Texas Oil and Gas Laws

Texas oil and gas laws can be found in Chapter 85, Title 3 of the Texas Statute.  Pursuant to Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.045, the production, storage, or transportation of oil or gas in a manner, in an amount, or under conditions that constitute waste is unlawful and is prohibited.

Powers and Jurisdiction of Commission

Pursuant to Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.201, the commission makes and enforces rules and orders for the conservation of oil and gas and prevention of waste of oil and gas.

Pursuant to Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.202, the rules and orders of the commission include rules and orders:

  • to prevent waste, as defined in Section 85.046 of this code, of oil and gas in drilling and producing operations and in the storage, piping, and distribution of oil and gas;
  • to require dry or abandoned wells to be plugged in a manner that will confine oil, gas, and water in the strata in which they are found and prevent them from escaping into other strata;
  • for the drilling of wells and preserving a record of the drilling of wells;
  • to require wells to be drilled and operated in a manner that will prevent injury to adjoining property;
  • to prevent oil and gas and water from escaping from the strata in which they are found into other strata;
  • to provide rules for shooting wells and for separating oil from gas;
  • to require records to be kept and reports made; and
  • to provide for issuance of permits, tenders, and other evidences of permission when the issuance of the permits, tenders, or permission is necessary or incident to the enforcement of the commission’s rules or orders for the prevention of waste.

Civil Actions

Pursuant to Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.241, any interested person who is affected by the conservation laws of Texas or orders of the commission relating to oil or gas and the waste of oil or gas, and who is dissatisfied with any of these laws or orders, may file suit against the commission or its members in a court of competent jurisdiction in Travis County to test the validity of the law or order.

Pursuant to Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.321, a party who owns an interest in property or production that may be damaged by another party violating the provisions of the statute or another law of Texas prohibiting waste or a valid rule or order of the commission may sue for and recover damages and have any other relief to which he may be entitled at law or in equity.

Appeals

Pursuant to Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.253, after notice and hearing on an application for injunctive relief, either party to the suit is entitled to appeal the judgment or order granting or refusing the temporary restraining order, temporary or permanent injunction, or other form of injunctive relief or granting or overruling a motion to dissolve the temporary restraining order, temporary or permanent injunction, or other form of injunctive relief.

Penalties

Pursuant to Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.381, in addition to being subject to any forfeiture provided by law and to any penalty imposed by the commission for contempt for violation of its rules or orders, any person who violates the provisions of the code is subject to a penalty of not more than:

  • $ 10,000 when the provision, rule, or order pertains to safety or the prevention or control of pollution; or
  • $ 1,000 when the provision, rule, or order does not pertain to safety or the prevention or control of pollution.
  • The applicable maximum penalty may be assessed for each and every day of violation and for each and every act of violation[i].

Pursuant to Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.389, a person who is not the owner or operator of an oil well, gas well, or oil and gas well, a purchaser under contract of oil, gas, or oil and gas from a well, a gatherer with written authorization from the owner, operator, or purchaser, or an authorized representative of the commission who knowingly destroys, breaks, removes, or otherwise tampers with or attempts to destroy, break, remove, or otherwise tamper with any cap, seal, or other device placed on an oil well, gas well, oil and gas well, or associated oil or gas gathering equipment by the owner or operator for the purpose of controlling or limiting the operation of the well or associated equipment commits an offense.  An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

Texas Oil and Gas Laws

[i] Tex. Nat. Res. Code § 85.381(b).


Inside Texas Oil and Gas Laws