Oil and gas is not only a big part of our state’s economy - it is a Texas way of life. In certain areas of the state, entire communities either work within or are connected to the oil and gas industry.
In fact, today it is impossible to separate Texas from discussions about U.S. energy production and the prolific strides our nation has made as the top oil and gas producer in the world. Even through the downturn, more than 30 percent of both total U.S. oil and natural gas is produced in Texas and energy supports more than 30 percent of the Texas economy.
The oil and gas industry’s significance to the state of Texas is precisely why I have launched the Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative.
High paying oil and gas jobs are important to the families who hold them and to the overall strength of our state’s expert workforce. The revenue generated by the energy industry in Texas supports every facet of our lives: public schools, higher education, children’s healthcare, infrastructure and economic development, and the list goes on.
The success of our state’s relationship with energy production and the many benefits associated with it are the result of decades of hard work. The Railroad Commission provides the stability the industry needs for growth, and world-renowned regulatory leadership which safeguards our citizens and resources.
As an extension of our commitment to best serve Texas, the Commission constantly reviews its rules to ensure we protect the public and environment, while at the same time taking care not to impede industry progress. The downturn makes these efforts even more critical today and for the long-term success of our state’s oil and gas industry.
With a growing list of needed efficiencies, and after a comprehensive review of our processes, the Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative builds upon the successes we have already achieved and makes the agency more effective in the way it regulates the production of energy.
Most importantly, the initiative will save countless hours of staff time and tens of millions of dollars for oil and gas operators in Texas without hindering our ability to keep the state safe. We are making government work better, faster and more economically - for taxpayers and industry alike.
In streamlining the Commission, the initiative goes beyond speeding up our review processes. It eliminates unnecessary paperwork that costs oil and gas producers time and money without yielding any real benefits for Texas citizens. It restructures reporting and compliance conditions to save costs for both the state and industry. It adjusts the requirements for oil and gas wells with minimal production to allow every well in Texas to produce to its full potential. It makes better use of taxpayer resources by prioritizing drilling inspections in sensitive areas.
What exactly does all of this mean? It means we are applying common sense to reduce bureaucracy so that oil and gas companies can save costs they would have spent complying with over-burdensome rules and instead use those dollars to put Texans back to work in the oilfield. Ultimately, it means business is easier to conduct in Texas, attracting more oil and gas producers to our state, creating more jobs and safely producing more energy. It means Texas can help move the U.S. that much closer to energy independence.
With 125 years of strong regulatory leadership at the Railroad Commission on the books, we have the tools we need to ensure Texas remains a top oil and gas producer for the benefit of our state and our nation.
Christi Craddick is a member of the Railroad Commission of Texas.