Venoco’s Platform Holly Oil Expansion Scheme
- Goal: To prevent the first new or expanded oil lease offshore CA since the 1969 Oil Spill
- Year Started: 2000
- Clients Get Oil Out!, Sierra Club, Los Padres Chapter, Citizens Planning Association
For more than 50 years, Platform Holly has stood off the coast of UCSB and Ellwood Mesa but in April, 2017, Venoco announced to the State Lands Commission that as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, it was giving up its rights to existing leases, to its effort to expand drilling in State Waters, to Lease 421 on the Ellwood Pier, and to the Ellwood Onshore Facility (EOF). This means in the not too distant future, our coastal horizon will be free of the massive Platform Holly, and the Santa Barbara Channel and communities in and around Goleta will no longer be at risk of spills and other toxic failures in and around the EOF.
EDC and our clients have worked since at least 2000 (link to PR) against the controversial Venoco projects. At various times, the oil company has used Platform Holly for Acid Well Stimulation (acidizing) and in recent years has sought authorization to expand drilling using slant drilling techniques, reaching more than four miles into a Coastal Sanctuary which currently prohibits such activities.
With this news from Venoco, Platform Holly will be decommissioned and the EOF will likely be closed and begin to transition to an area for public recreation as it is zoned to be. Venoco owns additional oil assets in Carpinteria and some oil leases in federal waters offshore Carpinteria. The company will try to sell these assets as part of bankruptcy liquidation and will therefore require continued vigilance from the environmental community.