Regulations on the oil and gas industry may be cause for concern in some circles within the sector, but that sentiment is not shared by everybody. David Porter, the Texas Railroad commissioner, is largely in favor of implementing new laws to govern drillers, citing a need for increased production efficiency and environmental awareness.
Porter wrote a guest post in the Austin Business Journal where he shared his thoughts on the current state of the industry, how the railroad system plays into the market and why increased regulations will yield positive results for all parties involved.
He began by stressing the magnitude of Texas' oil operation. According to Porter, not only is his home state the top producer in the United States, it represents 40 percent of the country's oil production and 30 percent of its natural gas production. The state reached these heights, he said, because of its enthusiasm toward both policy and technological innovation, as it has used laws to redefine industry best practices and has implemented systems designed to drastically improve the overall performance of producers.
Much of Porter's efforts have been focused on the amendment of Rule 13, which governs well construction requirements. Because the railroad system in Texas has played such a key role in the development of the state's oil industry, Porter took it as his personal responsibility to ensure a clear definition of these requirements, which would ultimately give producers and well developers a set of best practices to follow.
"The rule now more clearly outlines the requirements for all wells, consolidates the requirements for well control and blow-out preventers, and updates the requirements for drilling, casing, cementing, and fracture stimulation," he wrote. "These requirements will be applied fairly and do not add unnecessary burdens and costs to operators, and importantly, are not intended to have a more significant impact on smaller businesses than larger corporations."
One of the two key motivators behind this rule is to better protect the surrounding environment at various oil wells. It's also designed to improve oil production efficiency, which can have significant economic advantages, among numerous additional benefits. Producers in the area should be cognizant of any new rulings pertaining to their operations and invest accordingly into new solutions that can help with their compliance efforts.
For example, obtaining tools that increase the speed of oil and natural gas extraction is a wise investment due to the myriad of ways it can help production companies. A hydraulic lift solution can force regulatory compliance, better serve the environment and drastically improve production efficiency.
Porter's satisfaction with the end result of the Rule 13 amendment suggests that the right decisions were made and that the state will benefit as a whole.
"I am proud that we strengthened this rule under my watch, and I commend all stakeholders for their expertise and steadfast commitment over the past year," he wrote. "This rulemaking process is a prime example of all sides coming together to satisfy one mutual goal: effective energy regulations that ensure resource recovery operations meet or exceed environmental and safety compliance standards."
This also means that further regulatory measures are not out of the question. As numerous environmental factors become increasingly pressing to regulators, it's quite possible that the laws pertaining to drilling have not yet all been written, particularly considering the support current rules are receiving from positions of power. As such, producers should partner with an oil production solutions provider in order to stay ahead of any changes in their industry.