Railroad Commission’s IT Modernization Program Streamlines Processing Times for Drilling Permits


AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission’s Information Technology Modernization Program is further streamlining the Commission’s permitting process for drilling permits. Expedited permit processing was reduced from a peak of 30 days experienced with a surge in industry activity in the spring of this year to a one-day processing rate in November.

Using funding from the Texas Legislature for the Commission’s IT Modernization Program, the Commission made key upgrades to hardware, software and refinements to internal processes for analyzing drilling permit applications. Software improvements also allow for quicker identification and processing of vertical drilling permits.

The IT enhancements also provide drilling permit managers with statistical reports that pinpoint how long processing times are for various vertical, horizontal and directional drilling permit applications.

In November, more than 50 percent of the drilling permits were processed within 1 to 3 days compared to about 9 percent of the permits processed within 1 to 3 days in the spring of 2014.

Chairman Christi Craddick said, "The Commission has met the demands of efficiently regulating a bustling industry with the use of technology that has further streamlined our permitting process. With the ability to issue permit applications in a few short days, companies can keep workers in the field where they can earn a wage for their families and produce the oil and gas that is critical to the Texas economy."

Commissioner David Porter said, “In addition to IT enhancements, we also were able to hire additional temporary staff to help meet the demands of the rising drilling permit applications and to assist our hardworking permanent staff.”

Commissioner Barry Smitherman said, “It is essential that the Commission have the tools and funding to meet industry demands, and I want to thank our Texas Legislators for providing us with the IT and personnel resources necessary to do that.”

Further enhancements are forthcoming to the drilling permit application systems including allowing operators to look up online special field rules for horizontal wells and to view a proposed well location immediately in the Commission’s Public GIS Viewer by collecting coordinates on the wells in the drilling permit application.


About the Railroad Commission Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including more than 90 years regulating the oil and gas industry. Additionally, the Commission promotes research and education on the use of alternative fuels and has jurisdiction over gas utility, surface mining and pipeline industries. Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov/.