The City of Beverly Hills is managing a project on behalf of the Beverly Hills Unified School District to properly secure and plug 19 oil wells located on School District property adjacent to the Beverly Hills High School. The City's objectives are to:
The City has engaged a consultant, WZI, Inc., that has technical expertise in oil drill sites and regulatory compliance in order to assist the City with all aspects of project management.
View the BHUSD's Oil Well Plugging Project Questions & Answers webpage to learn more about the project.
- Since the 1950’s, the School District has leased the site for oil production.
- In the late 1970’s, the City joined the lease as a third-party and the lease agreement was amended so that it would automatically terminate on December 31, 2016. Within the ensuing 90 days, the lessee was required to properly restore the site.
- On December 31, 2016, the lessee, Venoco, ceased all oil and gas extraction from the site.
- In April 2017, Venoco filed for bankruptcy and informed the City and School District of its intent to vacate the premises. The bankruptcy judge ordered that Venoco shall have no further responsibility to monitor the site. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the District to monitor the site and plug the wells.
- On December 5, 2017, the City and School District entered into an agreement whereby the City would take on project management responsibilities to monitor and plug the wells. The School District has stated that it does not possess unencumbered reserves in excess of those required to fund its reasonable multi-year operating projections. As such, the City will advance up to $8 million in costs for site monitoring and plugging. This amount is subject to 50% reimbursement by the School District. The City and the BHUSD retained WZI, Inc., an environmental consultant specializing in petroleum engineering, to provide technical assistance and oversight of the well plugging process.
- In February, 2018, the City and BHUSD contracted with ARB, Inc. to provide well monitoring and abandonment services. ARB, Inc. continuously monitors the oil wells and maintains pressure at a safe level.
- On May 1, 2018, ARB mobilized and started depressurize the oil wells and maintain the pressure of the wells at a safe level.
- June 2018, a community meeting regarding the project was held at Roxbury Community Center.
- July 27, 2018, the oil well derrick was removed and well plugging began.
- August 28, 2019, another community meeting regarding the project was held at La Cienega Community Center.
Future updates regarding this project may be found at this webpage: beverlyhills.org/oilwells