Oil Rig Hondo

Duane Strosaker

Oil Rig Hondo

New Offshore Oil Plan in the Works

Environmental Hearings for New Drilling Off Carpinteria Coast to Start in January

Officials from the California State Lands Commission and the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) started the clock last week on the environmental review process for a new plan to expand oil drilling efforts just offshore of Carpinteria.

Carone Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of Signal Hill, is a looking to revise Signal’s existing oil drilling permit for Platform Hogan, which is located in federal waters, in such a way that they would be able to access existing oil leases in state waters a few miles offshore of Carpinteria. The plan, according to the application filed jointly with State Lands and BOEM, has the potential to result in as many as 25 new wells and yield upward of 8.9 million barrels of crude over a 40-year period via extended-reach and slant-drilling efforts.

Specifically, Carone hopes to utilize the federally sanctioned Platform Hogan, 3.7 miles offshore of Carp, as the launching point for harvesting crude in state waters before sending it through pipeline to the processing facility at La Conchita. Since Hogan, which is leased by Signal Hill Services and operated by Pacific Operators Offshore LLC, already has an approved oil development and production plan in place, the proposal by Carone is, technically speaking, a request for a revision to the existing permit. But since the plan aims, rather unusually, to use a federal platform to drill oil from leases under state jurisdiction, it must clear numerous hurdles with both the California State Lands Commission and the federal BOEM before it becomes a reality.

To that end, the Environmental Impact Review process officially got underway last week, with the start of a 60-day public comment period that will help State Lands — which is the lead regulatory agency on the proposal — and BOEM figure out the extent and scope of their actual EIR in the months ahead. Two meetings have been scheduled for January 19 at Carpinteria City Council Chambers, at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., for the public to speak out about the plan and share questions or concerns with officials from both regulatory agencies.

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