The Railroad Commission of Texas (the Commission) has been involved in regulating the oil and gas industry, including preventing pollution of land and water, since 1919. The Commission recognizes the importance of its role with respect to waste minimization. Government can provide a good avenue for communication between members of all segments of the oil and gas industry. Also, it is in the government's interest for the oil and gas industry to be successful in its waste minimization efforts - successful waste minimization can increase industry ability to comply with regulations.
The Commission's Waste Minimization Program was formally launched in 1992. In May, 1993, the Commission prepared and distributed a survey to gather information on industry waste minimization practices and opinions regarding incentives and barriers. Survey participants and other interested persons attended a follow-up Pollution Prevention Workshop to express their ideas on how the Commission could effectively assist the industry in its waste minimization efforts. The Commission has incorporated many of these ideas in its Waste Minimization Program.
The Commission has since implemented several activities to promote oil and gas waste minimization. These include: 1) providing operators access to a technology transfer database that contains technical papers and articles addressing waste minimization in oil and gas operations; 2) publishing a waste minimization manual for distribution to oil and gas operators; 3) presenting a waste minimization workshop to operators and Commission staff at locations statewide; 4) publishing the "Waste Minimization Program Newsletter" to complement the other program activities; and 5) offering on-site visits to assist operators in assessing operations and developing waste minimization plans. Also, we are continuing to look for possible changes in existing rules and procedures to eliminate barriers to, and create positive incentives for, waste minimization efforts.
The oil and gas industry has responded enthusiastically to the Waste Minimization Program and provided numerous case studies of successful waste minimization efforts and other waste minimization information. This paper provides several examples of the case studies that have been provided by industry participants in the program.