TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

SUBTITLE B. SURVEYS AND SURVEYORS

CHAPTER 52. OIL AND GAS

SUBCHAPTER I. GEOPHYSICAL AND GEOCHEMICAL EXPLORATION PERMIT



§ 52.321. DEFINITIONS.
     In this subchapter:
          (1) "Geophysical exploration" means a survey or investigation conducted to discover or locate oil and gas prospects using magnetic, gravity, seismic, and/or electrical techniques.
          (2) "Geochemical exploration" means a survey or investigation conducted to discover or locate oil and gas prospects using techniques involving soil sampling and analysis.
          (3) "Public school land" means land dedicated by the constitution or laws of this state to the permanent free school fund, and specifically includes land with a mineral classification under Subchapter F of this chapter in which the state has retained the oil and gas interest and areas within tidewater limits.
          (4) "Areas within tidewater limits" means islands, saltwater lakes, bays, inlets, marshes, and reefs within tidewater limits and that portion of the Gulf of Mexico within the jurisdiction of Texas.
          (5) "Permit" means a license issued by the commissioner authorizing geophysical and/or geochemical exploration on public school land.
          (6) "Permittee" means the holder of a permit.

Added by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2451, ch. 631, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1981. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 624, § 47, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 897, § 43, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

§ 52.322. PERMIT REQUIRED FOR EXPLORATION.
     (a) Except for a person who has a valid oil and gas lease on public school land authorized by this chapter, a person may not conduct geophysical or geochemical exploration on public school land unless the person obtains a permit from the commissioner.
     (b) Every person who is authorized to conduct a geophysical or geochemical exploration on public school land shall comply with the commissioner's rules relating to such exploration. Any person with a valid oil and gas lease on land subject to this chapter must comply with the commissioner's rules concerning exploration.
     (c) Nothing in this title shall prohibit the conduct of airborne geophysical exploration.

Added by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2451, ch. 631, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1981. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 624, § 47, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

§ 52.323. APPLICATION FOR PERMIT.
     (a) The person responsible for conducting a geophysical or geochemical exploration is the person who must apply for a permit.
     (b) An application for a permit shall be made on a form prescribed by the commissioner and shall state the name and address of each person for whom the exploration is being conducted as well as any other information required by the commissioner.

Added by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2451, ch. 631, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1981.

§ 52.324. AUTHORITY OF COMMISSIONER.
     (a) The commissioner:
          (1) as a condition of issuing a permit, shall collect reasonable fees from the applicant in an amount determined by the commissioner;
          (2) may require a permittee to furnish to the commissioner, upon the commissioner's request, copies of maps, plats, reports, data, and any other information in the possession of the permittee that relates to the progress or results of an exploration under a permit; provided however, the commissioner shall not require a permittee to furnish any of its interpretive data;
          (3) shall by rule require a permittee to restore land explored under the permit as nearly as is practicable to its condition immediately prior to the exploration;
          (4) shall by rule determine the procedure for receiving compensation for damages to the surface of public school land except land with a mineral classification under Subchapter F of this chapter; and
          (5) may make any other rules relating to geophysical or geochemical explorations, permits, or permittees the commissioner considers appropriate.
     (b) Money collected for surface damages shall be deposited and used in the manner provided by Section 52.297 of this chapter.
     (c) In the case of areas within tidewater limits, the commissioner shall follow the recommendations of the Parks and Wildlife Department in making rules to prevent unnecessary pollution of water, destruction of fish, oysters, and other marine life, and obstruction of navigation.
     (d) If a permittee violates a rule of the commissioner or a term of a permit, the commissioner may cancel the permit.
     (e) If by authority of Subsection (a)(2) of this section the commissioner acquires information concerning a permittee's geophysical or geochemical exploration, the commissioner shall consider the information to be confidential and may not disclose it, except by authority of a court order, to the public or any other agency of this state.

Added by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2451, ch. 631, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1981. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 624, § 47, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 897, § 44, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

§ 52.325. PERMITTEE'S FAILURE TO COMPLY.
     (a) If a permittee fails to restore land in accordance with Section 52.324(a)(3) of this code and the rules of the commissioner, the commissioner and any surface lessee may maintain an action against the permittee for actual damages to the land, or to the improvements, growing crops, or domesticated animals on the land that were caused by the geophysical or geochemical exploration.
     (b) If a permittee violates this subchapter, the provisions of a permit issued by authority of this subchapter, or a rule of the commissioner, the permittee commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000. Each day that a violation occurs is a separate offense.

Added by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2451, ch. 631, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1981.