Texas Railroad Commission Issues New Regulations on Disposal Wells
New regulations covering disposal wells from hydraulic fracturing operations go into effect in Texas beginning in November. The new regulations by the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s regulating entity for oil and gas, are centered on the possible linkage between seismic activity and disposal wells.
There are four main components of the new regulations:
- Applicants for disposal wells must conduct a search on the US Geological Survey seismic database to determine if there is a history of earthquakes within a 100-sq-mile area around the site of the proposed disposal well.
- The new regulations clarify that the commission will have the authority to suspend or terminate a disposal well permit if there is any indication from scientific data that seismic activity in the area could occur because of the disposal well.
- Under the new regulations, disposal well operators will have to disclose annual reported volumes and pressures more frequently if the commission determines that there is a need for the information.
- The applicant of the disposal well will be required to provide information to the commission to demonstrate that disposal fluids will be confined when the well is located in an area with conditions making the migration of fluids likely.