CLEAN BREAK
From Dirty Fossil Fuels to Clean Renewable Energy

Drill Sites

70 oil fields, 3000 wells: If you live in LA, you live near an oil field. Often, they're cleverly hidden within structures and behind walls. Here's a Photographic Report on the Oil Fields of the Los Angeles Basin from the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

For maps with AQMD info about well location and extraction type go to Fracktracker.org. To find out how close you are to an oil operation, type your address in the search window in the upper right-hand corner of the map.

Click on the below for more information on each of the drill sites.

Montebello Oil Field

St. James/Good Shepherd

Inglewood Oil Field

San Vicente Drill Site

Jefferson & Budlong Drill Site

Murphy Drill Site

Montebello Oil Field

The Montebello Hills, located in the northeast section of Montebello in the western San Gabriel Valley, are the last large area of open space left between the Los Angeles River and the Rio Hondo. The approximately 487 acres of undeveloped land, currently used for oil production, represent less than a third of the original hills. The western portion of the hills have been developed with densely-packed housing tracts, a golf course, a high school and the dump.

These remaining Hills are a unique natural area, which support numerous native plants and animals including the now rare coastal sage scrub habitat, the endangered California gnatcatcher, and red tailed hawks, which can sometimes be seen soaring over the nearby Pomona (60) Freeway.

The Montebello Hills act as watershed for the Rio Hondo and are a potential crown jewel in the Emerald Necklace, an urban park network of trails, parks and greenways along the San Gabriel River and the Rio Hondo. Preserved as a natural park, the Hills will provide recreation, relaxation, ecotourism, and an opportunity to exercise and experience nature for residents of Montebello, numerous nearby cities and developed county areas. The park’s features will draw visitors from outside the area, attracted by its hiking, biking, horseback riding, nature study and picnicing opportunities. It will stand as a refuge from urbanization for people of all ages, will protect habitat and will maintain an important wildlife corridor.

The Montebello Hills are currently owned by Freeport McMoRan, which is attempting to develop these hills for residential and commercial use.

St. James/Good Shepherd

Very old Doheny oil field, benefactor of USC. Sold by St.James Oil Co. (Downtown L.A. Operator) to Allenco, which is a service contractor. Esperanza Housing Group organized and documented problems with operations. Used their noses and lips to complain to SCAQMD. Then they moved on until they got to Barbara Boxer who came out to smell the odor for herself. She called the CalEPA and SCAQMD, who got sick on site. The City closed it down moratorium, and City Attorney is trying for permanent closure.

Further Resources:

Inglewood Oil Field

The Inglewood oil field covers 1,000 acres in Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California. Oil and gas was discovered there in 1924, and 1,600 wells were drilled by 2010. It is one of the largest urban oilfields in the U.S., with more than one million people living within five miles of the site. Most of the oil field is located in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

In 2007 the county board held hearings and eventually created a special set of regulations by 2008 governing drilling - the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District (CSD), an amendment to its zoning code establishing development standards and operating procedures for oil and gas production operations for the unincorporated portion of the Inglewood oil field located in the Baldwin Hills Zoned District. Drilling was capped at 600 wells. According to PXP, the company voluntarily funded an environmental impact review (EIR) and agreed to adopt more regulations. The Board certified the final EIR for the proposed CSD on October 21, 2008, and PXP again began applying for permits.

The county and the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) approved PXP's 2011 annual drilling plan, giving PXP the green light to drill up to 53 wells over the course of the year.

In 2012 it was reported that PXP was again using fracking in the Inglewood Oil Field. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the community that surrounds the oil field did not know about the 2012 test fracking until March 9, after the fracking was complete. According to FracFocus, the two vertical wells were fracked in September 2011 and January 2012. PXP used up to 168,000 gallons of water laced with chemicals in one well to a depth of about one and half miles. PXP said the frac jobs were necessary for its fracking study, part of the 2011 settlement over its drilling, but environmental groups say the industry could have relied upon other data.

The state regulators (DOGGR) have admitted they do not know where all the state's fracked wells are located, and there is no monitoring system in California for fracking. Communities hope some of these issues will be resolved with the PXP fracking study and proposed state regulations around disclosure and notification.[7]

On May 15, 2012, Food & Water Watch joined with Gasland's Josh Fox, Environment California, Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community, Grassroots Coalition, and residents of surrounding neighborhoods to call for a ban on fracking in California, presenting the signatures of 50,000 Californians who have signed petitions supporting a ban.

San Vicente Drill Site

San Vicente (Cedars Sinai/Beverly Center) is part of the Salt Lake Oil Field. Salt Lake Oil Field includes Beverly Hills Field and San Vicente. It began operations in 1968. So when the Beverly Center was built in 1982, it was designed to discreetly curve around the above-ground operations. Oil goes by underground pipeline to the Inglewood Oil Field.

Jefferson & Budlong Drill Site

A neighbor's description: The acidizing site is located at 1349-1375 Jefferson Blvd., between Budlong Ave. and Van Buren Place. Due to the high cement wall that surrounds the site, many people are unaware of the drilling—despite the incessant pounding noise and signs with disclaimers such as “Chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer… have been found in and around this facility.”

I live upstairs in the building next to the site, and can see everything that takes place behind the wall. An elementary school also borders the site. Trucks transport toxic chemicals in and out. The acrid smell of oil permeates the air. Emissions detrimental to the health of elementary school children, nearby residents and university students are not regulated.

Most of the families that live around the site accept it as something they have to live with. However, that’s an incorrect assumption. Freeport-McMoRan is petitioning to drill 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Murphy Drill Site

The Murphy Drill Site, operated by Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas, is located west of USC in a dense neighborhood where residents say it's unsafe to use a new technique of injecting chemicals—including toxic hydrochloric acid and benzene—deep into the earth to dissolve rocks and shale in order to extract oil.

Further Resources:

Jefferson Drill Site in the Historic West Adams District.

© 2017 Sierra Club, All Rights Reserved

Website Administration