I wrote previously about the patch of oozing oil at the Carpinteria Bluffs, near the point where the trail to the seal overlook crosses the railroad tracks. (See Rain at the Bluffs.) The City’s Bluffs Management Plan mentions it, and for years there’s been discussion in Carp about what that oozy patch actually is: A natural seep? Or a leftover well from the There Will Be Blood era of relatively unregulated oil drilling?
Apparently it was the latter. I’m unclear on what it was that got things moving, but the state Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) looked into the matter, and in December of last year contacted ConocoPhillips, the company that owns the “assets and liabilities” of the former Continental Oil Company. Apparently there was an old well, originally called “Kittie Bailard 1”, that Contintental drilled there in 1929.
The city’s website currently hosts a press release from ConocoPhillips describing the resulting cleanup project: Carpinteria Project Update: Kittie Bailard 1 (PDF). Like most corporate press releases, it casts the company in the best possible light. But you can glean facts from the account, and the spin itself is interesting. Here’s an image from the release showing the temporary fencing that was erected at the site:
There also was a presentation given by representatives of DOGGR and ConocoPhilips at the July 23, 2012 City Council meeting. You can read about it in the minutes of that meeting (PDF), though the account doesn’t go into a lot of detail. For example, “Bruce Henson, representing DOGGR, spoke regarding the original abandonment of the well.” I’d be interested in knowing more about what he said. This is one of those times when I wished I had cable so I could watch the rerun of the meeting on the public access channel.