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Unocal Battles

Aerial view of Unocal's Battles gas plant when it was operational
Aerial View of Unocal's Battles Gas Plant when it was Operational

What's New

Battles Gas Processing Plant Site Decommissioning

Pipeline abandonment and gas plant remediation activities have received all permits. Pipeline abandonment and removal activities are underway.


An onshore site housing the Santa Maria Pump Station (an active use), Greka's oil and gas processing facility (an active use), and the remnants of Unocal's Battles Gas Plant. The gas plant has been demolished since 1995. Site cleanup and restoration activities are ongoing.


The former Battles Gas Plant site is located approximately one mile southeast of the Santa Maria City limits. The surrounding area is predominately rural, being segregated from the city by the U.S. 101 freeway.

Gas and Facilities Map
Unocal Battles Gas Plant Site
Overhead View of Unocal's Battles Gas Plant Site


Cleanup Activities

  • On October 9, 2002, the Planning Commission approved the plan to remove all near-surface foundations and pipelines and to excavate and remediate hydrocarbon contaminated soils and subsurface plumes under the Phase II Abandonment Plan. The plan includes the installation and long-term operation of a bioventing system to speed up the natural microbial bio-remediation process under which hydrocarbon compounds are consumed by bacteria in an aerobic environment.
  • Unocal's former Battles Gas Processing Plant has been dismantled and site abandonment and remediation activities have been approved by the Planning Commission. All of the above-ground structures have been removed. Removal of underground equipment and soil remediation work is anticipated to begin by November/December 2003.

Past Activities

Battles Gas Processing Site

  • The Battles site has been dedicated to uses supporting oil and gas development since 1935. Union Oil (later renamed Unocal) constructed the gas plant in 1937 and operated it for nearly 60 years, processing natural gas produced from nearby oil fields.
  • Siting economic reasons, Unocal closed the Battles plant in 1995 and constructed a smaller, more efficient facility near Lompoc.
  • The removal of all the above-ground structures was completed in 1995 under the Phase I Abandonment Plan.
  • In 2004, the Board of Supervisors acted unanimously to rezone the Battles site from General Industry to Agriculture, thereby ensuring the compatibility of future uses with the surrounding rural area. The Board also approved an option to develop agricultural industry onsite, such as a vegetable-packing plant, given the particular attributes of this site. Adjustments to the boundaries of the site's three parcels so they fit the extent of onsite uses were also approved as part of the project. Prior to any future development on the portion of the site where the Battles Gas Plant was located, proper cleanup of the site must be completed.

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