report (Form P-5) was processed during the last decade:
|Final P-5 Filing||Operators prohibited from continuing Industry activity due to Enforcement orders|
A listing of the non-compliant operators with final P-5s filed within the past decade, along with the relevant docket numbers, can be found on the Commission’s website.
Currently, there are 3,122 operators with unsatisfied Enforcement Orders who have therefore been denied authority to operate in Texas. A full listing of barred operators can be found on the RRC website.
Beginning in 2012, the Commission's enforcement of inactive well requirements adopted in the 2009 and 2011 legislative sessions is also resulting in the issuance of final orders prohibiting renewal of P-5s under these provisions until the operator has brought their wells into compliance. A 2259 Enforcement Status page with information about the implementation process (including a listing of operators barred from renewal due to noncompliance with inactive well requirements) is available on our website.
The §91.114 prohibition against the Commission accepting filings is permanent so long as the operator fails to comply with the Enforcement Order. The statute also applies to operators where one or more of the individuals in control of the company were associated with another company against whom an Enforcement Order was issued: those related companies are barred for a period of seven years after the Enforcement process was completed if the order is not complied with.
Data as of 02/28/2014