Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton, Texas Alliance respond to Sunset Staff report



WTI Crude Oil (Nymex) – 48.54, up 0.82 at 2:45 p.m., 5-17-16.Oil has risen to seven month high due to supply losses. 

Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton offered the following statement regarding the recent release of the Sunset staff’s report on the Railroad Commission of Texas.

“I appreciate the work of the Sunset Commission staff,” said Commissioner Sitton. “Their report has some constructive recommendations, and we all agree that the Railroad Commission needs to provide excellent service to the people of the state of Texas and the industry we regulate. As the next phase of this process begins, I look forward to working with members of the Sunset Commission and the Legislature to ensure that our agency is exceeding expectations and doing the kind of job everyone in Texas can be proud of. The Sunset staff report and our agency’s response are the beginning of an important process that I’m confident will make this agency more efficient and effective.”

Comments from Texas Alliance of Energy Producers after receiving the Railroad Commission Sunset Report for 2016 were that they were carefully reviewing it.

“Sunset staff and RRC staff are to be commended for working together. Reports like this are time consuming and complicated to generate.

“We have policy, operational, and funding concerns on several Sunset recommendations, notably issues 2, 3, and 4 (hearings, oil and gas monitoring and enforcement, and bonding). We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with our elected officials as we review and subsequently discuss these in detail.

“We would like to emphasize that the money funding the Railroad Commission Oil and Gas Division, the Well Plugging Program, and the Commission’s Enforcement and Contested Hearing process are not typical taxpayer funds. They are special fees and monies collected solely from the oil and gas industry. This “tax” on the oil and gas industry pays for the abandoned well pluggings, hearings, and Oil and Gas Division operating costs. General revenue dollars are not spent to fund RRC’s oil and gas regualtory oversight.

“We believe that the special expertise necessary to understand and regulate the industry lies within the Railroad Commission. We are hesitant, especially in these difficult times for the oil field, to weaken the state regulator and re-assign duties to other less experienced entities.

“We also have serious concerns about raising the cost of doing business in the state by increasing overhead through new bonding requirements.

“We respectfully ask our elected officials in the Legislature to please be very careful in the consideration of any new taxes, fees, increased overhead costs, or a transfer of regulatory duties involving the Railroad Commission due to the negative impact it may have on our Texas oil and gas industry that is already facing a drastic downturn.”

LEON ZABAVA is the Oil and Gas Editor for the Pleasanton Express. He can be reached at 830.281.2341 or lzabava@pleasantonexpress.com.

Murphy Oil and Production Co., USA, multi-well pad site northeast of Helena on CR 295 in Karnes County, with workover rig.

Murphy Oil and Production Co., USA, multi-well pad site northeast of Helena on CR 295 in Karnes County, with workover rig.

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