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Santa Maria Energy Oil Production Plan

[Information up to date as of 02/01/2018]

What’s New

P&D issued the Zoning Clearance for Phase 1 of the project on July 1, 2014. Issuance of this clearance indicates that P&D has approved the compliance plans required before grading and building permits can be issued and construction can begin, in accordance with SME’s conditions of approval for the oil drilling and production plan. SME is also in the process of obtaining necessary approvals from the state Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (SBCAPCD). SME expects well drilling activities to begin later this summer or early fall upon approval of all remaining permits.

SME expects to begin construction of the pipeline that would supply recycled water the oil production project later this summer. For more information about the water pipeline project, please contact Martin Wilder at the Laguna County Sanitation District, 805.739.8755 and

Project Description

Phase 1: 49 total wells (26 temporary wells converted to permanent status and 23 new wells); 1 new 85 MBtu/hr and 1 existing 26.5 MBtu/hr steam generator; production equipment including pipelines, oil and recycled water treatment and storage facilities and ancillary equipment; crude oil transmission pipeline; utility corridor for gas and recycled water transmission lines and fiber optics; grading for well pads; culvert installation at two streambed crossings within the Lease. The oil pipeline will connect the SME Careaga Lease facilities with the existing Phillips 66 12-inch oil line located along Graciosa Road and terminating at the Phillips 66 pump station on Battles Road.

Phase 2: 87 new wells, replace 26.5 MBtu/hr steam generator with 1 new 85 MBtu/hr generator.

A cyclic steaming process is used to produce oil from the diatomite zone. No hydraulic fracturing is planned or permitted for the project. Treated water from the Laguna County Sanitation District is used to generate steam and is delivered to the site via a new recycled water pipeline (see description below). A detailed project description is available in the Final EIR (Volume I) [60MB PDF].

County case numbers are 14PMC-00000-00019 (compliance monitoring), 14ZCI-00000-00034 (zoning clearance), 09PPP-00000-00002 (wells), 12DVP-00000-00008 (oil pipeline), and 12EIR-00000-00003 (environmental document).

Laguna County Sanitation District (LCSD) Phase 3 Recycled Water Pipeline: SME is constructing a 16-inch diameter polyvinyl chloride water line, approximately 8 miles long to deliver tertiary treated water to the oil field for steam generation. Two booster pump stations powered by electricity are located along the pipeline route. The LCSD is responsible for monitoring construction for compliance with the conditions of approval (County case number 13LUP-00000-00102) and will assume ownership of most of the pipeline upon its satisfactory completion and Board of Directors approval. SME will continue to own and operate the water pipeline within the utility corridor and on the Lease.

Past Activities

November 12, 2013: The County Board of Supervisors granted the appeal, approved the SME project and certified the Final Environmental Impact Report on a 3-2 vote. The Board’s approval set the project’s greenhouse gas emissions threshold at 10,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year above baseline emissions. This approval is final.

October 7, 2013: The Environmental Defense Center filed an appeal of the County Planning Commission’s approval of the Santa Maria Energy Project.

September 25, 2013: The County Planning Commission approved the Santa Maria Energy project with a greenhouse gas threshold of 29% below Business-As-Usual.

September 13, 2013: Release of September 2013 Proposed Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR). This proposed FEIR incorporated the Draft Recirculation Document in Section 5.1 (Air Quality), including revisions made in response to comments on the Draft Recirculation Document.

July 15, 2013: Release of Draft Recirculation Document (greenhouse gas analysis) for the proposed Final Environmental Impact Report for 30-day review period.

June 25, 2013: Fourth time extension for pilot well land use permits valid until July 1, 2014.

May 1, 2013: The County Planning Commission voted 3 to 2 to adopt the 50% reduction from Business-As-Usual as a standard, subject to revision and recirculation of the greenhouse gas analysis in the air quality section of the EIR, and to adopt staff recommendations as modified at the April 24, 2013 and May 1, 2013 hearings.

April 24, 2013: The County Planning Commission hearing; continued to May 1, 2013.

April 4, 2013: Release of April 2013 Proposed Final Environmental Impact Report.

November 13, 2012: Public review period for the Draft EIR closed.

October 9, 2012: Environmental Hearing on the Draft EIR (no comments were made).

September 14, 2012: Draft EIR released for public review.

August 2, 2012: Development Plan (DP) application filed (for oil transmission pipeline)

November 12, 2009: Oil Development and Production Plan (ODPP) application filed.


EDC Appeal of County Planning Commission approval (October 4, 2013)

Final Environmental Impact Report (September 2013)

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