Rincon Frequently Asked Questions

Apr 5, 2024 | Oil and Gas

  • Where is the onshore site located relative to Rincon Island?

    The onshore site is located 1.3 miles east of Rincon Island, downcoast from Mussel Shoals, at 5750 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura. A map of Rincon Island and the onshore site can be found here.

  • What work was included in Phase 1?

    Phase 1 work included: 1) safely managing daily facilities operations; 2) ensuring federal and state regulatory compliance; 3) designing and executing well plugging and abandonment of 75 state wells (25 onshore and 50 offshore), as well as two orphaned Hobson Fee wells that were not part of the state lease operations; 4) decommissioning and remediating (when required) surface facilities and oil and gas assets covering former state leases PRC 145, PRC 410, and PRC 1466; 5) repairing the causeway to assure safety and withstand loads sufficient to remove of surface facilities; and 6) preparing Rincon Island, the causeway, and onshore site for caretaker status.

    While the bulk of Phase 1 work is complete, the Commission’s Phase 1 contractor, Driltek, Inc., will remain onsite to maintain the safety and security of the onshore and offshore sites during the caretaker status period. This will maintain an on-site presence, ensure that the remaining facilities and infrastructure are maintained in safe working condition, and provide site security while Phase 2 proceeds.

  • How long did Phase 1 work take to complete?

    Phase 1 work began in July 2018. Onshore well plug and abandonment work began in September 2018 and was completed in August 2019, with the exception of one injection well, which was completed in May 2021. Offshore well plug and abandonment began in January 2019 and was completed in January 2021. Causeway repair work was initiated and completed in 2020. Derelict oil and gas equipment and surface facilities were decommissioned and removed and the sites placed in caretaker status between late 2020 and June 2021, and the sites were officially in caretaker status as of July 1, 2021.

  • How was Phase 1 work funded?

    The State appropriated $50.46 million in General Fund monies to the Commission for Phase 1 work. Of this sum, $20 million was appropriated for fiscal year 2018-19, $20 million was appropriated for fiscal year 2019-20, and $10.46 million was appropriated for fiscal year 2020-21.

  • How much did Phase 1 work cost?

    Based on current spending trends, staff anticipates that the Phase 1 plug and abandonment project will come below the $50.46 million appropriation. It is presently anticipated that total costs through July 1, 2021, when the caretaker status period begins, will be just under $45 million.

    During the caretaker status period, costs are estimated to average $475,000 to $500,000 per year, assuming no special circumstances or emergency projects. The remaining State appropriations should exceed the funds needed to maintain the sites during the caretaker status period and provide a cushion in the event of any delay in beginning the Phase 3 decommissioning work, which would extend the anticipated caretaker status period.

  • Will there be anyone on site after June 30, 2021?

    Yes. Driltek, Inc. will continue to staff Rincon Island with a caretaker to provide site security and maintenance. Site presence will be augmented with roving security.

  • What does "caretaker status" mean?

    Caretaker status means a safe and secure condition requiring only minimal maintenance and security. Caretaker status occurs after well plug and abandonment and basic site clearance, including the removal of oil and gas facilities and dilapidated infrastructure associated with prior oil and gas operations. During caretaker status, the caretaker (a Driltek, Inc. employee or agent) need only perform basic maintenance on remaining infrastructure and facilities and will maintain an onsite presence to monitor the sites and deter trespassing. Roving security will be employed to monitor the sites when the caretaker is not present.

  • Will Rincon Island, the causeway, and the onshore site be accessible to the public during the caretaker status period?

    No. These facilities will continue to be secured and closed to the public throughout the caretaker status period. Future public access to these sites will be considered during the Phase 2 analysis and will depend on the ultimate decommissioning plan decided on by the Commission.

  • What work will be done in Phase 2?

    Phase 2 consists of a feasibility study followed by an analysis and preparation of documentation under CEQA. The feasibility study will include several studies and analyses, including: a desktop study of historical documentation regarding Rincon Island; bathymetric, geophysical, and structural surveys; a coastal engineering study; a baseline environmental assessment; a marine biological study; soil and water assessments; a socio-economic analysis considering environmental justice, commercial fishing, and recreational uses; and an engineering assessment considering alternatives including island removal or retention, causeway removal or retention, onshore site restoration, and reuse options.

  • How long will Phase 2 take to complete?

    Phase 2 is anticipated to take about 2 years. The Commission released a draft Feasibility Study on March 17 for a 60-day review. After the Commission adopts the Final Feasibility Study, the Commission will determine what type of CEQA analysis and documentation is necessary. The CEQA process is anticipated to take 12 to 15 months to complete if an EIR is necessary. If the Commission determines that a mitigated negative declaration is appropriate, the CEQA process could take less time.

  • Will there be opportunities for the public to engage in Phase 2 planning?

    Yes. The Commission welcomes and encourages public input, comment, insight, and ideas on the Rincon Decommissioning Project. Commission staff hosted a virtual planning workshop on June 23, 2021, to gather input on potential alternatives for Rincon Island and the onshore site to be analyzed in the feasibility study. We have scheduled a public meeting for May 4 at 6 p.m. to gather further input on the draft feasibility study and project alternatives.

    The CEQA process will start after the feasibility study analysis is complete. Additional public comment and input opportunities will be provided during the CEQA process.

    You can subscribe to receive Rincon updates if you have not done so already. Subscribers will receive email invitations to town halls and Phase 2 workshops and meetings.

    If you have ideas or comments that you would like to submit to Commission staff, you can also email us at Rincon.Phase2@slc.ca.gov.

  • Can you share an organizational chart for the Phase 2 consultant?

    Yes. Here is the organizational chart for Padre Associates, Inc., the Commission’s Phase 2 consultant.

  • Will Rincon Island be removed?

    It is undetermined at this time whether Rincon Island will be removed or stay in place. Island removal will be one of the project alternatives considered during Phase 2.

  • Will Rincon Island be sold?

    No. Rincon Island is on State sovereign tide and submerged lands. The Commission is constitutionally prohibited from selling such lands. To the extent Rincon Island is retained, the State will continue to own Rincon Island and the Commission will continue to manage it. In such event, reuse of the island by any private parties will be considered after submission of a lease application, which staff will process and submit to the Commission for consideration.

  • What will Rincon Island and the onshore site be used for in the future?

    It is undetermined at this time what Rincon Island and the onshore site will be used for in the future. Potential alternatives for reuse will be considered during Phase 2. The Commission welcomes ideas and applications for reuse.

  • When will Phase 3 begin?

    Phase 3 will begin after Phase 2 is completed and the Commission decides on the decommissioning project to be implemented. After the Phase 2 feasibility study and CEQA documentation are complete, Commission staff will take these documents to the Commission at a regularly scheduled public meeting with a recommendation on which project alternative to proceed with. The Commission will vote on whether to adopt staff’s recommendation. If the Commission’s decision requires state funding, Commission staff will complete the steps necessary to request and secure funding for the decommissioning project through the State budget process. Depending on the decommissioning project decided on by the Commission, Commission staff will also select a contractor to perform decommissioning work, and/or work with any project applicant(s) that have applied to reuse Rincon Island and/or the onshore site.

  • What will Phase 3 work include?

    Phase 3, the final phase of the Rincon Decommissioning Project, will consist of decommissioning Rincon Island, the causeway, and the onshore site. What such decommissioning will look like is presently undetermined and will be informed by the outcome of the Phase 2 process. Phase 3 decommissioning could include anything from island and causeway removal to retention and reuse of the island, causeway, and onshore site.

  • Who will decide what happens to Rincon Island, the causeway, and the onshore site?

    The Commission will make the final decision on which project to implement in Phase 3, and therefore determine the final disposition of Rincon Island, the causeway, and the onshore site.



Final Rincon Phase 2 Decommissioning


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