Official report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas Page: 88 of 94
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On December 20th the commission announceda crack down on marginal wells.
New regulations were announced which would make it difficult to obtain marginal
well status for a well that did not deserve it. Coming to an end were such technical
devices as the Tom Thumb Pump (aminiature pump guaranteed not to bring more
than 20 barrels a day) and the East Texas Choke, guaranteed to permit production
of exactly 19 barrels per day.
Each well in the East Texas Field is required to be tested annually and its
producing ability reported on the Well Status Form, But the commission now says
that when such annual tests are made in February and March of 1963, that strict
test procedures will be required for all wells claiming marginal allowable. Such
a well must be equipped with a pump capable of lifting a total of 200 barrels or
four times the amount actually produced under test, whichever amount is smaller.
All wells granted a marginal allowable as a result of the February and March tests
must be retested six months later for a 72-hour period, Wells claiming a marginal
allowable for the third and all subsequent test periods would be witnessed by commission
It is the commission view that these requirements will considerably minimize
abuse of the marginal well statute. It will eliminate the use of miniature chokes
and pumps designed to restrict production to less than 20 barrels so as to claim
marginal classification. The five portable well testing units purchased by the Railroad
Commission with funds permitted by the governor to be diverted by other
appropriated amounts will permit continuous spot checking by the commission for
false marginal well tests and the threat of penalty action if discovered should serve
as a considerable deterrent to would-be violators. However, the Railroad Commission
has acknowledged to this legislative committee that the marginal well
statute as now interpreted will always present an extremely difficult policing problem
and that if the Committee recommendation of amending the marginal well statute so
as to eliminate incentive should be accepted by the legislature, the commission's
policing problem would be materially simplified.
It was also announced that these rules would be followed up with intense
policing to stamp out any further rigging of well tests.
Before the investigation commenced an average of 30 wells per month were
going from proratable to marginal status, but in October the tide turned and no wells
went from proratable to marginal.
By December 750 East Texas Field wells had been shut-in as a result of the
The commission announced plans for tighter regulations:
1. First status reports required in over a year will be called for.
2. Production tests of every well in the state will be required in February and
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Texas Legislature. House of Representatives. General Investigating Committee. Official report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas, book, 1963; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5869/m1/88/: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .