The Santa Barbara County Planning & Development and General Services Departments have facilitated the successful decommissioning of the Line 96 crude oil pipeline formerly operated by Venoco, Inc.
The county contracted with Beacon West Consulting which performed the work in cooperation with other local vendors.
The six-inch diameter pipeline was about nine miles long and extended from the Ellwood Onshore Facility near the Bacara hotel to a tie-in point at the Plains All American Pipeline (PAAPL) near Las Flores Canyon on the Gaviota Coast.
The line was preserved in an idle status in September 2017 following the Plains Pipeline rupture in May 2015. At that time, oil was flushed out of the pipeline using water and until July 2023, remained full of some 1,685 barrels of water with diluted corrosion inhibitor and biocide.
In 2017, following the bankruptcy of Venoco, Inc., the county voluntarily assumed responsibility to oversee decommissioning of the pipeline.
The California Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) sent a letter to the county in May 2021, asking that the county formally abandon the pipeline to state standards.
The county maintained it was not the owner or operator of the pipeline, but in the public interest agreed to perform the work.
In cooperation with state representatives, the county obtained a $550,000 grant from the California Department of Toxic Substances to fund the abandonment work.
After much preparation, the decommissioning effort was completed between July 10 and 31.