SHALE Oil & Gas Business Magazine: Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, David Porter: Getting the Job Done

David Porter: Getting The Job Done

Sitting down with the Railroad Commission of Texas Chairman David Porter could be an intimidating experience, that is, if you are not already well-acquainted with Porter himself.

Photo by: Michael Giordano

David Porter: Getting The Job Done

The Chairman’s window-lined corner office sits on the top floor of the William B. Travis Building and clearly overlooks the Texas Capitol, just two blocks up the road. Porter slowly reclines in his leather wingback chair as he carefully formulates and thoughtfully delivers intelligent, direct responses.

The state official has sometimes been described as shy, although those that know him on a personal level would laugh at such a mischaracterization. He is reserved by nature, but what some may perceive as timidity is more likely evidence of the intense thought process and weighty balancing act constantly occurring in his mind.

As the senior regulator of the Texas oil and gas industry, Porter has been tasked with the dual responsibility of protecting the health and safety of Texans while simultaneously promoting and facilitating the efficient and economic production of the state’s natural resources — a duty he does not take lightly.

Throughout his nearly six years as Railroad Commissioner, Porter has proven to be a pragmatic, astute decision-maker and an effective leader. He may not always deliver the best 30-second sound bite and seldom seizes an opportunity to grandstand. But he does deliver consistent results and steady, fact-based regulation.

Porter arrived on the Austin political scene in 2010 as somewhat of an unknown. The conservative Republican had lived a low-key life in Midland where he owned a small accounting business, primarily catering to independent oil and gas and oilfield service companies, and raised a daughter with his wife, Cheryl. He had long been active in politics, having served as a precinct Chairman for the Republican Party and a stint on the local hospital board, in addition to being involved with dozens of campaigns in some capacity.

His bid for a spot on the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), however, was his first personal foray into the public arena. The newcomer successfully unseated a longtime incumbent — something that is not easy to accomplish — and had many wondering, “Who is David Porter?”

Those who have followed his career on the Commission closely have witnessed the subtle transformation of this seemingly quiet accountant from West Texas into a dignified, well-respected statesman.

With that said, Porter is still far from being a big-city bureaucrat or entrenched Austin insider.

“I’m proud that I never had a government office or paid position before I ran for Railroad Commissioner,” he says. “I really still don’t consider myself a politician.”

Politician or not, Porter has certainly come into his own. Yet even as he has fully grown into his leadership role, now serving as Chairman of the RRC, he hasn’t lost the genuine traits that make him a welcome anomaly in the state’s highly politicized capital.

“I’ve always believed the old adage that it’s amazing how much you can get done as long as you don’t care who gets credit for it, which is a little unusual in this city,” he says.

Porter’s ability to get things done and bring people together in an efficient and productive manner is truly the hallmark of his tenure at the Railroad Commission, a legacy he hopes to continue for another six-year term.

The Chairman has officially announced his bid for reelection to the three-member Commission in 2016. While some candidates on the campaign trail make overstretched and sometimes unrealistic promises, the no-fuss incumbent must only point to his history at the Commission as proof of his ability to lead the historic agency and regulate one of the most robust, essential industries in Texas.

Fighting For Survival

One of the biggest testaments to his leadership came within days of being sworn in as Commissioner. Porter was immediately thrown into the deep end — forced to fight to maintain the structure and existence of the 124-year-old Railroad Commission.

In Texas, nearly all state agencies and government entities undergo a Sunset review about every 12 years to ensure it is still necessary and functioning efficiently.

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission staff essentially conducts an audit of the agency under review and issues a detailed report, including recommendations to the Legislature, which then holds hearings and accepts public comment. Lawmakers proceed to file legislation determining the future of the agency based on the recommendations and input.

In 2011, the Railroad Commission was up for Sunset review, and sentiments toward the regulatory body were less than favorable.

“I got over here and quickly realized that unless something was done to argue for the benefits of the Commission, there was a good chance it was going to be basically destroyed, if not gone, by the end of the legislative session,” Porter recalls.

One of the most contentious items on Sunset’s list of recommendations was the proposal to completely restructure the agency’s leadership, going from three elected Commissioners instead to five appointees. Based on this suggestion, the Legislature also contemplated the notion of having only one elected Commissioner. Either way, Porter and his colleagues would essentially be out of a job.

“The actual result of [this] recommendation would be to vacate the votes of millions of Texans cast over the last three election cycles,” the new Commissioner said at the time. “I was recently elected to this office with nearly 60 percent of the vote — votes that should count — and intend to serve the people of Texas in the job they elected me to do.”

From day one, Porter has been an outspoken advocate of maintaining the current structure of the Commission as originally intended in the Texas Constitution.

“Limited government and balance of power within different sections of government are two of the most important fundamental principles on which our system of democracy was built,” Porter says. “Fast-forward a couple hundred years, and the same thinking is still valid.”

“You get more continuity, wisdom and judgment long-term by having the collective knowledge and experience of three people instead of one person,” he adds.

Other Sunset recommendations included transferring the Commission’s enforcement hearings and contested gas utility cases to the State Office of Administrative Hearings and moving gas utility regulation from the RRC to the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

For the first five or six months of his term, Porter basically camped out at the Texas Capitol, testifying before legislative panels and doing whatever he could to advocate for the continued well-being of the Commission.

Fortunately for the agency, the industry and Texas voters, Porter was successful in his attempt to defend the RRC from major disruptions, although the issue was not fully put to rest. Instead, the Railroad Commission would undergo another Sunset review the following session.

Sometimes you have to do the work behind the scenes; other times you have to get out in front and lead the band. I can do, and have done, both. Whatever it takes to get the job done.

In 2013, Sunset recommendations again focused on the Commissioners, however, this time addressing the appearance of conflicts of interest. The suggested provisions included limiting when Commissioners could solicit and receive campaign contributions, adoption of a recusal policy and automatic resignation of a Commissioner who announces candidacy for another office.

Railroad Commissioners have historically received criticism that the post is used as a stepping stone to run for higher office. While this may not apply to the current Commissioners, it is still an issue that they have been repeatedly prompted to address.

“I answer it this way: I haven’t run for any other offices and I have no intention of running for any other offices at the current point in time,” Porter asserts. Moreover, the Chairman is actively campaigning to keep his position on the Commission.

“If you look at the lack of success Railroad Commissioners have had running for other offices, I don’t know that that’s really a valid objection anymore,” he adds.

At the heart of the Commissioners’ defense over these issues is the fact that all executive branch elected officials are held to the same standards in the Texas Constitution; to unnecessarily target Railroad Commissioners and create a separate, higher standard would seem arbitrary at best.

In 2013, the discussions took an even more disconcerting turn when the idea of abolishing the agency entirely came into play. Some suggested the RRC was no longer necessary and should be essentially dismembered and parceled out to other state agencies.

Again, the Chairman went to bat for the agency and was successful in maintaining its continuation, although this means that the Railroad Commission will again be up for Sunset review in 2017.

Porter admits that the process can be arduous and puts a serious strain on the Commission’s staff and resources. Being a well-balanced leader, however, he points out that not all of the recommendations have been negative or overly critical.

Throughout the process, the RRC has voluntarily implemented some suggestions by Sunset staff in order to improve the agency. The Commission has increased transparency in its enforcement process, now publishing this information online; formally adopted penalty guidelines; and created a pipeline permit fee to help support its Pipeline Safety program.

Yet with a third Sunset review staring down the agency, it would be advantageous to have a strong advocate who has gone through the process not just once but twice.

“It’s important for somebody to be here who has a history with Sunset and extensive experience defending the agency, someone who is familiar with the issues and can talk about these issues knowledgeably, someone who has helped make a lot of the recommended changes and has seen their positive impact firsthand,” Porter says.

Opening the Lines of Communication

While Porter may have fought diligently to stave off certain changes to the historic Railroad Commission, he has worked equally as hard to make some positive reforms of his own, especially in terms of public outreach and communication.

Shortly after taking office, Porter realized the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas was poised to become not just one of the biggest discoveries of oil and gas reserves, but also one of the most significant economic discoveries in our state’s history. As such, the new leader knew he needed to take proactive steps to ensure development of the region was handled properly.

“One of the main reasons I decided to run for Railroad Commissioner in 2009 was because of what had occurred in the Barnett Shale,” he begins.

In the early 2000s, oil and gas drilling activity in the Barnett Shale skyrocketed, as it was the first shale play to be commercially produced by the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. It was also the first major play in Texas to be situated directly in a highly populated urban area, often putting petroleum production and residential communities at odds.

“The perception in the media and a lot of the general public, largely caused by radical environmentalists, was that the Railroad Commission was doing nothing — that oil and gas companies were not regulated and basically free to do whatever they wanted to do,” the state official explains. “Which is, of course, a misperception.”

In order to avoid some of those issues, Porter created the Eagle Ford Shale Task Force, the first of its kind at the agency.

The diverse 24-member task force is comprised of local community leaders, elected officials, oil and gas producers, water representatives, pipeline companies, oilfield service companies, and environmental and landowner interests.

The group has held numerous meetings throughout the South Texas region beginning in July 2011, and it tackled pressing issues such as workforce development; infrastructure; water quality and quantity; RRC regulations; economic benefits; flaring and air emissions; health, education and social services; and landowner, mineral owner and royalty owner issues.

“The task force really got people talking and working together,” the group’s founder says. “While not everything was perfect, development in the Eagle Ford — especially in terms of community relations — certainly went much smoother than in the Barnett Shale. The task force was a vital factor in that improvement and outcome,”

In March 2013, in the midst of the 83rd Legislative Session, Porter issued the Eagle Ford Shale Task Force Report. The 155-page compilation of information regarding development of the shale, as discussed by the task force, was the first comprehensive report written about an oil and gas shale play.

“The report gave a lot of members of the Legislature and Texas communities a solid knowledge base about what was going on in the Eagle Ford,” he explains, adding it intentionally lacks outright policy recommendations, especially given a majority of the topics discussed are tangential to oil and gas production but not necessarily within the RRC’s purview.

“We left it to the Legislature and local policy makers to use the information to determine what course of action they thought they should pursue.”

Not only was the report beneficial in the early stages of development, it continues to be a valuable educational resource.

“A lot of people since then have used parts of it,” Porter says. “It still has a lot of validity if someone wants to read through and get a general primer on what is going on in a big play.”

Porter’s proactive leadership and visionary approach toward development in the Eagle Ford quickly earned him attention and accolades, although he certainly won’t tell you that himself.

“Commissioner Porter showed exemplary leadership and great initiative when he created the Task Force in 2011,” former Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said in a press release issued at the time.

“I applaud Commissioner Porter’s efforts to take proactive measures [toward] ensuring the responsible development of the Eagle Ford Shale,” State Rep. Jim Keffer also said, who was at the time Chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee.

South Texas State Rep. Richard Peña Raymond even donned Porter “the new pope of the Eagle Ford” at a press conference announcing the release of the report. (The announcement of a new pope had also come earlier that day from the Vatican.)

In 2013, Porter was named “Man of the Year” by The Oil & Gas Year, Eagle Ford, Texas, as well as being recognized by SHALE Oil & Gas Business Magazine and Unconventional Oil & Gas Magazine for his foresight and guidance.

Fueling the Economy

Porter’s Eagle Ford Shale Task Force was a hit, but he didn’t stop there.

In October 2013, the Chairman launched his Texas Natural Gas Initiative in an effort to promote and increase the use of natural gas in Texas, focusing largely on expanding utilization by the transportation and exploration and production sectors.

“I realized, at that point in time, there was a huge dichotomy between how well the oil side of the industry was doing versus natural gas,” Porter recalls. Oil was averaging around $100 a barrel and heading higher, while natural gas was hovering around $3 to $4 per McF. “I thought if we really want to get the economy cracking, it would be good if gas was doing as well as oil.”

Porter goes on to explain the benefits of using clean-burning natural gas as a transportation fuel. The homegrown resource is abundant, with Texas accounting for nearly 30 percent of total U.S. natural gas production. Plus, natural gas production within our state directly bolsters the Texas economy, providing valuable jobs and significant tax revenue as well as encouraging capital investment in Texas businesses.

The Chairman has traveled the state hosting a series of events that bring stakeholders together to discuss business opportunities and challenges, as well as regulatory barriers and solutions for natural gas conversion and infrastructure.

The forums have been highly attended and have included pertinent lawmakers such as Commissioner Toby Baker of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and State Rep. Jason Isaac, member of the House Environmental Regulation Committee. Other notable attendees include State Sens. Carlos Uresti and Judith Zaffirini, plus State Reps. Drew Darby, Jim Keffer, Phil King, Geanie Morrison, Chris Paddie and David Simpson.

The 2014 series culminated with the first-ever Texas Natural Gas Summit & Job Fair in Austin last October.

Many important ideas and issues have been discussed, and real change has already come about as a direct result of Porter’s efforts. The Texas Department of Transportation began posting signage along highways indicating locations of natural gas refueling stations, which has helped natural gas vehicle owners and increased overall awareness of such alternative options.

Since launching his initiative, sales of natural gas as a transportation fuel in Texas have doubled, and the number of natural gas fueling stations has increased by an astounding 88 percent.

The Chairman has also worked to highlight other uses of natural gas, for example, as on-site generation for drilling rigs and related equipment. In December 2013, Porter hosted an on-site generation workshop at the Commission in Austin and discussed the use of natural gas to power equipment on-site at multiple workshops. As of July, 15 percent of drilling engines in the U.S. now use natural gas fuel.

The former accountant acknowledges that the rapid decline in oil prices has narrowed the differential between oil and natural gas significantly, which has somewhat slowed its adoption. But he maintains that long term, the benefits of using natural gas hold true and believes that natural gas will continue to provide a desirable alternative fuel source.

Porter’s Texas Natural Gas Initiative not only motivated many to convert to natural gas, it inspired others to carry on his mission a step further.

“[Rep.] Jason Isaac and Dr. Ken Morgan, of Texas Christian University, who were both very instrumental in helping with the workshops, very much believe in the direction that we were going and they decided to start a foundation to advance this goal from the nonprofit side,” he explains.

In August, an esteemed group of industry, government and academic leaders established the Texas Natural Gas Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization working to further increase public awareness, support and knowledge of the benefits of using Texas’ natural gas.

Working Together on Oversight

Porter is continuing the theme of public outreach and stakeholder involvement by directing Commission staff to hold another set of statewide workshops aimed at opening the lines of communication with local officials and regulatory bodies. The Railroad Commission’s municipal workshops were created in light of one of the biggest hot-button issues facing the oil and gas industry today: local control.

In November 2014, Denton voters approved a citywide ban on hydraulic fracturing after mounting tensions and miscommunications between the city, residents, oil and gas producers, and the Railroad Commission. Lawsuits were immediately filed questioning the constitutionality of the ban, arguing this authority fell under the purview of state regulators.

Before the courts could weigh in, the Texas Legislature passed legislation on the matter. House Bill 40 set out to clarify and reinforce state law by enumerating the jurisdiction of the state and that of municipalities over oil and gas regulation in Texas.

Consequently, the Denton hydraulic fracturing ban was eventually overturned and the suits dropped.

In an effort to work together with cities toward avoiding any further ambiguity or misunderstandings, Porter has taken the lead on initiating a series of working sessions involving RRC senior and district staff, mayors, city managers, inspectors and others who deal directly with oil and gas activity on the local levels.

“What we really want to do is sit down with the cities and have a conversation so they can fully understand the policies, procedures and capabilities of the Railroad Commission; see if there are any areas where they feel there are gaps that we should look at; and let them know who they can call to talk to if they have questions or need something inspected,” the Chairman explains.

The first meetings were held in October and the remainder are scheduled to take place over the following several months.

Overseeing Historic Rule-Makings

Porter has certainly devoted significant time and energy on public and stakeholder involvement outside the Commission, but these efforts have in no way precluded him from being actively engaged in the daily activities and his important responsibilities within the agency’s walls.

In fact, since taking office the Chairman has overseen a near-record amount of rule revisions in order to keep the Railroad Commission’s regulations current and up-to-date.

“Because of the rapid technical changes, particularly hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling and the changes that have arisen from that technology, the whole drilling paradigm has basically shifted from a vertical world to a horizontal world and there’s been a significant increase in activity,” he explains.

For example, the Commission revamped its outdated water recycling regulations in March 2013 to reflect advancements in the field.

“We found that, with the changes in technology, some of our rules were actually inhibiting water recycling rather than encouraging it,” Porter recalls.

Amendments to the rules clarified recycling permit requirements and eliminated operators’ need for a permit to recycle water on their lease or to transfer fluid to another operator’s lease to be recycled.

In May 2013, the Railroad Commission also adopted amendments to Statewide Rule 13 regarding well casing, cementing and integrity standards. Commission staff worked closely with stakeholders and interested parties for over a year to carefully craft a workable rule, which contains some of the most stringent requirements on well casing and integrity in the country.

“By going above and beyond any federal requirements and exceeding almost every other state’s standards, we’re sending a strong message to the federal government that we in Texas are best able to regulate the oil and gas industry in our state,” the Chairman says.

In October 2014, the Commission adopted changes to its rules governing disposal and injection in response to a string of seemingly unexplained seismic events in areas of North Texas beginning in late 2013.

Media and environmentalists were quick to blame the tremors on oil and gas activity. While there has been some speculative correlation between disposing large amounts of fluid into certain formations and seismicity, the science is still inconclusive.

I’m proud that I never had a government office or paid position before I ran for Railroad Commissioner. I really still don’t consider myself a politician.

Even so, Porter took what many would call a political risk, and in January 2014 he hosted a packed town hall meeting in the heart of the activity — Azle, Texas. Roughly 800 attendees showed up for the emotionally charged session that lasted well into the evening.

“Although I was troubled to hear what these residents have been and are experiencing, I believe it is important to listen to their accounts firsthand to better understand their concerns,” Porter said at the time. “My goal was to reassure residents that their concerns are not falling on deaf ears and that the Railroad Commission is engaged and involved in gathering more evidence and data.”

Following the meeting, Porter relayed the experiences and concerns of residents to his fellow Commissioners and instructed the RRC Executive Director to begin a nationwide search for a qualified in-house Seismologist. Dr. Craig Pearson was hired as the RRC’s Seismologist shortly after and has assisted the Commission in analyzing and understanding relevant scientific data, as well as collaborating with outside academic and research institutions.

Correspondingly, the Commission adopted amendments to Statewide Rules 9 and 46, which now take into account any prior or potential existence of seismic events in a given area. Disposal applicants must conduct a search of the U.S. Geological Survey’s seismic database for historic seismic activity within a 100-mile radius of the proposed well. The rules also reinforce the Commission’s authority to shut-in a well, revoke a permit or require any additional information deemed necessary at any given time.

Additionally, the state agency has been extremely active and diligent in inspecting all wells in the vicinity of any seismic occurrence to ensure no loss in well integrity and protections.

While the RRC continues to study and monitor these events and review all data and information, the Commissioners, especially Porter, must be commended for their quick yet measured and effective response.

Fighting the Feds

While Porter’s ability to get things done and bring people together may be the trademark of his tenure, the secondary pillar supporting his success on the Commission is his unwavering defense of state primacy of regulation over the oil and gas industry.

“The other major reason I decided to run for Railroad Commissioner was my concern over the increasing overreach of the federal government,” Porter says. “It became apparent the feds wanted to take over state regulation, specifically of the oil and gas industry, which I knew would be a huge negative for the state of Texas, the industry itself and, indeed, the economy of the nation.”

During his nearly six years in office, the state regulator has adamantly fought repeated attempts by the federal government to control energy production in Texas. He begins to rattle off a laundry list of power grabs, primarily spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), starting with what he calls its “failed witch-hunt” involving Texas-based Range Resources.

In December 2010, the EPA made headlines when it issued an emergency order against Range Resources in response to a claim of water well contamination in Parker County, Texas. The environmental agency claimed there was “an imminent and substantial risk of explosion or fire” and contended there were “two people whose houses could explode.”

The RRC quickly responded to the claims as well, launching a full-scale investigation. After thorough review and examination of all the evidence, the Commission definitively concluded that the presence of natural gas in the water well was not caused by Range Resources’ drilling activity. Instead, the gas was naturally occurring and actually came from the much more shallow Strawn field. More importantly, there was no risk of fire or explosion.

More than a year later, in March 2012, the EPA quietly backpedaled and withdrew the Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Order. Regardless, Porter says the federal agency still managed to create quite a firestorm of controversy around the situation and points out that this is just one example in a pattern of similar events.

“This case and others like it in Pennsylvania and Wyoming prove that the EPA has no problem using extreme and frankly irresponsible tactics to further its political agenda, with no regard for science or fact,” the Texas regulator says. “Sensationalism and propaganda have no place in sound public policy.”

The EPA more recently made headlines when it issued the Clean Power Plan in August, requiring a roughly 30 percent decrease in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030.

But the numbers and science back up the power industry’s claims that it was voluntarily making strides in this area without the need for costly government regulations. From 2005 to 2013, carbon emissions from the sector had already been on the decline, falling nearly 15 percent.

To Porter, the federal mandate represents a significant and unnecessary burden to Texas, saying he’s especially concerned with the detrimental impact on the already-strained power grid and the tremendous economic implications.

“As much as Texas has grown and continues to grow, we need electricity from every source possible,” the Chairman says. “If we lose a lot of coal plants and electrical generating capacity, I am gravely concerned about what that will mean for the day-to-day well-being of all Texans.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is responsible for 90 percent of Texas’ power load, has said it could be forced to retire between 3.3 and 8.7 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity, resulting in widespread reliability issues and increased costs to consumers. One outside estimate shows electricity costs in Texas could increase by more than $30 billion, with individual households’ electricity and gas bills rising more than 50 percent by 2020.

Porter sees through the seemingly arbitrary, onerous guidelines and points to a relatively strong correlation between states that did not vote in favor of our current president and those targeted in the plan.

“I think it’s largely political payback rather than reasonable policy,” he stipulates.

But, Porter continues, the EPA didn’t stop there. Shortly after, it issued new rules targeting ambitious and equally arduous reductions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by the oil and gas industry, as part of the federal administration’s overall goal of a 40 percent decrease in methane emissions by 2025. Porter says these regulations will also carry a significant economic cost, potentially crippling energy production in Texas.

The EPA may be the most prominent adversary in the fight over oil and gas regulation, but the Chairman says he credits the Obama administration for getting more creative and finding other agencies to carry out its agenda.

The EPA recently partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dramatically expand jurisdiction over oil and gas activity under what Porter calls the guise of water regulation with the Waters of the U.S. rule, which makes substantial changes to definitions used in the Clean Water Act.

The Bureau of Land Management is also chiming in, as it has been working on rules governing hydraulic fracturing on public lands, which many view as a precursor to the federal government regulating private leases.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has become increasingly concerned with the protection of obscure species that happen to reside in some of Texas’ most prolific oil and gas producing regions — whether it be the earless spot-tailed lizard in the Eagle Ford or the lesser prairie chicken in West Texas.

“A whole slew of things just keep coming down the track,” Porter concludes. “You deflect one, you defend from one, and there’s three more behind it that are trying to run you over.”

As the Chairman of the Railroad Commission, Porter is active in defending Texas from potentially harmful federal regulations. Most recently, he led the RRC in joining in a multiagency, multistate lawsuit to combat against the EPA’s expansion of the Waters of the U.S. rule.

David Porter is a leader who has the experience and proven track record of standing up and doing what’s best for the industry and for Texans, and one who is eager to keep fighting the good fight.

The Chairman spends a lot of time on the defense, but he recently took a proactive stance in advocating for the repeal of the crude oil export ban. In July, he testified before the U.S. Agriculture Committee in favor of removing the antiquated restrictions. In early October, the U.S. House approved a measure overturning the ban.

Continuing to Do the Job

There is certainly no shortage of issues facing the oil and gas industry.

At times, it appears as if another obstacle arises at nearly every turn and on every level — from local communities banning drilling and seismic phenomena, to environmental groups’ anti-industry campaigns and encroachment by the federal government; all the way up to volatility in the global commodities market and foreign countries’ stronghold over pricing and supply.

It would seem more important now than ever to have a leader on the RRC as selfless and humble, yet stalwart and steady, as David Porter. He’s a leader who has the experience and proven track record of standing up and doing what’s best for the industry and for Texans, and one who is eager to keep fighting the good fight.

“I intend to continue accomplishing whatever we need to accomplish, regardless of what comes our way,” Porter says, as he looks forward to a potential second term. “Sometimes you have to do the work behind the scenes; other times you have to get out in front and lead the band. I can do, and have done, both. Whatever it takes to get the job done.”

To learn more about Chairman Porter and the Railroad Commission, visit

Read an unlimited number of articles by signing up for a free account:
Terms and Conditions

Agreement between User and
Welcome to The website (the “Site”) is comprised of various web pages operated by SHALE Oil & Gas Business Magazine (“SHALE Magazine”). is offered to you conditioned on your acceptance without modification of the terms, conditions, and notices contained herein (the “Terms”). Your use of constitutes your agreement to all such Terms. Please read these terms carefully, and keep a copy of them for your reference. is a News and Information Site.

Shale Oil & Gas Business Magazine is a publication that showcases the dynamic impact of the energy industry. The mission of SHALE is to promote economic growth and business opportunities and to further the general understanding of how the energy industry contributes to the economic well-being of Texas and the United States as a whole. Shale’s distribution includes industry leaders and businesses, service workers, entrepreneurs and the public at large.

Your use of is subject to SHALE Magazine’s Privacy Policy. Please review our Privacy Policy, which also governs the Site and informs users of our data collection practices.

Electronic Communications
Visiting or sending emails to SHALE Magazine constitutes electronic communications. You consent to receive electronic communications and you agree that all agreements, notices, disclosures and other communications that we provide to you electronically, via email and on the Site, satisfy any legal requirement that such communications be in writing.

Your Account
If you use this site, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password and for restricting access to your computer, and you agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account or password. You may not assign or otherwise transfer your account to any other person or entity. You acknowledge that SHALE Magazine is not responsible for third party access to your account that results from theft or misappropriation of your account. SHALE Magazine and its associates reserve the right to refuse or cancel service, terminate accounts, or remove or edit content in our sole discretion.

Children Under Thirteen
SHALE Magazine does not knowingly collect, either online or offline, personal information from persons under the age of thirteen. If you are under 18, you may use only with permission of a parent or guardian.

Cancellation/Refund Policy
You may cancel your subscription at any time. Any cancellations made after 14 days of service will not qualify for a refund. Please contact us at with any questions.

Links to Third Party Sites/Third Party Services may contain links to other websites (“Linked Sites”). The Linked Sites are not under the control of SHALE Magazine and SHALE Magazine is not responsible for the contents of any Linked Site, including without limitation any link contained in a Linked Site, or any changes or updates to a Linked Site. SHALE Magazine is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by SHALE Magazine of the site or any association with its operators.

Certain services made available via are delivered by third party sites and organizations. By using any product, service or functionality originating from the domain, you hereby acknowledge and consent that SHALE Magazine may share such information and data with any third party with whom SHALE Magazine has a contractual relationship to provide the requested product, service or functionality on behalf of users and customers.

No Unlawful or Prohibited Use/Intellectual Property
You are granted a non-exclusive, non-transferable, revocable license to access and use strictly in accordance with these terms of use. As a condition of your use of the Site, you warrant to SHALE Magazine that you will not use the Site for any purpose that is unlawful or prohibited by these Terms. You may not use the Site in any manner which could damage, disable, overburden, or impair the Site or interfere with any other party’s use and enjoyment of the Site. You may not obtain or attempt to obtain any materials or information through any means not intentionally made available or provided for through the Site.

All content included as part of the Service, such as text, graphics, logos, images, as well as the compilation thereof, and any software used on the Site, is the property of SHALE Magazine or its suppliers and protected by copyright and other laws that protect intellectual property and proprietary rights. You agree to observe and abide by all copyright and other proprietary notices, legends or other restrictions contained in any such content and will not make any changes thereto.

You will not modify, publish, transmit, reverse engineer, participate in the transfer or sale, create derivative works, or in any way exploit any of the content, in whole or in part, found on the Site. SHALE Magazine content is not for resale. Your use of the Site does not entitle you to make any unauthorized use of any protected content, and in particular you will not delete or alter any proprietary rights or attribution notices in any content. You will use protected content solely for your personal use, and will make no other use of the content without the express written permission of SHALE Magazine and the copyright owner. You agree that you do not acquire any ownership rights in any protected content. We do not grant you any licenses, express or implied, to the intellectual property of SHALE Magazine or our licensors except as expressly authorized by these Terms.

Use of Communication Services
The Site may contain bulletin board services, chat areas, news groups, forums, communities, personal web pages, calendars, and/or other message or communication facilities designed to enable you to communicate with the public at large or with a group (collectively, “Communication Services”). You agree to use the Communication Services only to post, send and receive messages and material that are proper and related to the particular Communication Service.

By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree that when using a Communication Service, you will not: defame, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate the legal rights (such as rights of privacy and publicity) of others; publish, post, upload, distribute or disseminate any inappropriate, profane, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent or unlawful topic, name, material or information; upload files that contain software or other material protected by intellectual property laws (or by rights of privacy of publicity) unless you own or control the rights thereto or have received all necessary consents; upload files that contain viruses, corrupted files, or any other similar software or programs that may damage the operation of another’s computer; advertise or offer to sell or buy any goods or services for any business purpose, unless such Communication Service specifically allows such messages; conduct or forward surveys, contests, pyramid schemes or chain letters; download any file posted by another user of a Communication Service that you know, or reasonably should know, cannot be legally distributed in such manner; falsify or delete any author attributions, legal or other proper notices or proprietary designations or labels of the origin or source of software or other material contained in a file that is uploaded; restrict or inhibit any other user from using and enjoying the Communication Services; violate any code of conduct or other guidelines which may be applicable for any particular Communication Service; harvest or otherwise collect information about others, including e-mail addresses, without their consent; violate any applicable laws or regulations.

SHALE Magazine has no obligation to monitor the Communication Services. However, SHALE Magazine reserves the right to review materials posted to a Communication Service and to remove any materials in its sole discretion. SHALE Magazine reserves the right to terminate your access to any or all of the Communication Services at any time without notice for any reason whatsoever.

SHALE Magazine reserves the right at all times to disclose any information as necessary to satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, or to edit, refuse to post or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, in SHALE Magazine’s sole discretion.

Always use caution when giving out any personally identifying information about yourself or your children in any Communication Service. SHALE Magazine does not control or endorse the content, messages or information found in any Communication Service and, therefore, SHALE Magazine specifically disclaims any liability with regard to the Communication Services and any actions resulting from your participation in any Communication Service. Managers and hosts are not authorized SHALE Magazine spokespersons, and their views do not necessarily reflect those of SHALE Magazine.

Materials uploaded to a Communication Service may be subject to posted limitations on usage, reproduction and/or dissemination. You are responsible for adhering to such limitations if you upload the materials.

Materials Provided to or Posted on Any SHALE Magazine Web Page
SHALE Magazine does not claim ownership of the materials you provide to (including feedback and suggestions) or post, upload, input or submit to any SHALE Magazine Site or our associated services (collectively “Submissions”). However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your Submission you are granting SHALE Magazine, our affiliated companies and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses including, without limitation, the rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Submission; and to publish your name in connection with your Submission.

No compensation will be paid with respect to the use of your Submission, as provided herein. SHALE Magazine is under no obligation to post or use any Submission you may provide and may remove any Submission at any time in SHALE Magazine’s sole discretion.

By posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your Submission you warrant and represent that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to your Submission as described in this section including, without limitation, all the rights necessary for you to provide, post, upload, input or submit the Submissions.

Third Party Accounts
You will be able to connect your SHALE Magazine account to third party accounts. By connecting your SHALE Magazine account to your third party account, you acknowledge and agree that you are consenting to the continuous release of information about you to others (in accordance with your privacy settings on those third party sites). If you do not want information about you to be shared in this manner, do not use this feature.

International Users
The Service is controlled, operated and administered by SHALE Magazine from our offices within the USA. If you access the Service from a location outside the USA, you are responsible for compliance with all local laws. You agree that you will not use the SHALE Magazine Content accessed through in any country or in any manner prohibited by any applicable laws, restrictions or regulations.

You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless SHALE Magazine, its officers, directors, employees, agents and third parties, for any losses, costs, liabilities and expenses (including reasonable attorney’s fees) relating to or arising out of your use of or inability to use the Site or services, any user postings made by you, your violation of any terms of this Agreement or your violation of any rights of a third party, or your violation of any applicable laws, rules or regulations. SHALE Magazine reserves the right, at its own cost, to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by you, in which event you will fully cooperate with SHALE Magazine in asserting any available defenses.

In the event the parties are not able to resolve any dispute between them arising out of or concerning these Terms and Conditions, or any provisions hereof, whether in contract, tort, or otherwise at law or in equity for damages or any other relief, then such dispute shall be resolved only by final and binding arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, conducted by a single neutral arbitrator and administered by the American Arbitration Association, or a similar arbitration service selected by the parties, in a location mutually agreed upon by the parties. The arbitrator’s award shall be final, and judgment may be entered upon it in any court having jurisdiction. In the event that any legal or equitable action, proceeding or arbitration arises out of or concerns these Terms and Conditions, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. The parties agree to arbitrate all disputes and claims in regards to these Terms and Conditions or any disputes arising as a result of these Terms and Conditions, whether directly or indirectly, including Tort claims that are a result of these Terms and Conditions. The parties agree that the Federal Arbitration Act governs the interpretation and enforcement of this provision. The entire dispute, including the scope and enforceability of this arbitration provision shall be determined by the Arbitrator. This arbitration provision shall survive the termination of these Terms and Conditions.

Class Action Waiver
Any arbitration under these Terms and Conditions will take place on an individual basis; class arbitrations and class/representative/collective actions are not permitted. THE PARTIES AGREE THAT A PARTY MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THE OTHER ONLY IN EACH’S INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PUTATIVE CLASS, COLLECTIVE AND/ OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING, SUCH AS IN THE FORM OF A PRIVATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTION AGAINST THE OTHER. Further, unless both you and SHALE Magazine agree otherwise, the arbitrator may not consolidate more than one person’s claims, and may not otherwise preside over any form of a representative or class proceeding.

Liability Disclaimer



Termination/Access Restriction
SHALE Magazine reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate your access to the Site and the related services or any portion thereof at any time, without notice. To the maximum extent permitted by law, this agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Texas and you hereby consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of courts in Texas in all disputes arising out of or relating to the use of the Site. Use of the Site is unauthorized in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of these Terms, including, without limitation, this section.

You agree that no joint venture, partnership, employment, or agency relationship exists between you and SHALE Magazine as a result of this agreement or use of the Site. SHALE Magazine’s performance of this agreement is subject to existing laws and legal process, and nothing contained in this agreement is in derogation of SHALE Magazine’s right to comply with governmental, court and law enforcement requests or requirements relating to your use of the Site or information provided to or gathered by SHALE Magazine with respect to such use. If any part of this agreement is determined to be invalid or unenforceable pursuant to applicable law including, but not limited to, the warranty disclaimers and liability limitations set forth above, then the invalid or unenforceable provision will be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that most closely matches the intent of the original provision and the remainder of the agreement shall continue in effect.

Unless otherwise specified herein, this agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the user and SHALE Magazine with respect to the Site and it supersedes all prior or contemporaneous communications and proposals, whether electronic, oral or written, between the user and SHALE Magazine with respect to the Site. A printed version of this agreement and of any notice given in electronic form shall be admissible in judicial or administrative proceedings based upon or relating to this agreement to the same extent and subject to the same conditions as other business documents and records originally generated and maintained in printed form. It is the express wish to the parties that this agreement and all related documents be written in English.

Changes to Terms
SHALE Magazine reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to change the Terms under which is offered. The most current version of the Terms will supersede all previous versions. SHALE Magazine encourages you to periodically review the Terms to stay informed of our updates.

Contact Us
SHALE Magazine welcomes your questions or comments regarding the Terms:

SHALE Oil & Gas Business Magazine

5150 Broadway #493

San Antonio, TX 78209

Email Address:

Telephone number:
(210) 240-7188

Effective as of November 27, 2017
I agree with the Terms & Conditions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via