By April 18, 2016 Read More →

California drilling island focus of state’s conservation department

Corroded and unsafe wells found on California drilling island

California drilling island

State inspectors have found a number of violations on the California drilling island including rusted wellheads, valves, handles and pipes.  Greka photo.

LOS ANGELES _ State regulators are working to ensure the company that owns a California drilling island located on the southern coast cleans up the facility after a number of severely corroded and unsafe wells were discovered.

According to the Associated Press, the Department of Conservation is focussing its enforcement efforts on the owners of the Rincon Island facility.

“The number of long-term idle wells at this site in the marine environment is of great concern,” said Ken Harris, supervisor of the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources known as DOGGR. “The operator has failed to maintain the facility to regulatory standards.”

The state agency has adopted a more proactive approach after acknowledging shortcomings that critics have called a longtime lack of oversight which has led to pollution and other issues.

“DOGGR and industry worked hand in hand for many decades,” said Brian Segee, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Center. “I think there’s an effort being made to try to change that culture.”
The renewed enforcement efforts come after a natural gas well blowout last October near Los Angeles drove over 6,400 families from their homes and an oil spill spewed crude oil onto beaches near Santa Barbara nearly a year ago.
AP says Greka, an oil company blamed for a number of spills in Santa Barbara County, acquired Rincon Island Limited Partnership in 2002.  The facility has been largely inactive since 2008 due to disrepair of a wooden causeway that carries vehicles and pipelines to the mainland.
In February, inspectors at Rincon Island noted nearly four dozen violations, including several rusted wellheads, valves, handles and pipes “in an unsafe state of disrepair and dysfunction” on the one-acre island.

DOGGR also ordered the firm to inspect an idle well that sits on the sea floor that had been damaged by commercial fishing gear over 25 years ago.

The well owners have filed a number of plans to permanently seal and abandon the well, but the work has never been performed.


Posted in: News

Comments are closed.