Tranquillon Ridge Oil & Gas Project/Land Conservation Agreement Fact Sheet

Santa Barbara, CA: The Environmental Defense Center (EDC), Get Oil Out! (GOO!), and Citizens PlanningAssociation of Santa Barbara (CPA) executed an historic and unprecedented agreement withPlains Exploration & Production Company (PXP). The Agreement providessupport for development by Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP) of the TranquillonRidge Oil and Gas Field offshore Lompoc, in exchange for a binding commitment by PXP to shutdown operations at four offshore platforms and associated onshore facilities. The Agreementfurther requires PXP to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect significant lands in SantaBarbara County.

Specifically, the following benefits will result from this Agreement:

  • ? The Tranquillon Ridge Project will include an “end date” which will prohibit any
  • extension of the life of existing oil and gas operations;
  • ? Gas production operations in the County, both offshore near Pt. Arguello and Pt.
  • Conception and onshore near Lompoc and Gaviota:
  • ?The three Pt. Arguello platforms and Gaviota onshore processing facility will
  • be shut down in 9 years;
  • ?Platform Irene, the Lompoc Oil and Gas Plant (LOGP), and several hundred
  • acres of onshore oil and gas production will be shut down at the end of 2022;
  • All greenhouse gas emissions from the Tranquillon Ridge Project will be mitigated or
  • ffset, resulting in carbon neutrality;
  • PXP will donate an additional $1,500,000 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the
  • County; and
  • PXP will convey approximately 3,900 acres of land to The Trust for Public Land
  • (TPL), including approximately 3,700 acres adjacent to the Burton Mesa Ecological
  • Reserve in the Lompoc Valley and up to 200 acres on the Gaviota Coast, for the
  • benefit of the public.

None of these benefits will occur without this Agreement.

The Agreement was signed on April 8, 2008. The Agreement is enforceable by theEnvironmental Parties and binding on all successors and assigns. A Memorandum of Agreementwas recorded with the Santa Barbara County Clerk Recorder on April 25, 2008. TPL executed aseparate agreement with PXP on April 7, 2008, that provides for the land conveyances.

Tranquillon Ridge Settlement Agreement – Fact Sheet

In March 2005, PXP applied to the California State Lands Commission and County of SantaBarbara for a new state lease and onshore permits to allow development of the Tranquillon Ridgefield, located in state waters offshore from Vandenberg Air Force Base. PXP plans to use anexisting platform, Platform Irene, which is currently used to produce oil and gas from theadjacent Pt. Pedernales field, in federal waters. Like the oil produced from Pt. Pedernales, oilproduced from Tranquillon Ridge would be sent to shore by pipeline and processed at theLompoc Oil and Gas Plant (LOGP).

No new construction would occur. However, the Project would require a new state lease toallow “slant drilling” from Platform Irene into the Tranquillon Ridge field. The lease would be issued in accordance with existing state law. Under an exception to the California Coastal Sanctuary Act (1994), a new lease may be issued if oil or gas from state-owned tide and submerged lands “are being drained by means of producing wells upon adjacent federal lands and the lease is in the best interests of the state.” (Pub. Res. Code ?6244.)

In this case, PXP is draining oil and gas from state tide and submerged lands from wells drilled onPlatform Irene. The parties to the Settlement Agreement believe the provisions which have beennegotiated are in the best interests of the state, because they will guarantee an end to existing oildevelopment operations and help prevent new federal leasing by shutting down criticalinfrastructure.

The Agreement/End Dates

  • The three Pt. Arguello platforms and Gaviota processing facility will be shut down in nine years from the date of project approval by the state.
  • Platform Irene and the LOGP will be shut down by December 31, 2022.
  • Several hundred acres of onshore oil and gas wells will be shut down by December 31, 2022.
  • PXP will be responsible for removing all onshore facilities and cleaning up the sites.
  • The land supporting the onshore facilities will be transferred to a conservation or governmental entity and protected in perpetuity for public conservation purposes.

Without this agreement, none of these projects would be required to shut down,and could continue indefinitely. In addition, these platforms and onshoreprocessing facilities could be used to support drilling from new federal leases in thefuture. Without these facilities, the likelihood of new leasing is drastically reduced,if not eliminated.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions

  • PXP must hire an independent auditor (approved by the Environmental Parties) to determine whether there are any feasible measures that could be implemented to
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Tranquillon Ridge project. Any measures that are identified as being feasible shall be implemented.
  • Any remaining emissions will be reported and verified (by the Santa Barbara County
  • Air Pollution Control District) on an annual basis and offset on a 1:1 basis through payments to an entity approved by the Environmental Parties.
  • In addition, PXP will donate $1,500,000 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in SantaBarbara County. This fund will be administered by the Santa Barbara County APCDand may be used to fund the purchase of hybrid buses throughout the County.

Land Conveyances

  • PXP will remediate and convey the lands supporting the onshore oil and gas wells, the LOGP, and the Gaviota processing site.
  • PXP will convey to TPL approximately 3,700 acres in the Lompoc area next to the state’s Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve. These lands will be permanently dedicated for conservation purposes.
  • In addition, PXP will convey approximately 140 acres on the Gaviota coast to TPL. These lands will also be permanently dedicated for conservation purposes.
  • PXP will also take steps to convey the 56-acre Gaviota processing site after nineyears, following abandonment of the facilities.
  • An initial conveyance of up to 1,200 acres will occur in less than two years. The remainder of the land will be conveyed following abandonment of the oil production facilities.


  • The terms of the Agreements are enforceable in court by the Environmental Partiesand TPL. If PXP violates any terms of the Agreements, the Environmental Partiesand TPL can file an enforcement action in court, seeking specific performance torequire PXP to comply. Finally, by including similar terms in its lease, the state couldalso enforce these commitments.