Full story later this week: A group of VC residents have formed a group and filed an appeal to a recent approval of new oil wells in the Upper Ojai Valley, in an area behind Thomas Aquinas College.
The group is called "Citizens For Responsible Oil and Gas" or CFROG, HERE is their website.
The industry keeps saying they have an excellent track record of safety. But what about this town where folks have had to evacuate because of giant sink hole that has been linked to brine water from oil and gas production.
Brine water is a byproduct of extracting oil and gas from underground. The brine water sits underground mixed up with the oil and gas, and comes up when the oil/gas in extracted. Companies have some options for disposing of the brine water (or produced water) that can contain radioactive compounds, methane and other substances - that have been trapped for thousands of years underground. They can put in open air pits (some states don't allow this), they can inject back underground or they can recycle it to use in their operations (fracking, secondary recovery water injection, etc). The industry says disposal of this water is done safely, I wonder if these residents of Louisiana think that big sink hole is safe, the insurance companies that are canceling their homeowners policies don't seem to think so.
There are these types of injection wells in VC and throughout California.
As of May 2, VC Planning is listing two permits submitted by Venoco and one by -
Andrew Prestridge has applied for a "Major Modification to CUP LU08-0100 for exploratory oil drilling operation."
Prestridge is listed at the president of DCOR, a company operating in several Ventura County oil fields and according to it's website an expert in "deepwater oil and gas exploration." "DCOR’s current operations are focused in California, primarily offshore which is one of the most heavily regulated and environmentally sensitive areas in the world."
Here is a link to an VC PLanning staff report on a previous modification (Feb. 16, 2012) to this same CUP (08-0100). It is for property above Piru, (might be Rancho Temescal since DCOR lists that location on their website)
The current application was submitted on April 3, 2013.
All permit application must have a public hearing. You can request to be notified when the hearing will take place and let VC Planning know your position on the plans.
Brian Baca is the head of the section of VC Planning that oversees oil and gas permits.
Both of Venoco's application are for location near Mcgrath Lake & State Beach.
Permit adjustment: Permit # PL13-0016
Current status: Completeness Review
Wording from VC Planning:
Permit Adjustment to CUP 12, which was recently modified via LU10-0009, is a proposal by Venoco, Inc. (Venoco) to re-enter 2 existing wellbores (DOGGR Well Numbers 1212 and 1214A) to access oil reservoirs in State 3314 Lease from Ventura County’s CUP 12 Permit Area and drill 3 new wells in exchange for the plugging and abandoning three idle wells (DOGGR Well Numbers 1112, 1114, 1215A). The drilling locations are located on the west side of McGrath Lake, in an area of several active wells arranged in a roughly north-south linear array. This area is bounded by oil field facilities (including the Lease 735 Tank Setting) and Harbor Blvd. to the east; open space and McGrath State Park to the north; open space, dunes, beach and the Pacific Ocean to the west; and oil field wells and facilities to the south. Access is via a partially paved private road from Harbor Blvd. Potable water will be brought onsite for workers during the drilling operations as well as portable toilets. Temporary trailers for the the drilling supervisor and workers are proposed to be onsite while the temporary drilling is taking place. If the drilling is permitted operations would occur 24 hours a day for approximately 60 days per well.
The following is from the Executive Summary of the project description as provided by Venoco, Inc.:
Venoco, Inc. (Venoco) is the Operator of the West Montalvo Field, including State Tidelands Lease PRC 3314, with surface facilities in the beach lease area of CUP 12, located west of Harbor Blvd. Venoco proposes to continue the previously approved development plan for State PRC 3314 by re-entering two existing wellbore bottomhole locations (1212 and 1214A), and drilling three new wells (12XX, 12XY, and 12XZ – actual names tbd by DOGGR) in exchange for the plugging and abandoning of three idle wells (1112, 1114, 1215A). The new wells would be drilled in the already existing beach lease development area.
To read this on VC Planning site visit: http://www.ventura.org/rma/planning/pdf/projects-pending-approved/pending_projects_apr2013.pdf
VCInFocus Notes: It is common practice of oil companies to apply to "abandon" wells in exchange for drilling new or reworking old wells, this can make it appear that fewer wells are being operated, when in fact an operator is allowed to take 4 years to abandon a well, all the while pumping and/or using various completion techniques (fracking, water injection, steam injection, acid injection etc) while the operator is drilling new wells.
Also note that oil companies don't appear to not be required to mention in their permit applications the source of water for their drilling activities - all of which take water - nor does it state where any wastewater will be disposed of. These are requirements for other permit applications such as residential construction.
Veneco's other permit:
Permit # LU11-0142
Date filed: 12/05/2011
1050 Gonzales Road, Ventura County
Current Status: Submittal in Progress
Minor Modification, LU11-0142, to Conditional Use Permit 477 to allow the drilling of 5 new oil wells by Venoco. Venoco proposes to continue the previously approved development plan for State PRC 3314 by drilling five new wellbore bottomhole locations on the PRC 3314 lease. These wells are designated: 3314-3, 3314-4, 3314-5, 3314-6, 3314-7. The surface drilling locations for this project are located in the PRC 3314 tank setting area of Venoco’s West Montalvo Oil Field.
Venoco proposes five (5) new wells with surface locations on the existing onshore 3314 lease. These wells will be drilled from existing onshore well pad where Venoco has active producing wells on artificial lift . The wells will be directionally drilled to a bottomhole location in the Colonia zone of the Sespe formation on State PRC 3314. The drilling operations will use a diesel-electric hybrid powered land rig.
The estimated time to drill each well is 35-60 days. All five well plans will have a bottomhole target on PRC 3314. Assuming the wellbore encounters oil and gas in commercial quantities, the new well will be completed and placed on production using artificial lift if necessary.
VC In Focus Notes: Note that these wells will be directionally drilled. They start at an onshore location in the coastal Montalvo Oil Field near McGrath Lake and State Beach. Many wells are drilled to OFFSHORE locations (meaning at sea,under the ocean) from ONSHORE pads. This appears to be the case with this permit application.