The Hermosa Beach Oil Project is a single, onshore oil recovery operation, proposed by E&B Natural Resources Management, Corporation, a California-based oil and natural gas development company. The project is the result of a settlement agreement between Hermosa Beach and E&B (initially Macpherson Oil). (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermosa_Beach_oil_drilling_controversy) Subsequent to the agreement, E&B has filed an application with City of Hermosa Beach to construct and operate this facility to access well-known onshore and offshore oil reserves within the City’s jurisdiction. This filing opens the project to a public review process, which will include preparing and submitting an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The project will be completed in four phases, which will encompass site preparation (design and preliminary construction), drilling of test wells, final design and construction, and a final drilling and production phase (completion of wells contained within an underground cellar). Environmental safety and social responsibility undergird the project, which will utilize environmentally responsible directional oil drilling technology in order to safely recover crude oil and associated natural gas reserves from the tidelands and an onshore area known as the uplands. To ensure containment, the design includes a “closed loop” system for all recovery and processing operations, and restricts operations to a single 1.3-acre site, rather than multiple sites.
The project is suited to its proposed location in the City’s light manufacturing area (at the City Maintenance Yard at Valley Drive and 6th Street) and at a site previously used as a municipal landfill. The naturally fractured shales and inter-bedded thin sands of the Torrance Oil Field create reservoir characteristics for oil production, and as a result the project will not utilize “hydraulic fracking”. There will be no drilling from offshore and no offshore drilling platforms. All well heads will be contained within an underground well cellar. There will be one electric drilling rig onsite temporarily.
Revenues from the project are estimated to direct over $500 million over the 30+ year life of the project into the local economy. (Source: http://www.ebnr-hermosa.com/materials/news/new-economic-study-documents-economic-benefit-city-and-schools) Of the City revenues, it is expected that $285 million would flow into the City’s General Fund and that $234 million would be available for projects authorized under State of California guidelines applying to royalties from tidelands resources. Importantly, 37.5 percent of tidelands revenue is unrestricted and goes to the City’s General fund by virtue of an existing agreement that has been approved by the State Lands Commission.
Summary of Phases:
Phase 1 - Site Preparation
To prepare the site for oil drilling and testing, several activities will be undertaken: relocation of existing facilities, clearance of the site, construction of retaining walls, elevation grading, well cellar construction, installing an underground conduit, electrical equipment, and a six-foot temporary chain link fence, and ground coverage to inhibit dust.
Phase 2 - Oil Drilling and Testing
During this phase of the project, oil drilling and well testing (to determine potential productivity and economic viability) will commence. Activities will include: installing a temporary trailer, set up of an electric drill rig (equipped with noise attenuation material) and related equipment, drilling one water injection well and three test oil wells (drilling consistent with applicable restrictions, and will cease upon attainment of appropriate depths, which is expected to be thirty days for each well), testing of extracted oil, removal of drilling rig, trucking oil to designated (offsite) destinations, and re-injection of the processed produced water.
Phase 3 - Final Design and Construction
If E&B decides to proceed with full implementation, production information obtained during Phase 2 will be utilized to prepare the final oil drilling program and equipment procurement, project site grading, and construction of the permanent facilities, as well as additional improvements (onsite and offsite) of the proposed project. Other substantial activities would include, but not be limited to, removal of contaminated soil from previous usage, installation of permanent oil and gas production equipment, construction of off-site pipelines for the processed oil and natural gas and final site and street improvements.
Phase 4 - Development Drilling and Operations
During this phase, oil and gas recovery would be maximized by the addition of drilling wells and activating the permanent facility. To protect the surrounding community from noise, a temporary 32-foot sound attenuation wall would be erected. During this process of extraction, well operations and oil and gas transport would continue as they had in the preceding phase, and drilling will cease upon attainment of appropriate depths, which is expected to be 30 days for each well. Expected Project Life 30-35 Years
Normal production operations will be quietly maintained behind a fully landscaped 16-foot wall, with a 10 foot setback from the main road. The project will include street and streetscape improvements, intersection improvements and new landscaping, and will demonstrate compliance with all the existing requirements of the City’s existing Conditional Use Permit for the site, as well as the existing oil and gas lease with the City
Important details on test, construction and operational phases, the undergrounding of utilities and pipelines, identified trucking routes, and full site design, parking, landscaping, sound walls and visual simulations are available at www.ebnr-hermosa.com
The author of this article is a social activist and a public relations manager. She gathered one of the resources to write this article from a HubPage, titled "To Drill or Not to Drill: Oil in Hermosa Beach." You can connect with her over at Google+ for questions or more information.