Kern Gusher Blog

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    Dropping oil prices: Good for consumers, potentially crippling for Kern

    BY JOHN COX The Bakersfield Californian
    Saturday, Oct 18 2014 04:00 PM

    The plummeting oil prices bringing relief at fuel pumps around the country could soon have the opposite effect on Kern County's economy.

    Thousands of local jobs and millions of dollars in property tax revenues may be on the line if oil continues the free fall that has cut barrel prices by about a quarter since June.

    Local oil executives say producers already spooked by recent regulatory proceedings are now facing tough decisions about whether to go forward with expensive projects such as new drilling.

    While layoffs have been limited so far, industry veterans warn of major workforce reductions if prices fall below producers' break-even points, which vary but in some cases may be within about 20 percent of Friday's close.

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    Industry not thrilled with new fracking rules, and neither are environmentalists

    State regulators have released a third version of proposed rules for fracking and other oil well stimulation work, tweaking things like what size earthquakes must be reported and how much time neighbors have to request groundwater testing....

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    Environmentalists sue over county review of refinery's oil-by-train project

    After initially failing to block a major expansion of an oil-by-rail terminal along Rosedale Highway, environmental activists filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging Kern County officials approved the project last month without fully considering...

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    Oxy settles charges it illegally dumped waste

    Two local oil producers owned by Occidental Petroleum Corp. have agreed to pay $476,784 to settle charges they improperly disposed of 57,000 gallons of fluid waste into unlined pits in the Central Valley between early 2012 and Nov. 15 of...

  5. Well tests find no contamination from waste injections

    Initial groundwater testing ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found no evidence Kern County water wells were contaminated by nearby oil field waste injection activity. Half the samples taken from eight water supply...

  6. Sierra Club questions coal plant's mention in PG&E emails to regulator

    Environmentalists against a proposed clean coal plant in Kern County are raising concerns about the project's mention in newly disclosed emails showing possibly inappropriate communication between Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and its...

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    Oil producers wonder what effect refinery project will have on barrel prices

    California's oil industry is raising questions about what effect Alon USA Energy Inc.'s oil-by-rail project on Rosedale Highway will have on local crude prices. An electronic newsletter issued Monday by the California Independent...

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    Farmer lawsuit blames crop loss on oil companies' waste injections

    A local farming company has sued four Kern County oil producers, claiming their waste disposal injections contaminated groundwater it uses for irrigation. The lawsuit filed Monday in Kern County Superior Court says plaintiff Palla Farms...

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    Oil companies square off over sinkhole death

    Neighboring oil producers in Kern County's prolific Midway-Sunset Oil Field are waging a court battle over whose steam injections may have created the sinkhole that swallowed a 54-year-old grandfather on the first day of summer 2011. His...

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    Oxy spinoff delays proposed energy plant

    A $4 billion, 200-employee energy and chemical plant proposed in western Kern County has been placed on hold because of Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s spinoff of its California operations. The 453-acre Hydrogen Energy California plant planned...

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    County says refinery changes would bring more benefits than risks

    Kern County staff have determined economic benefits outweigh the potential harm to air quality, groundwater and natural habitat if Alon USA Energy Inc. moves forward with controversial changes to its refinery on Rosedale Highway. The...

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    Fracking study may allow feds to resume lucrative oil leases in Kern

    The U.S. Bureau of Land Management took a big step toward resuming auctions of federal property in California for oil and gas production with its release Thursday of an independent scientific review of well stimulation activities in the...

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    State shuts two more oil field disposal wells in Kern

    California regulators have shut in two more Kern County oil field disposal wells, bringing the total to 11 facilities idled since the start of July. State Oil and Gas Supervisor Steven R. Bohlen issued emergency orders Aug. 18 closing the...

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