Venoco files for bankruptcy protection

Denver, Colorado-based independent oil production company Venoco has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will be selling off or winding down its assets, including several offshore California.

It has marked for decommissioning its South Ellwood field in the Santa Barbara Channel for which it has quit-claimed its leases with the State of California.

This means it is cancelling its Platform Holly and Goleta Beach Pier leases.

Venoco made the Chapter 11 filing in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

One of the main causes of Venoco’s struggles was the May 2015 rupture of the Plains All-American Pipeline which carried oil from Platform Holly, a rupture that led to a 123,228-gallon spill of crude at Refugio State Beach and surrounding waters.

The company expects all its 110 employees to lose their jobs.

It is the second bankruptcy filing in just over a year by the company and comes just nine months since federal bankruptcy court approved its reorganization plan for the first filing when Venoco reached an agreement with lenders to cut around $1 billion in debt.

But this one is final as Venoco has run into unreconcilable organizational and regulatory problems.

Environmental groups welcomed the closure of Platform Holly, the last remaining offshore oil platform in California state waters.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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