The Railroad Commission of Texas regulates one of the most advanced industries in the world — oil and gas drilling. Yet the commission’s software systems, many of its rules and even its name are from another era.
As the 122-year-old agency confronts a drilling boom that is altering the state and national economies, an overhaul of its operations is under way. Its old mainframe computer system will be upgraded with modern digital storage, clearing the way for a more user-friendly website. Decades-old regulations are getting updated to reflect the rapid spread of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And the Legislature may change the commission’s name to accurately reflect what it does.
The activity stems partly from new leadership. The Railroad Commission is headed by three elected commissioners, and each of the the current trio has arrived in the past three years.