CALIFORNIA PROJECTS READY TO GO
A number of offshore oil and gas projects have been proposed for Santa Barbara County in the past 5 years. These include:
- The Tranquillon Ridge Project (rejected by State Lands Commission) – One major acknowledgement of the safety of expanded California offshore oil production came in 2009, when several previous anti-offshore oil special interest groups led by the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), agreed to support this slant-drilling offshore oil project in the Santa Maria basin. The State Lands Commission voted down the proposal at a 2009 hearing, with the SLC Chairman, John Garamendi, asserting that approval would put the California coastline at risk. This decision was made in spite of evidence that offshore oil production was solely responsible for the significant reductions in coastal seepage pollution and that the area surrounding Tranquillon Ridge was also a natural hydrocarbon seep area. Ironically, the beaches near Tranquillon Ridge are documented by BOEM to be heavily polluted from natural seep oil.
- Carpinteria Offshore Field Redevelopment Project – BOEM has initiated a 60-day scoping process for public comment to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report with the State of California on a revised Development and Production Plan (DPP) submitted by Pacific Operators Offshore, LLC. The revised DPP proposes development of oil and gas resources from three existing state-issued oil and gas leases in state waters from an existing offshore platform located in federal waters approximately 3.7 miles offshore Carpinteria, California.
- Revised Development and Production Plan for Point Arguello – Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP) has revised its oil and gas DPP for the Point Arguello Unit. The revised DPP proposes to drill two wells from Platform Hidalgo in the Point Arguello Unit to extract federal oil and gas reserves from Electra field, a previously undeveloped field adjacent to the Unit. Both Platform Hidalgo and Electra field are in existing federal leases on the OCS.
According to BOEM, there are 43 active leases in the Pacific OCS planning region. The Santa Barbara County Energy Division website provides information on platforms offshore from Santa Barbara County. There are 20 platforms total in the Santa Barbara Channel and Santa Maria Basin. Only 1 platform lies in the state tidelands (within the 3-mile limit) and 19 platforms are in the Pacific OCS. The Santa Barbara County Energy Division Map, provided below, shows current oil and gas activities in state and federal waters.
The oil and gas resources along the Santa Barbara County coastline are extractable within reach of modern slant drilling from land with no risk of an offshore oil spill. Because these resources are near existing infrastructure, production could begin in 14 to 1 months.
The potential benefits of releasing the state and federal moratoria on oil and gas production offshore California are significant. They include dramatic reductions in foreign oil imports, permanently cleaner beaches, substantial funding increases for schools, increased economic benefits and jobs, billions in new annual revenues for California and Santa Barbara County, and large funding increases for renewable incentives.
With a responsible energy and environmental policy that that includes expanded offshore oil and gas production, California can build the bridge to our renewable, and economically sound, future.