State Lands Considers Venoco Project

The California State Lands Commission (CSLC) is reviewing an application by Venoco, for the recommissioning of the oil well located on what is commonly referred to as the 421 Piers adjacent to the Ellwood area of Goleta. Venoco holds a lease from CSLC for these wells and oil field, which have been inactive and shut-in since an oil spill in 1994. The PRC 421 Recommissioning Project (Project)proposes to resume oil and gas production of PRC 421

The project includes the following components:

  • Well 421-2 would be recommissioned using an existing pier (Pier 421-2) located on Haskell’s Beach adjacent to and partially within the City of Goleta;
  • Water and gas from crude oil emulsion extracted from Well 421-2 would be separated at the existing Ellwood Onshore Facility (EOF) in the City of Goleta;
  • A second well (Well 421-1), which is located on an adjacent pier (Pier 421-1), would be decommissioned and removed;
  • An oil transport line and electrical/communication cables are required to support recommissioning and would connect the Pier 421-2 with the EOF.
  • The estimated productive life of PRC 421 is a minimum of 20 years

The Revised Draft EIR was in circulation over the past several months.  City staff submitted a public comment letter on the EIR.  CSLC held a public hearing in early December and accepted written public comment through December 20.  CSLC now has the option to consider and respond to comments, hold a duly noticed public hearing and consider whether or not to certify the EIR, or request further study, alternatives and/or mitigation measures. If the EIR is certified, CSLC may consider approval of the project.

The CSLC has exclusive jurisdiction over approval of the project.  The City has no independent authority to grant or deny permission to resume oil and gas processing on the Piers or to certify or decline to certify the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  If Venoco receives the CSLC-required approvals for this project, the City will be required to process related permits for the portions of the project that take place within the City’s jurisdiction.

For more information on the project visit the CSLC internet website at (under the “Information” tab and “CEQA Updates” link).