Oil Production in SB County
As Santa Barbara County is one of the biggest oil producing counties in the state of California, there are plenty of oil fights here. In addition to the proposal to drill 750+ new oil wells in Cat Canyon, there are a suite of other production sites.
Oil production in the county is split into on- and off-shore. Onshore oil drilling primarily occurs in North County, although pipelines, processing plants, storage facilities, and pump stations are found throughout the county, especially near the shoreline. Offshore production in state waters ended with the shutdown of Platform Holly in 2015 and the ongoing decommissioning process (the rest of the offshore production occurs in federal waters, or waters more than 3 miles from shore); however, there is active offshore drilling in federal waters that uses our county to transport the product.
750+ New Wells – 3 companies are collectively proposing to drill over 750 new oil wells in Cat Canyon (northern Santa Barbara County). For more on this ongoing fight, visit the campaign homepage here.
Pipelines and Trucking – The 2015 Refugio oil spill, which dumped 143,000 gallons of heavy crude on the Gaviota coastline, was from a burst pipeline (Line 901). With no pipeline to transport oil, all offshore oil production feeding that line stopped. The offshore platforms that were feeding this pipeline are Platforms Holly, Hondo, Heritage, and Harmony. While Platform Holly is being permanently taken offline and decommissioned, the other platforms are eager to get pumping again.
Plains All American, a texas-based petroleum (oil) transporting and storage company, was responsible for line 901, and was found legally liable for the pipeline’s failure, guilty of one felony and eight misdemeanor counts. The convictions included killing marine mammals, killing protected seabirds, discharging oil onto land, and failure to maintain proper equipment. Plains also failed to notify the California Office of Emergency Services and the National Response Center of the oil spill when it initially occurred.
Now they want to rebuild. They will be proposing two pipelines – lines 901R and 903R (R = replacement). Line 901R would follow the same route as the old 901, while 903 would carry the oil from Sisquoc to Pentland Delivery Point in Kern County. As these permits could take years to be approved, Exxon (proud owner of the remaining offshore platforms) has applied for permits to truck offshore oil along that stretch of coastline.