Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) Commissioner Christi Craddick on Tuesday outlined her plans for lightening the regulatory burden on the state’s oil and natural gas producers.

Craddick’s Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative is intended to improve efficiencies at the state’s energy regulatory body, as well as for oil and gas producers working to sustain business operations during the current downturn in the energy sector, RRC said. “The initiative will reduce the regulatory administrative burden on industry while ensuring the commission continues to protect the public and environment,” it said.

The initiative would provide for:

Industry trade groups praised the measures.

“With the current industry downturn, at stake is the survival of the state’s small producers and the oil industry’s many marginal wells, which make up 85% of total U.S. oil wells and 18% of the nation’s total oil output,” said Judy Stark, Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association executive vice president. “During this critical time, Commissioner Craddick’s initiative will provide relief to Texas’ independent producers, the backbone of both our state and nation’s oil industry.”

The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers said it “wholeheartedly supports Commissioner Craddick’s Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative and appreciates the time, effort and thought that the commissioner and staff have devoted to its formation and implementation.”

Earlier this year, another Texas Sunset Commission review of the RRC recommended again a name change of the agency, stricter monitoring and enforcement of industry and changes to hearings procedures, among other things (see Daily GPI ,May 2). The review is under way, with the next hearing scheduled for Aug. 22.