Platform Holly/Piers 421/Venoco Bankruptcy

Photo credit: Commission staff

Sep 21, 2021 | Oil and Gas

Current Status

Plug and abandonment operations on Platform Holly have resumed after a 527-day hiatus owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the equipment that was “cold-stacked” or removed from the platform is back in working order, we will re-start abandoning the 30 wells on Platform Holly. Previously, before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down, we plugged 16 of the wells producing intervals. The remaining work for these wells is to finish the abandonment by setting plugs to the sea floor.


The plug and abandonment work on Platform Holly began in October 2019. This follows the successful plug and abandonment of the Piers 421 wells in Goleta. As background, in April 2017, Venoco quitclaimed its interests in the South Ellwood Field leases, including Platform Holly and the Ellwood Beach pier leases near the City of Goleta. The quitclaim ends commercial oil and gas production in state waters in the Santa Barbara Channel and returns operational control of these assets to the Commission. California’s Coastal Sanctuary Act prohibits the Commission from issuing new offshore oil and gas leases.

The Commission selected Beacon West Energy Group, LLC as its contractor to operate and maintain Platform Holly and the Ellwood Onshore Facility. Beacon West, under the Commission’s oversight, began ensuring the security and safe daily operations and maintenance at Platform Holly and the Ellwood Onshore Facility in September 2017.

ExxonMobil, the successor in interest to prior operator Mobil Oil Corporation, agreed to fulfill its obligation to abandon the 30 wells, seven of which were Venoco re-drilled and are state obligations, and the two near-shore wells on what was Oil & Gas Lease 421.

Public Meetings

Previous Staff Reports

  • 02/27/2018 (92) – Consider delegating authority to the Executive Officer to enter into Agreements necessary for access and operations on former State Oil and Gas Lease Nos. PRC 1466.1, PRC 145.1, and PRC 410.1 related to Rincon Island; and provide an update on the status of Oil and Gas Decommissioning Projects undertaken by the Commission, including the Becker Well Abandonment and Remediation Project and the decommissioning of facilities on former leases encompassing Platform Holly and Rincon Island, off Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
  • 07/11/1997 (76) – Consider Approval of the Assignment of Undivided Interests in Oil and Gas Lease Nos. PRC 421.1, PRC 3120.1 and PRC 3242.1, and industrial leases PRC 3904.1 and PRC 5515.1, Santa Barbara County