Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Beverly Hills’ Tony Zip Code Not Ready for Fracking

There will be no hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Beverly Hills 90210, or anywhere else in the famed Los Angeles suburb, after the city council on Tuesday passed a ban on the practice.

The council had previously voted to end oil drilling by 2016. There are active producing oil wells near the city's high school.

A city spokesperson told local news media that elected officials felt industrial processes, such as mining and oil/gas drilling, are incompatible with the upscale commercial and residential suburb.

City officials said the ban includes fracking and any other well stimulation processe, including acidization, and applies to wellsites outside the city limits that extract oil and gas under Beverly Hills. The new ordinance is effective June 6.

On an earnings conference call last Monday Occidental Petroleum Corp. (Oxy) CEO Stephen Chazen downplayed the impact of local bans on drilling being proposed in cities around the state. Some of newly constituted bans, such as the one in Beverly Hills, are in a relatively small production area where Oxy has no intention of using fracking, Chazen said (see Shale Daily, May 7).

In the petroleum-rich harbor area of Southern California, the City of Carson's elected leaders recently reversed their earlier action and voted to let a drilling ban expire (see Daily GPI, May 2). City council members decided not to extend the 45-day drilling ban measure, which expires later this month.

That action allows the city to resume its consideration of plans by Oxy to step up directional drilling from a 6.5-acre site in the city (see Daily GPI, March 20).

Chazen and other oil/gas industry representatives in California think that the anti-fracking sentiment is being "stirred up" by individuals and groups that oppose oil/gas activity generally. In many of the areas where concerns are raised there are no specific plans for the use of fracking, but local residents and city officials don't seem to care about that.

Fracking has been used in California for decades but has never been shown to adversely impact the state’s environment, drinking water supply or pose any risk to nearby residents, according to the Western State Petroleum Association (WSPA). In 2011, WSPA member oil companies conducted some form of fracking on a total of 628 wells.  

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