Plains pipeline 901.

Paul Wellman (file)

Plains pipeline 901.

Venoco Sues Plains for $12.4 Million in Lost Earnings

Company Forced to Halt Production After Refugio Oil Spill

Two weeks after Venoco declared bankruptcy, it dropped the other shoe on Plains All American Pipeline in a $12.4 million suit for past, present, and future lost earnings and profits. Venoco claims that since Plains’ pipeline ruptured and caused the Refugio Oil Spill on May 19, 2015, it has been unable to produce crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids from Platform Holly because it has no way to otherwise move or store the crude. The natural gas and crude are ineluctably produced simultaneously, Venoco’s complaint explains.

Venoco states it had sent a claim at the end of 2015 to Plains for that amount, plus accounting costs, which represent its losses from the spill through the end of November. Plains had not agreed to pay the claim by April 1, 2016, which is when the complaint was filed with the Santa Barbara Superior Court. The Pacific Coast Business Times was first to report on the lawsuit. According to the court filing, 25 percent of Venoco’s earnings came from Platform Holly, and there’s no end in sight to the pipeline closure.

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