Texas Railroad Commission Well-Plugging Program Audited
On July 8, the Texas State Auditor’s Office issued an audit report regarding the Texas Railroad Commission’s ("RRC’s") program for plugging abandoned oil and gas wells. Through its Oil and Gas Regulation and Cleanup Program, the RRC uses industry fees to plug abandoned wells and remediate abandoned sites that pose high pollution risks. The report found that the RRC creates annual plugging goals for its district offices and that those offices follow RRC policies and procedures to prioritize and recommend wells that should be plugged. The report also found that the RRC generally has effective processes and controls to collect required financial assurances from oil and gas well operators, but that it should strengthen certain controls to ensure that it can collect on those financial assurances before they expire. Finally, the report found that the RRC generally has adequate information technology policies, but that certain information technology controls should be strengthened. Additional information about the audit report is available on the RRC's website.