On Wednesday, Energy Workforce & Technology Council SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley testified at the Texas State House of Representatives Committee on Environmental Regulation hearing in Odessa on the federally funded orphaned well program.
This committee, chaired by Texas State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R- Odessa), has oversight on the Texas state orphaned well plugging program which is managed by the Texas Railroad Commission. The hearing was an opportunity for the committee to get expert testimony from industry stakeholders on how to best use the funding from the federal orphaned well cleanup program passed in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last year. Tarpley had the opportunity to share perspectives from Energy Workforce Member Companies who are participating in this program, and discuss ways to make this expanded program a success.
In his testimony, Tarpley outlined three main issues the Railroad Commission should consider as it seeks to utilize the more than $344 million that is estimated to be allocated to Texas for this program. First, Tarpley suggested the expanded Texas program should be designed in a way that allows for the prioritization of wells that are releasing the most emissions, but also accounts for the proximity to other orphaned wells targeted to be plugged.
Second, he discussed the importance of ensuring the work is done by companies that are experienced, so the wells are properly plugged and remediated and taxpayers receive a good return on their investment. He highlighted points from the white paper developed by the Energy Workforce Orphan Wells Working group this spring to reiterate the importance of utilizing experienced teams to manage this complicated work.
Third, he suggested the Railroad Commission design the program in a way that incentivizes companies to do the work in a tight labor and supply chain market where servicing companies are in high demand and raw materials can be difficult to attain.
If you are interested in Energy Workforce’s advocacy efforts or would like to join the Government Affairs Committee, contact SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley.
Deidre Almstead Kohlrus, Director Government Affairs, writes about industry-specific policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.