What is the minimum drilling distance for well locations and buildings and homes? How close to my house can a well be drilled?
Commission Rule, 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §3.76 provides that in counties with a population of more than 400,000 or a population of more than 140,000 adjacent to a county with a population of more than 400,000, a developer of the property may obtain Commission approval of a subdivision plan that limits drilling activity to designated drill sites of at least two acres for every 80 acres in the subdivision. This rule may be accessed directly at http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=16&pt=1&ch=3&rl=76.
Many mineral leases (which are private business contracts between an operator and a mineral owner) may also include clauses that define how close a well can be drilled to existing structures.
Explain why a surface location for horizontal wells is not required to be located on the same lease designated on the drilling permit?
Explain why a surface location for a horizontal well can be located on a lease closer to a lease line than the field rules require?
What are the plastic lining requirements for drilling pits and water pits for hydraulic fracturing?
What is the requirement for reporting production for a well after it has been completed, and how do I find out what has been reported?
How long does the RRC allow an operator to flare gas from a new oil well completion until the gas is then connected to the pipeline?
What is the typical size, shape and restoration of a drilling location in the Permian Basin?
What can be done about the stormwater runoff?
What is law regarding ingress and egress using existing roads?
How will all this activity affect our property values?
When will they close the pit?
What are saltwater disposal wells?
Whom do I contact to file a complaint?
What is the process a drilling company must go through to receive a drilling permit from the RRC?
The operator must submit a site-specific Form W-1 (application to drill) with a plat to scale showing the requirements listed in Statewide Rule 5 (16 TAC §3.5) Application To Drill, Deepen, Reenter, or Plug Back.
They must submit a Form P-12 (certificate of pooling authority), a plat identifying offset operators, a service list for notice, and any waivers where applicable.
Permit Application Fees must be paid based on depth, exceptions and whether or not processing a permit application is expedited. These fees are in addition to Financial Security Requirements.
Do they have to show there is likely to be oil or gas in that area?
Is an oil or gas operator required to perform an environmental study or something similar?
What factors are considered in reviewing a drilling permit application, and who specifically approves this application (district office supervisor? commissioners?)
Survey name and distances from lease lines and between wells.
Lease name, well number and operator name
Distances to nearest well, acreage and lease distances (relating to the field rules)
Check for exceptions to rules 16 TAC §3.37 (Statewide Spacing Rule), §3.38 (Well Densities), §3.39 (Proration and Drilling Units: Contiguity of Acreage and Exception Thereto), §3.40 (Assignment of Acreage to Pooled Development and Proration Units).
When exceptions to these above rules are requested, the RRC verifies that the correct documentation is attached.
RRC staff checks to make sure all information on the plat matches the information above.
RRC staff in the Drilling Permits Unit administratively approves or denies most regular permits and some exception to rules permits. However, protested permits regarding 16 TAC §3.37, most §3.38 permits, all §3.39 and §3.40 exception permits are set for hearing and will require Commissioner approval or disapproval..
How often are wells inspected?
What types of things do inspectors look for?
Can the RRC assist with mineral lease agreements?
The Commission does maintain records on the reported production and disposition of all oil and gas produced from wells in the State. This information may be helpful in determining your interests and any development in the area surrounding your property. Additionally, the Commission also maintains records regarding the permitting of wells. These records include plats and other documents designating the acreage in a pooled unit. These records are required to obtain a drilling permit and to produce from a well after the well is completed.
If you have the RRC Identification Number for a well (either a five digit number for oil wells or a six digit number for gas wells) you can obtain all reported production information from January 1993 to present and can obtain access to the permitting records at the Commission's website http://www.rrc.texas.gov. For production information, please use the Commission's Production Data Query application to get access to the on-line database for these records. For drilling permit information, please use the Commission's Drilling Permit application to get access to the on-line database for these records.
I have heard about radiation issues associated with oil and gas activities. What are the issues and risks?
Regulatory programs for NORM are administered by both the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Railroad Commission (RRC). The DSHS regulates all activities, except disposal, involving management of NORM and NORM containing or contaminated materials. This includes jurisdiction over possession, use, transfer, transport, recycling, decontamination of equipment and facilities and/or storage of oil and gas NORM wastes, other than such activities when they occur at the site (e.g., lease, unit, or facility) where disposal of oil and gas NORM waste will occur. The DSHS’s radiological program protects the occupationally exposed as well as the public from unnecessary exposure to radiation. The DSHS regulations establish protection standards and requirements for management of NORM, other than disposal. The rules include exemption criteria for certain NORM containing or contaminated materials. Anyone managing NORM materials above the exemption levels must comply with certain standards.
The RRC has jurisdiction over disposal of oil and gas NORM waste and the management of NORM waste at an oil and gas property to facilitate disposal at the site. The RRC’s rules were developed in consultation with the DSHS regarding protection of public health and the environment. The relation of exposure pathways and the health risks relative to those pathways was DSHS’s basis for adopting the regulatory exemption levels. Likewise, the adoption of oil and gas NORM waste disposal options is a result of evaluation of the risk relative to each disposal method.
Each agency is responsible for enforcing its own rules; however agencies do communicate with each other on particular sites or issues as necessary and participate (along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) in quarterly Texas Radiation Advisory Board (TRAB) meetings.
For background on oil and gas NORM review, click here.