In April 2017, Venoco declared bankruptcy for the second time in a year. As a result, Platforms Holly, Gail, and Grace will be permanently decommissioned, along with associated infrastructure. Previous owners Exxon Mobil (Holly) and Chevron (Gail and Grace) will be responsible for decommissioning the platforms.
Additionally, in May 2018, Freeport-McMoRan announced their intention to decommission Platforms Harmony, Hondo, and Heritage which are located off the Gaviota Coast.
While decommissioning will take many years, completion will signal the end of oil and gas operations at these facilities forever. Channelkeeper will work with the appropriate agencies and our partners to ensure the facilities are decommissioned in the most environmentally sound way. For more information on the decommissioning process, see the sections on each platform below.
Decommissioning of Platform Holly, located in state waters, will be overseen by the State Lands Commission. First, the 32 wells associated with Platform Holly and Piers 421 must be plugged and abandoned. The Commission selected Beacon West Energy Group, LLC as its contractor to operate and maintain Platform Holly and the Ellwood Onshore Facility and to plug and abandon the wells. The Ellwood Onshore Facility will be utilized during the plug and abandoning process but the Commission will engage with Exxon Mobil and the City of Goleta to determine the fate of the facility once decommissioning begins. The Commission intends to hold multiple hearings and community forums over the next year to facilitate public engagement in the process. More information can be found here.
Platforms Gail and Grace, located in federal waters off the coast of Oxnard, will be decommissioned by Chevron (the previous owner of the facilities). Hidalgo, Harvest, and Hermosa, known as the Point Arguello platforms off the coast of Gaviota, will be decommissioned by Freeport-McMoRan (the current operator). The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will oversee the decommissioning of these two platforms. To inform the decommissioning process, a team from the University of California Santa Barbara is partnering with BOEM to determine the biological effects for various platform removal scenarios. The study is expected to be completed in September 2019. More information can be found on BSEE’s and BOEM’s websites for decommissioning Gail and Grace.