The Air Force will evaluate whether extraction of offshore oil is economically, environmentally and politically feasible from land sites on Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Air Force Space Command will work with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, who will perform an Opportunity Assessment over the next several months to help the Air Force determine if extended reach drilling technology can be used to extract offshore oil and gas from Vandenberg AFB and is compatible with the base’s mission.
Vandenberg AFB has accommodated oil drilling for many years, and there are active wells on the installation.
Through the Opportunity Assessment, if the Air Force determines offshore oil extraction from Air Force property is feasible; the Air Force would then consider a possible Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) with an entity interested in pursuing the rights to extract the offshore oil and gas.
The Air Force’s primary concern is not affecting Vandenberg AFB’s space and launch missions, which include launching nationally critical polar orbiting satellites. Vandenberg AFB has a stellar, proven reputation for managing environmental programs responsible for protecting and enhancing 17 federally protected threatened and endangered species.
Over the last 10 years, several oil companies and elected state and federal officials asked the Air Force to consider ‘slant drilling’ from Vandenberg AFB to offshore oil deposits. The Opportunity Assessment is a first step in exploring the viability of such an undertaking from the installation. U.S. law authorizes military services to lease non-excess land for non-federal development, provided the use does not conflict with mission requirements and is beneficial to the military service leasing the property.
The EUL program develops commercial, industrial and energy projects at installations across the United States.
An EUL is usually a lease of non-excess land to a private developer in exchange for cash or authorized in-kind (non-cash)-consideration.
The Opportunity Assessment is expected to take two to three months to complete. The Air Force will then determine whether to pursue an EUL.
If a decision is ultimately made to pursue an EUL, a developer would be required to comply with all local, state and federal laws and regulations.