Texas to streamline rules to help energy sector

The No. 1 oil producer in the United States is feeling economic pressures from low oil prices.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Aug. 10, 2016 at 6:12 AM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- A Texas state energy regulator said it was cutting some of the red tape so those working in the oil and gas industry could better survive the downturn.

The Texas Railroad Commission, the state's energy regulator, introduced nearly a dozen initiatives aimed at reducing some of the regulatory burdens, including a scheme meant to erase some redundancies in the drilling permit process.

Dubbed as the Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative, Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick said the effort eases some of the pressure on an industry working through a market downturn while at the same time protecting public and environmental health.

"This initiative is an extension of our commitment to best serve Texas with innovative regulatory practices, yet calls for a more thorough review in a time of industry slow-down when we should find ways to save time and money for the state and those doing business at the agency," she said in a statement.

Texas is the No. 1 oil producer in the country and is facing financial pressures because of the downturn in crude oil prices. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said last week that a review of first-quarter data showed employment across the state wasn't as robust as initially anticipated.

There are signs of recovery on the horizon, though the combination of lower crude oil prices and slow growth in the U.S. economy are having a heavy impact on the state's economy.

Craddick's initiatives were welcomed by those working in the Texas energy sector. John Tintera, the executive vice president at the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, said in an emailed commentary the effort would streamline the regulation process to the advantage of the oil and gas industry.

"This initiative will undoubtedly help keep the doors open at many oil and gas businesses, bring jobs back to the oilfield and, most importantly, provide regulatory stability through solid, common sense regulation - which is essential for all industries," he said.

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