Rincon Onshore and Offshore Facilities

Photo of Rincon Operations courtesy Sheri Pemberton, Commission staff.

May 16, 2024 | Oil and Gas

Status

On March 15, staff released a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Rincon Decommissioning Project, with a 60-day public review and comment period, which ended on May 15, 2024. Staff is preparing the final EIR, which will be considered along with the Project by the Commission later this year. This is a major step in this significant decommissioning project and a milestone staff has been working toward since Rincon Island Limited Partnership filed for bankruptcy.

Public Meetings

Pelicans gathered at Rincon Island, Ventura County.

Pelicans gathered at Rincon Island, Ventura County. Larger view available.

Background

Until recently, there were three state oil and gas leases associated with Rincon Island, totaling 1,551 acres of tide and submerged lands in Ventura County (map). In 2014, staff identified regulatory violations that posed a significant risk to the marine environment from an uncontrolled release of oil. The Commission, in partnership with the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, vigorously advocated for the state’s interests before and after Rincon Island Limited Partnership (RILP) filed for bankruptcy in August 2016. On November 29, 2017, the Commission adopted findings and authorized staff to accept a voluntary relinquishment of RILP’s rights in the lease (known as a quitclaim deed) or terminate the leases. On November 30, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court approved a joint motion by the Commission, the chapter 11 trustee, and UBS AG Bank (RILP’s largest secured creditor) to grant the Commission a quitclaim over Rincon Island (Lease No. PRC 1466), which was on December 6, 2017.

The relinquishment means the last operational offshore oil drilling and production facility in the Santa Barbara Channel is over, and RILP’s interests will be added to California’s Coastal Sanctuary. The Commission is now, as it has been, working to ensure public and environmental safety and to protect the state’s public lands and resources.

Previous Staff Reports

  • 08/23/2022 (47) – Consider Feasibility Study findings and staff recommendation of Rincon Decommissioning Phase 2 Project and Alternatives to be analyzed in an EIR under CEQA.
  • 08/20/2020 (56) – Request authority for the Executive Officer to solicit statements of interest for consultant services, negotiate a fair and reasonable price, and award and execute agreements for a feasibility report and environmental documentation.
  • 02/27/2018 (92) – Request authority for the Executive Officer to enter into agreements for access and operations on the former Rincon leases. An update on the Commission’s oil and gas decommissioning projects, including the Becker Well.
  • 11/29/2017 (71) – Consider the future disposition of oil and gas leases PRC 1466.1, PRC 410.1, and PRC 145.1, held by Rincon Island Limited Partnership, and proposals submitted on behalf of the bankruptcy estate of Rincon Island Limited Partnership for alternate operators to assume control of those leases.
  • 08/17/2017 (77) – An update on Rincon Island Limited Partnership’s operational compliance, chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, and a settlement between the Commission and Atlantic Richfield Company, a prior lessee.

Additional Information

 

 

Final Rincon Phase 2 Decommissioning

 

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Contacts

Cynthia Herzog
916.574.1310
Cynthia.Herzog@slc.ca.gov

For media inquiries only:
Public Information Officer
Sheri Pemberton
916.574.1992
ExternalAffairsChief.Public@slc.ca.gov