Last week Texas made national news when we learned that Texas has the most drilling but the worst regulation in the nation.
The following information is based on the results of a ProPublica survey of 32 oil and gas producing states and the survey information published in an article entitled “State Oil and Gas Regulators Are Spread Too Thin to Do Their Jobs” by Abrahm Lustgarten on December 30, 2009.
Oil and Gas Wells
Based on the information provided on 25 of the states surveyed, in 2008 Texas had the largest number of total wells, 263,704 wells, of all states surveyed. Oklahoma ranks second with 126,281 wells which are half the number of wells in Texas. Kansas, Pennsylvania and Ohio have 24 to 30 percent of the number of wells in Texas.
In addition to having the largest number of total wells, Texas also has the largest number of new wells drilled in 2008. Texas has four times as many wells drilled in 2008 when compared to Oklahoma and Pennsylvania and 4.8 times as many wells as drilled in Colorado and California.
Louisiana has the largest number of enforcement staff, 185, of any state, while Texas ranks second with 106 enforcement staff and Kansas, third with 90 enforcement staff. Louisiana averages 214 wells per enforcement staff while Texas averages 2,488 wells per enforcement staff. Kansas averages 870 wells per enforcement staff.
- New wells in Texas are up 75%
- Inspection staffing increased 5%
- Enforcement actions increased 6%
- Texas Railroad Commission budget decreased 10%
Texas state auditor’s report
- In the five years between 2001 and 2006 nearly half of the state’s wells hadn’t been inspected.
(It also said regulators’ routine acceptance of gifts from the companies they police raised questions about their objectivity and conflicts of interest, and the commission imposed a $50 limit on gifts as a result.)