Permit Issuance in Texas

According to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), in 2013, a total of 21,471 drilling permits were issued in the state of Texas. In the same year, 19,249 oil wells were completed.

Drilling permit issuance started in Texas in 1960. On that year, 15,601 permits were issued. 9,666 oil wells were also completed on the same year.

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The state experienced a record high in its drilling permit issuance in the early 1980s. In 1980, 39,442 permits were issued. In 1981, 47,940 were issued. In 1982, 41,224 were issued. In 1983, 45,550. In 1984, 37,507.

In 1985, the decline in permit issuance started when only 30,878 permits were given out. The following year, 1986, was even worse as only half of the previous year’s permits were given out: 15,894. The next years saw the permit issuance decline until in 1999, the state experienced its lowest record. On that year, only 8,430 permits were issued. Other low performances include 1998 with 9,385 permits and 2002 with 9,716 permits.

In recent years, 2012 alone showed a dismal performance when only 12,212 permits were issued.

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How do I file drilling permit applications online through the RRC Online System?

Before you can file online, you need a User ID and password assigned to you by your company’s designated Security Administrator. Below are the steps that need to be followed.

  • Designate a Security Administrator(s) by filing of a Security Administrator Designation (SAD) Form with the Railroad Commission if one has not already been designated. The Commission assigns a User ID to the Security Administrator.
  • The Security Administrator must assign User IDs and filing rights for any person filing electronically. DO NOT FILE A SAD FORM FOR EACH PERSON FILING ELECTRONICALLY.
  • Log into the RRC Online System by entering the User ID and password assigned to you by your Security Administrator. (You can change your password once you have logged in.)
  • Select the Drilling Permit Applications System, and file your application online using the pages that are provided
  • If you are set up to file your PR reports online only, you still must be set up to file Drilling Permits online.

What is needed to file drilling permit applications electronically?

To submit filings through the RRC Online System, the following is required:

  • Personal Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Standard web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 5.5/SP2 or higher)
  • Image scanner for capturing attachments electronically (IN .TIF FORMAT ONLY).
  • A scanning resolution with a minimum of 200 dots per inch is required for recording documents that contain no type font smaller than six points. For documents with a type font smaller than 6 points, scanning resolution must be adequate to ensure that no information is lost.

    For plats, Operators are required to enter pre-scanned plat paper size and to show a scale bar on the plat. When the scanned plat is printed out from the electronic record on the same size paper as the original, the scale is the same. The bar ensures that the scale is identical.

  • Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, or e-check for payment of permit fees. Payment of fees may only be made through the State of Texas payment portal by credit card or e-check. Access to the payment portal is provided with the application. A 3% processing fee is added to each charge. ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.