Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SoCal Floating Petroleum Terminal Wins 30-Year Lease Extension

The California State Lands Commission on Friday approved a 30-year lease extension for a Southern California offshore petroleum terminal to oil giant Chevron, despite opposition by environmentalists and members of the public citing the recent BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The State Lands panel voted 2-1 to approve the $1.3 million per year lease for 221 acres of tidelands at the El Segundo Marine Terminal, which allows tankers to moor 1.5 miles west of the Los Angeles coastline at two locations and discharge petroleum products to an onshore refinery via underwater pipelines. The lease also calls for annual adjustments to the base lease amount based on the Consumer Price Index.

The offshore facility, one of the few of its type remaining in California, is used for handling imported petroleum, gasoline and other finished fuels to the Los Angeles area.

Supporters of the lease extension cited the crucial importance of the facility in providing Los Angeles regional fuel needs and the overall importance of Chevron to the local economy.

Opponents of the lease raised concerns about potential oil spills at the facility similar to the BP spill, which supporters of the facility dismissed by citing a nearly exemplary safety record for many years with only one sizable spill of 21,000 gallons since 1980, when the facility's last major spill released 105,000 gallons of oil.
Opponents also called for a much shorter 10-year lease extension and wanted to see some of the facility's cargo handled at the nearby Port of Los Angeles, though Chevron said this was not possible due to the lack of connecting pipelines from the port to the on-shore El Segundo refinery. The Chevron refinery processes about 275,000 barrels of oil per day.