Pixel Tracker

Monday, November 19 , 2018, 12:13 am | Fog/Mist 49º


Venoco’s Ellwood Operation Earns State Environmental Award

Conservation Department says facility exceeded required protections

Venoco Inc.’s Ellwood facility received its second environmental award from the California Department of Conservation for surpassing regulatory requirements, which are given out annually to various oil and gas facilities.

The agency’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources oversees onshore and offshore wells, and its Outstanding Field Lease and Facility Maintenance Awards go to operators that enhance safety and environmental protections.

The city of Goleta has been discussing emergency action plans with Venoco for the past few months, given a lapse in communication over an incident last year. Goleta sent the company two notices of violation in 2009, citing incorrect notification procedures in the event of a gas release, oil spill or unplanned shutdown.

A contained four-barrel leak occurred in November about 1 a.m.,but the city wasn’t notified until after 8 a.m., which city officials said was too late. Venoco representative Steve Greig said the incident’s volume didn’t trigger the requirement for notification, and the two organizations are working together to clarify these issues for the future so notification isn’t as subjective.

Venoco workers are trained to follow notification criteria, not make judgment calls, he said. Emergency measures put in place haven’t been activated for an energy-related incident to date.

Venoco operates many onshore and offshore facilities in the Central Coast area, including Platform Holly that produces oil and gas from the South Ellwood field, which is then transported onshore to its processing and storage facility.

According to the Department of Conservation, there are about 88,000 oil, gas and geothermal wells still in use in California, operated by about 570 companies.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >