California’s largest oil and gas producer, Los Angeles-based California Resources Corp. (CRC), said it has emerged generally unaffected by three weeks of rampant wildfires and a state government crosswise with fossil fuels over efforts to mitigate climate change.
CEO Todd Stevens told analysts on a 3Q2019 earnings conference call that "only a handful of bills” dealing with oil and gas have been enacted, and measures that could be more troublesome for the industry failed to pass.
"The bills that did pass mainly expand the jurisdiction of oil and gas regulators and fire regulators to reevaluate the cost of indemnity bonds and tighten leasing on state lands," Stevens said.
Stevens said California’s wildfires are taken t "very seriously...We work regularly with the first responders and various government agencies...We did have some impacts from the fires and most of it was due to the Maria Fire, which was all around our operations."
In addition, some of the public safety power shutoffs affected CRC operations when the electricity was cut, but “it is not a material thing for us," he said.
Stevens was asked if he had concerns about some of Gov. Gavin Newsom's statements about fossil fuels.
"Every year there are some proposals that are irresponsibly pushed for political purposes, such as the setback proposal,” Assembly Bill 345,” he said. Many cities already enforce the setback rules, “but this is a two-year bill and will probably be an issue again next year...That's the world we live in with a hyper-politicized landscape here in California and other parts of the country.”
Meanwhile, more developments have emerged in the saga over Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s (PG&E) handling of the wildfires. A coalition of some California cities reportedly is considering whether to join the San Jose in buying out the San Francisco-based combination utility's wires and related equipment.
Also this week, PG&E agreed to extend the deadline for victims' wildfire damage claims and indicated it has set aside $8.4 billion for individual claims.
After the last of the evacuations were canceled and power restorations completed, a series of small earthquakes rocked part of the area of the Kincade Fire in Northern California near the Geysers, the world's largest geothermal energy center. The fires destroyed 175 homes and damaged 35 more.
After the fires were contained, President Trump threatened to cut off aid from the state, alleging Newsom had done a "terrible job" managing wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission has geared up for more fire-related regulatory work and plans take up ta formal investigation of the major utilities' performance during the shutoffs.