Railroad Commission votes not to cut Texas oil production

Published: May. 5, 2020 at 6:18 PM CDT
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After weeks of consideration, the Texas Railroad Commission has voted against cutting the state’s oil and gas production.

In a 2 to 1 vote on Tuesday, both Chairman Wayne Christian and Commissioner Christi Craddick rejected the request for state-mandated cuts.

“One hundred percent of the time when we enter one of these problems,” Christian said in the meeting, “We come out stronger, richer, more successful and better off than we did the time before.

Nearly a month ago, the Railroad Commission held a 10-hour-long hearing on proration.

In it, President of Latigo Petroleum Kirk Edwards argued in favor of state cuts, believing it would save smaller companies from going out of business.

“There’s 2900 independent, small producers in Texas alone,” Edwards said Tuesday. “They don’t have the clout. They can’t get their oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Louisiana. They don’t have pipelines like the big majors do, to take their oil from here to the Gulf Coast. So the independents are always the first ones to get shut out.”

Still, Edwards said he understood the Railroad Commission’s decision, because cuts in Texas would mean nothing if tankers full of foreign oil keep sailing for American shores.

“We have to have some help from Washington [D.C.],” Edwards said. “We can’t battle Saudi Arabia from Texas. We can’t battle it from the Permian Basin. We’ve got to have this Trump administration step up to the Saudis and the Russians and everybody else that wants to manipulate our system, before anything can happen here in Texas.”

Two weeks ago, Christian announced the creation of a Blue Ribbon Task Force for economic recovery.

Based on the task force’s findings, he and Craddick believe it’s right to leave decision-making to the producers, and let the market sort itself out.

“We had 400 drilling rigs running here in the Permian Basin just two months ago,” Edwards said. “That’ll be zero here in another two months. It doesn’t make any sense how that’s a free market when you allow a foreign country to do that to us.”

In Tuesday’s meeting, Christian instructed the Blue Ribbon Task Force to now look into natural gas flaring, and return with its findings at the June 16 meeting.