Rincon Island Limited Partnership

Photo of Rincon site by CSLC staff, S. Pemberton

Until recently, there were three state oil and gas leases associated with Rincon Island, totaling 1,551 acres of offshore tide and submerged lands in Ventura County (map). In November 2014, Commission staff identified serious regulatory violations on Rincon Island that posed a significant risk to the marine environment from an uncontrolled release of oil. The Commission, in partnership with the California Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, have vigorously advocated for the State’s interests before and after the operator, Rincon Island Limited Partnership (RILP), filed for bankruptcy in August 2016. On November 29, 2017, the Commission adopted findings and delegated the authority to staff to either accept a voluntary relinquishment of RILP's rights in the lease (known as a quitclaim deed) or terminate the leases. On November 30, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court approved a joint motion by the Commission, the chapter 11 trustee, and UBS AG Bank (RILP's largest secured creditor) to grant the Commission a quitclaim deed over Rincon Island (Lease No. PRC 1466). The Commission received the quitclaim on December 6, 2017.

The relinquishment means the last operational offshore oil drilling and production facility in the Santa Barbara Channel is over, and RILP's interests will be added to California's Coastal Sanctuary. The Commission is now, as it has been, working to secure the facilities to ensure public and environmental safety and to protect the state's sovereign Public Trust lands and resources. On November 15, 2017, the Commission entered into an emergency contract to retain the services of DrilTek Inc., to maintain 24-hour monitoring and maintenance on Rincon Island. Next, the Commission will take steps to start the plug and abandonment work for the 49 wells on the island and decommission the facilities. The ultimate disposition of the island and the connecting causeway will be determined after environmental analysis and public input.