Apr 24, 2013 8:54 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Company plans for new oil drilling in Orcutt area

On Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission discussed a plan that would take advantage of a 100 year old oil field in Orcutt.

The project is headed up by Santa Maria Energy, which wants to breathe new life into the field by operating 136 oil wells there.

"It's very important from an energy standpoint, producing our own local energy rather than importing," said Bob Poole of Santa Maria Energy.

He says California imports well over a million barrels of oil every day, even though, he says, the oil we need is right below our feet.

"It's estimated here in the Santa Maria Valley there's over a billion, and that's billion with a B, recoverable barrels of oil here in the Santa Maria Valley," said Poole.

The company wants to extract that oil from a site located east of Highway 135 between Orcutt and Los Alamos.

As for how they plan on getting the oil out of the ground, they say there will be no fracking in this project.

"It's called cyclic steaming. We actually inject steam into the ground, into the diatomaceous earth, thousand feet down, we let it sit there because it's hot. It makes the oil like syrup on a warm day. It makes it run."

As the steam fills the rock it pushes the oil out and into the wells.

The company says the project has economic impacts as well.

"Our project is going to create 50, approximately, permanent jobs operating this project," said Poole.

He says it will also bring in nearly 100 temporary jobs as well.

Poole adds the project will generate about $3 million a year in property tax and that money will go directly into the local community.

The Planning Commission did not make a decision about the project on Wednesday.

It will meet again on May 1st.



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