Questions Remain Over Offshore AcidizingDiffering Definitions of Technical Terms May Explain Why Platform Holly Dispute Exists
Thursday, February 20, 2014by MATT KETTMANN (CONTACT)
Last week, one day after a report was released claiming that Venoco Inc. was using a technique known as matrix acidizing to stimulate production from the wells that it accesses from Platform Holly off the Goleta coast, the Carpinteria-based oil company issued a brief statement denying that it was using the process for extraction purposes. “Venoco does not hydraulically fracture or matrix acidize any wells on Platform Holly,” said Venoco spokesperson Lisa Rivas in an email. Instead, she explained that acid is used for cleaning the platform’s well bores, which has been done for several decades. “This is a process that has been used in onshore and offshore oil wells around the world for generations,” Rivas explained.
Read the full story: http://independent.com/news/2014/feb/20/questions-remain-over-offshore-acidizing/
Ventura Residents join a chorus in the state saying no to more oil drilling. State Dept of Conserv. holds hearing today in Santa maria.
VCInFocus will be at the DOGGR hearing today in Santa Maria. State regulators from the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources will be hearing from the public on what their new regulations should include and cover. DOGGR is beginning the formal rule making process in order to comply with the Pavley Bill, SB4, passed in Fall of last year, that puts regulations on the books specifically covering well stimulation processes, including fracking and acidization.
Hearing will take place, today, Jan. 13. from 3 to 7 p.m. Santa Barbara County Supervisors Hearing Room, 511 East Lakeside Parkway. In Santa Maria. Comments regarding the proposed regulations can be submitted via email to DOGGRRegulations@conservation.ca.gov; via FAX to (916) 324-0948; or via regular mail to the Department of Conservation Office of Governmental and Environmental Relations, 801 K Street MS 24-02, 95814, Attention: Well Stimulation Regulations.
Last week residents of Ventura County protested in front of the State scoping hearings. THe common theme was NO MORE. Residents are concerned about potential impacts of increased drilling and well stimulation processes that will be used and how the environment will be affected. During the hearing residents spoke about water quality, water usage, air pollution, risk of spills, risk of inducing earthquakes in a fault heavy area, and climate change. The protest was the idea of James Hines, a resident of Ventura and spokesperson for the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club.
A handful of speakers spoke in support of the increased activity, all in favor had close connections with the oil industry, including James Hill from Camarillo who said that while the industry should be able to do what they are proposing they have done a poor job of informing the public and should go after a "social contract" in order to garner public support. Hill is President of CalTerra Energy LLC, an oil and gas exploration company based in Camarillo.
In Los Angeles, residents spoke out regarding their concerns related to increased oil production in their neighborhoods and old conditional use permits. This continues to be an issue for residents of Ventura County as well.
The LA residents are concerned over the use of acidization, a well stimulation process that uses acid to "melt" away the rock allowing the oil to flow.
click below to read the full article:
South LA residents worried about oil drilling in neighborhoodsStephanie O'Neill | January 11th, 2014, 3:43pm
"A standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 South Los Angeles residents and community leaders gathered Saturday morning at the Holman United Methodist Church to express concern about new oil wells proposed for a site in the Jefferson Park neighborhood that would use a potentially dangerous extraction technology.The Murphy Drill Site, operated by Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas, is located west of USC in a dense neighborhood where residents say it's unsafe to use a new technique of injecting chemicals — including toxic hydrochloric acid and benzene — deep into the earth to dissolve rocks and shale in order to extract oil.
The modern-day technology, called “acidization,” is different from conventional oil extraction that relies upon vertical, relatively shallow wells. Acidization, by contrast, requires deep, horizontal drilling that spiderwebs beneath neighborhoods.
Photo info: A acid job that occurred in September 2013 in Upper Ojai. In the coming year, operators will have to "certify" to DOGGR that prior to this operation they have notified neighbors within 500 feet of the site, and within 1500 feet of the well bore location underground. Currently no notification of any kind is required.
The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources has released a thirteen page document containing proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), acidization and other well stimulation processes. Today begins the sixty day public comment period and marks the beginning of the formal rule making process which lasts three hundred and sixty five days. Those regulations will take affect January 1, 2015. In addition, DOGGR has begun the drafting of emergency regulations (so called because of the tight time frame with which they have to get them out and implemented) that will take affect on January 1, 2014.
These rules are mandated by the passage of SB 4 or The Pavley Bill, written by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). Beginning Jan 1, 2014 operators will have to certify that they have complied with notification (of neighbors within 1500 feet of the well bore destination and within 500 feet of the well surface location) rules disclosure requirements. The permit process changes in 2015 with an actual application and technical review that will occur prior to permit for well stimulation being approved.
(edited/corrected 11/19/13) The new regulations apply to "hydraulic fracturing, acid fracturing, and acid matrix stimulation." The article does not apply to "underground injection projects." An underground injection project or disposal projects is defined - in these proposed regulations - as a "sustained or continual injection into one or more wells over an extended period in order to add fluid to a zone for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery, disposal or storage." Various projects that are not covered in the proposed regulations - which are aimed at regulated well stimulation processes - include "water flood injection, steam flood injection, cyclic steam injection, injection disposal and gas storage projects."
DOGGR expects to have to increase the fourteen cent per barrel assessment that is currently charged to all operators in the state in order to fund the implementation of the new rules.
“We’re pleased that the State has taken this important step towards providing more public disclosure and environmental safeguards for fracking in the Los Padres National Forest and throughout California,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director of Los Padres ForestWatch, an independent nonprofit organization that monitors oil drilling and fracking in the Sespe Oil Field. “But there’s still much work to be done. As the regulations are finalized over the course of the next year, we will continue to demand the strongest protections possible to guard against pollution and protect our forest’s watersheds. Our farms, our communities, and our wildlife depend on it.”
Friday morning DOGGR officials spoke with reporters on the phone regarding the proposed regulations and emphasized that while a complex body of laws has been in place for decades covering well integrity and construction the new laws create transparency by improving access to information.
"These regulations give us more information about [hydraulic fracturing] is used today," said Tim Kustic, director of DOGGR. "And going forward. This sets the stage for new and robust regulations." He emphasized that industry has already voluntarily disclosed 1000 fracking jobs in the state on the website fracfocus. DOGGR will use fracfocus in the interim while it develops it's own online database for reporting well stimulation processes.
"One of the successes of SB4 is that it will increase our understanding of ground water," said Jason Marshall, chief deputy director with the Department of Conservation.
Also on the call was Tom Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board. An important part of the SB4 creates for the first time ever in the state requirements for the ground water management plan, and testing for ground water baseline quality.
Howard explained that the state water board will be entering into a rulemaking process as well as they implement the aspects of SB4 that apply to testing and monitoring of the ground water - SB4 actually creates an addition to the state water code.
Public hearings are scheduled throughout the state. AT this time there is no hearing scheduled in Ventura County, but Sen. Pavley has requested that one be held, Nechodom indicated they are considering that, but that a workshop will take place in Ventura County as the scoping progresses regarding the environmental impact study on hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation practices.
“It is irresponsible for the oil industry to continue fracking our national forest until the regulations are finalized and adequate safeguards are in place to protect our watersheds,” said Kuyper. “ The Sespe Creek watershed is one of our region’s most ecologically sensitive areas, and every precaution should be taken to protect this important resource.”
Visit the DOGGR website to review the text of the proposed regulations and for information on the hearings.
Just before 5:00 today the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources DOGGR, sent a notice to members of the media that at the proposed regulations will be made public tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. This will begin a sixty-day public comment period as part of the formal rule making process.
A conference call for members of the media only, will take place from 9 to 10 am giving the press the opportunity to ask questions to Mark Nechodom, Director of the Department of Conservation, Jason Marshall - Chief Deputy Director for the Department of Conservation and Tim Kustic, State Oil and Gas Supervisor, head of DOGGR
DOGGR has been holding public hearing to receive input on their draft regulation that were specific to hydraulic fracturing. Earlier this year state legislators realized that DOGGR was not tracking or specifically overseeing the process and so DOGGR was charged with creating regulations. During the latest rule making session the legislator passed one bill - SB4 written by Sen. Fran Pavley (D- Agoura Hills) that will apply to fracking and acidization as well as other well stimulation practices. The bill requires that DOGGR create rules and frameworks for permitting fracking, acidization and other well stimulation practices. It requires the monitoring of ground water, and disclosure of chemicals being used for well stimulation. Supporters of SB4 say that it is a huge step up from having no regulations
Many environmental groups cried foul when they felt that SB4 had been weakened and that it paved the way for unhindered fracking prior to its provisions taking affect. And groups who continue to push for a ban or moratorium on fracking say that SB4 may hinder Gov. Jerry Brown or any local government body from taking action. Pavley has said that is not the case, and that the bill does not interfere with the Governors authority to impose an emergency ban or moratorium if he sees fit to do so.
Parts of SB4 go into effect on January 1, 2014, while other parts will begin Jan. 1 2015. The rules being made public tomorrow
During the public hearings held throughout the state over the past year members of the public demanded stronger oversight, more requirements regarding notification and disclosure of what chemicals are used. SB4 has added requirements of ground water monitoring and notification of neighboring property owners and tenants.
What question do you have for your State Oil and Gas supervisors?
Post your questions here (comments) or on our facebook page.
Will your local media be covering this issue? Are they educated about the issue?
Stay tuned, VCINFocus will be on the call.
Complaints filed in VC alleging violations of conditional use permits: Watchdog group CFROG announced this week
This week Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas (CFROG) met with County Planning Director Kim Prillhart and submitted two complaints alleging that Santa Paula based Mirada Petroleum has violated aspects of its conditional use permit CUP to operate oil and gas wells. The complaint focuses on an oil field in the area above Thomas Aquinas College near the Upper Ojai Valley and above Santa Paula.
One complaint claims that Mirada has violated a recent amendment to its CUP that required it file a form with the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources indicating its intention to idle and abandon several wells. CFROG says that according to the County and DOGGR, Mirada has not yet filed those forms, and the CUP required the forms be filed within 90 days of the permit taking effect. That time period has since expired.
The second complaint alleges that a few years ago Mirada drilled a well in a section of "pristine" forest without the necessary permits. That well was supposed to be on an existing oil pad, but instead Mirada drilled it in a spot that did not have any wells.
County staff told CFROG it may take up to 30 days for them to investigate and respond.
Today, Wednesday Oct. 23, CFROG is hosting a breakfast fundraiser where they plan to publicly announce the complaints with Sen. Fran Pavley in attendance. VC
Check this fridays edition of the Ojai Valley News for the full story.
"Starting January 1, 2014, oil companies will not be allowed to frack or acidize in California unless they test the groundwater, notify neighbors and list each and every chemical on the Internet," Senator Pavley said. "This is a first step toward greater transparency, accountability and protection of the public and the environment. Now we need immediate, robust enforcement and widespread public involvement to ensure the law is upheld to its fullest."