Sunday, August 19 , 2018, 1:33 am | Overcast with Haze 67º


Local News

Venoco Sues Plains for Lost Profits After Refugio Oil Spill, Pipeline Shutdown

Venoco Inc. is suing Plains All-American Pipeline for more than $12 million in lost profits after the Refugio Oil Spill caused a shutdown of southern Santa Barbara County oil and gas transportation pipelines.

Plains owns and operates the Line 901 on the Gaviota Coast which ruptured May 19, 2015 and spilled crude oil onto the coastline and into the ocean. 

Federal investigators determined external pipeline corrosion caused the spill.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shut down both of Plains’ local pipelines and oil companies, including Venoco, shut down their South County offshore platforms since there is no alternative way to transport the oil and gas products to refineries.

Platform Holly, off the coast of Goleta, is operated by Venoco which has offices in Denver, Colorado and Carpinteria.

Los Angeles-based attorney Steven Tekosky filed a civil suit in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Friday which asks Plains to pay Venoco $12.4 million in lost profits and/or earning capacity, as well as $108,900 in costs from accounting and financial experts.

Those losses are from May to November in 2015 and Venoco continues to rack up losses every day the pipelines stay shut down, according to court documents.

“Venoco is informed and thereon alleges that there is no date certain for the resumption of the pipeline’s operations,” the civil filing says.

Venoco filed a claim for the money with Plains on Dec. 31 but Plains hasn’t paid or committed to pay it, which led to the civil lawsuit, according to court documents.

In mid-March, Venoco filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reduce the company’s debt and restructure itself while it deals with low oil prices and the pipeline closures. Platform Holly provided half of the company's production before the spill, according to the company. 

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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 through Stripe below, 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
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

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.

  • 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 >