RRC Grants Waivers, Takes Actions to Speed Hurricane Harvey Recovery

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AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) today announced several actions to speed recovery from the impacts of Hurricane Harvey. These actions will permit energy industry operators under RRC jurisdiction to focus on restoring operations as quickly as possible without compromising public safety and environmental protection.

Among the actions taken by the RRC:

  • Temporary administrative filing and reporting options for oil and gas operators impacted by Hurricane Harvey – The RRC’s P-5 Financial Assurance Department will delay severances for Form P-5 Organization Reports due Sept. 1, 2017 and Oct. 1, 2017. Rather than issuing severances for delinquent Form P-5 after the normal requirement of 30 days, the department will issue severances 60 days after the Form P-5 due date. Additionally, Rule 15 inactive well requirements, as well as all other administrative filings or reports will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Waivers permitting pipeline operators to use out-of-state personnel to participate in emergency response operations resulting from Hurricane Harvey – These waivers will be granted by the RRC on a case-by-case basis, for a period not to exceed 30 days, with possible extensions. The RRC enforces rules addressing operator qualifications established by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA). PHMSA agrees with RRC action. Pipeline operators granted this waiver are required to track the covered tasks and locations performed by any non-qualified and/or other assigned personnel (including out-of-state) for the duration of the waiver.
  • Waiver of certain licensing requirements for liquified petroleum gas (LP-gas) activities, employee certifications and vehicle operations – This is a blanket waiver granted by the Governor of Texas at the request of the RRC. This waiver temporarily reduces the regulations for operation of some LP-gas containers and system activities, certifications required for LP-gas workers and vehicles transporting LP-gas. Where applicable, licensing, certification and inspection requirements in an employee or vehicle’s home state must be met. Written notice to the Commission is required prior to any entity acting under this waiver.

Chairman Christi Craddick said, “As Texans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, partnerships across all levels of government are assisting with critical recovery processes. In an effort to provide relief to our state’s energy industry and help to speed up recovery operations in the energy sector, the Railroad Commission is taking action to extend deadlines on administrative paperwork and temporarily waive requirements while operators focus on safely getting oil and gas production back online. Texans are showing extraordinary resilience through this exceptionally difficult time, and the Railroad Commission is doing its part to support a strong recovery for our state.”

For additional information, please visit the RRC’s Hurricane Harvey Response page here.