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History of the East Cat Canyon oil field

Since oil operations began in the Santa Maria Basin in 1889, the region has produced more than one billion barrels of oil. Historically, oil production activities at the project site were operated by independent operators and later Husky Oil Company, starting in the early 1900s. In 1984, the project site was transferred to Shell Oil Company. Intermittent production activities at this site were conducted until 1989, when Shell ceased its operations due to the economics at that time.

In 1997, Shell and Mobil combined their California exploration and production operations to form Aera Energy and field ownership was transferred to Aera. The wells were temporarily decommissioned and nearly all of the facilities were removed by 2002.

Since 2012 another unaffiliated company has operated several oil wells on leases in the field.

“I own a ranch directly across from the East Cat Canyon project.  Aera has been a very responsible neighbor, open in communicating about the project, attentive to my concerns and always ready to help. I strongly support this project.”

Rebecca Gowing
Cat Canyon Rancher

Fast facts:

  • 141 oil wells and a similar number of wells for steam injection, water injection and observation.
  • Oil will be produced using steam injection.
  • A natural gas pipeline that will utilize existing utility rights-of-way.
  • No freshwater will be used for oil production – safety systems to protect surface and ground water quality will be required
  • No hydraulic fracturing will be used
  • All oak trees that must be removed during construction will be replaced as required by county regulations
  • The project will minimize transportation impacts with a transportation safety plan and a low-emissions truck fleet
  • The project proposes to preserve a large conservation area that can be used for to preserve woodland wildlife habitat.
  • More than 90 % of the project site will be undisturbed land and open space.
  • Intensive review of human health and environmental impacts through an environmental impact report (EIR) which will analyze all potential human health and environmental impacts including effects on air, water, seismicity and noise.
  • According to the UC Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project, Aera’s project will generate more than $1.3 billion in total economic activity and create hundreds of well-paying jobs with good benefits for Santa Barbara families.

Supporting public services

Aera will become the largest property taxpayer in Santa Barbara if this project is approved, providing needed revenues for schools, law enforcement and other vital services.

Download materials

East Cat Canyon Fact Sheet
Aera in the community
Conservation area FAQs
Economic report FAQs
Trucking FAQs
What people are saying
Support Form

Aera Energy LLCEast Cat Canyon Project Team
P.O. Box 5639, Santa Maria, CA 93456-5639(805) 361-8800 / Contact us
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