Texas oilfield regulator exceeds goals for cleanup of abandoned oilfield sites

September 27, 2019

AUSTIN - The Texas Railroad Commission assessed and cleaned up more than 400 abandoned oil field sites in fiscal year 2019, more than double the performance measure goal set by the Texas Legislature to assess and clean up 188 abandoned sites.

Most operators clean up their own oilfield sites when the wells are no longer productive. To protect land and water resources, the Commission uses industry fees paid into the Oil & Gas Regulation & Cleanup Fund to clean up abandoned sites through the State-Managed Cleanup Program. These fees include regulatory fees, permit fees, enforcement penalties and bond amounts assessed on oil and gas operators.

"The Commission set a very aggressive goal to assess and clean up more sites in FY 19," said Wei Wang, RRC's executive director. "And our staff worked very hard to achieve this milestone. State-Managed Cleanup is one of many programs that support our agency's priority of protecting public safety and the environment."

Additional RRC Site Remediation section highlights in FY 19 include:

  • Completed 415 cleanup activities in FY 19, up from 228 cleanup activities in FY 18.
  • Identified 2,316 potential sites that are candidates for the State Managed Cleanup Fund in FY 19 compared to 2,159 sites identified as candidates in FY 18.

Since the State-Managed Cleanup Program was established in 1992, the RRC has assessed, investigated--and if cleanup was determined necessary--completed cleanup activities at 6,821 abandoned oilfield sites across Texas restoring land used in energy production back to a safe condition.

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