Texas RR Comm. Takes Action to Ensure Energy Supplies for Upcoming Winter


Among all facilities we have visited so far, our inspectors physically observed that natural gas facilities have put in place devices and processes to harden their assets against cold weather conditions.

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – The Railroad Commission of Texas sent a 2nd Notice to Operators to Natural Gas Producers & Facilities with updated information on best practices to help ensure natural gas supply during energy emergencies.

Operators have already received prior notices to file ERCOT’s critical load designation application with their utilities for the upcoming winter, as well as previously compiled weatherization best practices.
 
"It has been wrongly reported that for $150 any company can be exempted from preparing for winter. That is an application fee, not a get-out-of-jail free card – no company will automatically receive an exemption and applications can and will be denied," said RRC Chairman Wayne Christian.

“Meaningful and responsible implementation of Winter Storm Uri legislation has been a top priority for myself and the Railroad Commission of Texas since February,” said Commissioner Christi Craddick.

“I appreciate the efforts of agency staff and stakeholders, whose hard work and diligence will benefit all Texans,” Craddick (right,) said.

These are the latest in a string of actions the RRC has undertaken since the end of the summer to ensure gas is flowing and available to protect Texans in case of weather emergencies this winter.
 
  • Inspectors from multiple RRC divisions have conducted site visits to observe winter preparations.
  • RRC inspectors visited more than 2,550 facilities so far including a broad spectrum of natural gas infrastructure.
  • These include:
    • Oil & Gas Leases that have more than 14,000 active producing or disposal wells;
    • Large gas storage facilities;
    • Processing plants;
    • Close to 50 pipelines directly serving gas-fired power generators; and
    • about 150 other transmission pipeline facilities used to transport natural gas.
The RRC will continue this effort throughout the rest of the year and the upcoming winter.

“Between these ongoing site visits and calls with executives of the top natural gas producers and pipelines, by volume, we know first-hand through onsite observations that operators are undertaking measures that will provide gas supplies under normal and emergency conditions,” said Ted Wooten, Director of the RRC’s Critical Infrastructure Division.

“The Commission takes preparation for this upcoming winter very seriously. Among all facilities we have visited so far, our inspectors physically observed that natural gas facilities have put in place devices and processes to harden their assets against cold weather conditions.

"The measures go beyond what’s being done on the equipment itself. For example, in order to keep operations up and running some operators will provide temporary shelter and supplies on leases for their staff, all part of a proactive plan to reduce any concerns for traveling on icy roads and the associated worker safety
,” Wooten said.

"By putting eyes on site and boots on ground, our inspectors provide that verification of gas companies’ preparedness.”

Among the many actions taken in response to Winter Storm Uri, last week the Commission adopted rules on critical designation of natural gas facilities which help ensure gas continues to flow during energy emergencies.

The agency is also working closely with the PUC in developing attribute layers (i.e., shapefiles) that will be included in a map of the state’s electricity supply chain and natural gas infrastructure along that chain.

These efforts will help prepare Texas even better for extreme weather conditions.
 
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