Summary Project Description
The Whittier Main Oil Field Development Project (“Project”) will involve drilling oil wells and producing oil and natrual gas from a designated “Consolidated Central Site (“Site”), located on property owned by the City of Whittier, which is part of the Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Preserve (“Preserve”). The preserve is located at the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, bounded by the San Gabriel River on the west and the Chino Hills to the east. The 3,869 acre Preserve extends across the Cities of Whittier, La Habra Heights and the unincorporated communities of Rowalnd Heights and Hacienda Heights.
Whittier owns 1,290 acres in the Preserve north of the developed areas of the City. This land was formerly producing oil field properties owned and operated by Chevron and Unocal Corporations. The area was commonly known as the Whittier Main Field (“Field”) which produced oil for more than 100 years from more than 500 wells until its abandonment in the early 1990s. The property is currently managed for the City by the Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority (“Habitat Authority”).
In October 2008, the City awarded an oil and gas lease to Matrix Oil Corporation (“Matrix”) which leased the City’s mineral rights underlying the field to Matrix, subject to the issuance of a Conditional Use Permit (“CUP”). In exchange, the City will likley receive a substantial long-term income stream from the royalties generated by the sale of crude oil and natrual gas from the project.
In April 2009, Matrix submitted its CUP application to the City requesting a permit to drill, explore and produce the remaining recoverable oil and gas reserves from the Field. After extensive study, including two Environmental Impact Reviews (“EIR”), the Whittier City Council unanimously approved the Final EIR and the issuance of the CUP to Matrix in November 2011.
The Project will be carried out in three phases. The Drilling and Testing Phase (Phase I) will involve the drilling of three test wells on the Site, and the assessment of the quality and quantity of oil and natrual gas produced. Drilling will take approximately ninety days, and testing will last up to four months.
Assuming that Matrix deems the testing successful and the project economically viable, the Design and Construction Phase will commence. Phase II will involve construction of well cellars, installation of oil and natrual gas processing and transportation facilities, and construction of separate product pipelines which will be buried beneath the ground and will transport the crude oil and natural gas to larger common-carrier pielines, and ultimately to market. The North Access Road will also be improved in order to accommodate large trucks and other oversized vehicles for ingress and egress to the Site. This Phase is estimated to last approximately two years.
Phase III is the Operations and Maintenance Phase during which up to fifty-seven additional wells will be rilled to efficiently produce the remaining recoverable oil and natural gas from beneath the Field. These wells will be operated and maintained throughout the field’s remaining economic life, the duration of which will depend on several factors, including productivity of the wells, market prices for crude oil and natrual gas, and the cost of operations.