Recent Stories

  1. New fracking rules lead to confusion, layoffs

    BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer
    Friday, Mar 28 2014 12:16 PM

    Permitting delays related to California's new hydraulic fracturing law are taking a toll on Kern County oil field employment. Oil services giant Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday it is laying off or reassigning 110 workers in Bakersfield, Shafter and the Los Angeles Basin -- a modest but significant share of its California workforce, a company manager said -- because of delays its customers face in getting approval to "frack" wells under Senate Bill 4.

    Halliburton, another large national company offering fracking services locally, said it will redeploy about 70 California employees to other states but not cut its Kern County workforce. It did not directly blame the move on permitting delays, but said customers' ability to obtain permits is...

  2. Study warns of oil activity-induced earthquakes

    Environmental groups released a report Thursday intended to return public attention to earthquake risks associated with underground injection activity in oilfields near Bakersfield and other California population centers. Without pointing...

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    New bill resurrects old oil tax idea

    Almost every year a politician in Sacramento proposes a new tax on California oil production. And every time -- so far -- it goes down in defeat. State Sen. Noreen Evans believes this year is going to be different. On Wednesday, the...

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    State appoints new top regulator over local oilfields

    A geologist with experience overseeing underground injection work in Bakersfield oilfields has been appointed Kern County's top oil regulator. When he reports to work May 1, Dan Wermiel, 61, will become the third man since 2011 to lead...

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    Oxy moving ahead with California spinoff

    Occidental Petroleum Corp. would have a freer hand to develop its substantial Kern County assets under plans announced Friday to spin off the company’s California operations. The move set for completion by early next year addresses...

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    An instance of oil and water mixing

    New water treatment technologies may help local oil companies cope with the dual challenges of drought and the Central Valley groundwater's growing salinity, industry professionals said at a conference in Bakersfield Wednesday. The...

  7. Phillips 66 to build San Luis Obispo rail terminal

    LOS ANGELES -- Phillips 66, which operates refineries across California, is moving forward with a plan to build a rail terminal in San Luis Obispo County that would send trains with up to 80 tank cars of crude oil through Southern...

  8. $60,000 penalty for fracking fluid in unlined Kern County pit

    An oil company in Kern County has agreed to pay a $60,000 penalty after discharging saline water and hydraulic fracturing fluid into an unlined pit, state water authorities said Friday. The settlement with Vintage Production California LLC...

  9. Industry backs, environmentalists question draft fracking rules

    State regulators released draft rules Friday that, for the first time, would require oil companies to apply for permission to perform hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the controversial but highly effective technique increasingly...

  10. Railroads back retrofitting of older tank cars

    OMAHA, Neb. -- Proposed new safety standards for rail cars that haul flammable liquids gained support from U.S. railroads Thursday, but it's not yet clear whether the companies that own most of those cars will support the upgrades to...


    More oil means more trains over the Tehachapis; safety a concern

    Second of two parts Plans for two new terminals in Bakersfield that would transfer oil brought in by rail car to California pipelines -- one north and one south -- have cast a spotlight on two safety issues. One involves increased...

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    With oil pouring in, Bakersfield to get unique rail-to-pipeline terminals

    First of two parts A pair of rail terminals planned near Bakersfield may soon give Kern County a central role in California's shift from heavy reliance on foreign oil to greater use of domestic sources. Separate projects by Plains All...

  13. Oil industry treated legislators to $13K dinner

    SACRAMENTO -- As negotiations heated up in September over a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, oil companies poured millions into lobbying the California Legislature, quarterly reports released last week show....

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