Inglewood Oil Field
On this page the City will post the latest information, schedules, meetings, public notices, documents, related links and other information concerning the Inglewood Oil Field (IOF).
Check back periodically for updated information.
LA County Public Review Period and Notice of Public Hearing to Discuss Amendment to the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District - August 16, 2023 at 9 AM
The Los Angeles County (LA County) portion of the Inglewood Oil Field (IOF), which lies adjacent and easterly of the City of Culver City, is regulated by the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District (BHCSD). The LA County Regional Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing to consider amendments to the BHCSD. LA County is proposing to amend Title 22 of the LA County Code to prohibit new oil wells and allow existing oil wells to continue operating under a nonconforming status in the BHCSD. LA County will conduct a public hearing at which a presentation and overview of the proposed BHCD Amendment will be given and any interested person or authorized agent may appear and comment on the project. Should you attend, you will have an opportunity to testify, or you can submit written comments to the LA County planner indicated below.
Date: Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Time: 9 AM
Place: Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission
320 West Temple St., Rm. 150, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Virtual (Online) Option: Join the 8/16 Meeting Online via Microsoft Teams; Webinar ID: 858 6032 6429 Or call by phone: (669) 900-6833 or (346) 248-7799.
PUBLIC REVIEW PERIOD: The public review period started July 13, 2023 and will end on August 15, 2023. Please submit written comments by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org; or by mail to Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, Attn: Edgar De La Torre, 320 W. Temple Street, 13th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012
BHCSD AMENDMENT PROJECT INFORMATION: Review the project materials, Los Angeles County - File #: 23-521.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: For more information, please contact Edgar De La Torre, Senior Planner, Zoning Enforcement Special Projects, by email at email@example.com or by phone at (213) 974-6411; or visit LA County Department of Regional Planning website at planning.lacounty.gov.
Status of Settlement Discussions with Sentinel Peak Resources Relating to Oil Termination Ordinance
The City and Sentinel Peak Resources (“Sentinel”) have made substantial progress toward a final settlement agreement in response to the City’s Oil Termination Ordinance (“Ordinance”) which calls for the phase out of oil operations within the Culver City portion of the Inglewood Oil Field (“City IOF”).
The Ordinance, which was adopted by the City Council on October 25, 2021, prohibits the drilling of any new wells, the redrilling of any existing wells, requires the plugging and abandonment of all oil and gas wells and termination of oil and gas operations within the City. The settlement addresses the Ordinance as applied to Sentinel.
In late November 2021, the City entered into a 90-day tolling agreement with Sentinel, which was periodically extended, to allow time to explore and discuss options relating to the Ordinance that could mutually serve the parties in an effort to avoid potential litigation. Throughout, Sentinel has complied with the prohibition of no new drilling or redrilling of wells.
On November 14, 2022, the City Council approved a settlement framework that focused on the timing of the plugging and abandonment of wells and a date-certain schedule for the overall closure of the City IOF (see below). The Council also authorized further discussion and negotiation of the implementation and enforcement of the Ordinance as applied to Sentinel.
In recognition of current progress and pending settlement between the parties, the existing Tolling Agreement has been extended through Octobre 10, 2023 to allow additional time for the parties to complete documentation of the settlement.
About the Pending Settlement
The settlement includes the following provisions affecting the timing, process and requirements related to the plug and abandonment of wells and overall closure of the City IOF:
- Drilling of new wells and redrilling of existing wells is prohibited, effective from and after the effective date of the Ordinance, November 24, 2021.
- Sentinel to plug and abandon a minimum of 15 wells by December 31, 2027, at a rate of a minimum of three wells per calendar year over the five-year period between 2023-2027.
- Sentinel to plug and abandon all remaining wells and complete the overall closure of the City IOF by December 31, 2029.
- Extension, not to extend beyond December 31, 2032, may be authorized under special circumstances after December 31, 2027.
- Sentinel to report and verify well plugging and overall closure to the City in accordance with six performance schedule dates established as December 31st of 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2029.
- Termination to include restoration of the well sites and remediation, restoration and revegetation of the areas of the oil uses premises affected by the plugging and removal activities to as near a natural state as practicable.
- Sentinel to maintain performance bonds through completion of Termination in amounts consistent with the estimated true costs for all work required to be performed to complete Termination.
- Sentinel to maintain insurance coverage, including sufficient coverage for sudden accident and pollution liability.
- Remedies to guarantee timely and complete performance include performance bonds, specific performance and liquidated damages.
- Annual Well Renewal and Annual (Fire) Inspection fees in accordance with Chapter 11.12 and City’s adopted Fee Schedule.
For more information, see the City’s November 15, 2022 update: City Council Approves Settlement Framework with Sentinel Peak Resources Relating to Oil Termination Ordinance (below).
If you have any questions or comments, please email Heather Baker, City Attorney or Christina Burrows, Deputy City Attorney, or call them at (310) 253-5660; or email Melanie Doran Traxler, Contract Project Manager or call her at (818) 248-7158.
City Council Approves Settlement Framework with Sentinel Peak Resources Relating to Oil Termination Ordinance
On November 14, 2022, the City Council approved a settlement framework related to the Oil Termination Ordinance ("Ordinance") and authorized continued discussions with Sentinel Peak Resources (“Sentinel”) toward completion of a tentative settlement agreement to address the Culver City portion of the Inglewood Oil Field (“City IOF”). To facilitate that process, the City Council also authorized the City Attorney to review/prepare the necessary documents and authorized the City Manager to execute such documents on behalf of the City. The parties have been working diligently toward completion of a settlement agreement and, as such, the existing Tolling Agreement with Sentinel has been extended for an additional period of time, currently through October 10, 2023. (For more information see Oil Termination Ordinance and Tolling Agreement discussion below on this page.)
The approved settlement framework includes the following:
- Drilling of new wells or re-drilling or deepening of existing wells is prohibited, effective from and after the effective date of the Ordinance, November 24, 2021. Consistent with the Ordinance, no new or expanded oil and gas activity, such as the drilling of new wells, redrilling or deepening of existing wells, or erecting or installing any derrick, structure, facilities or equipment related to oil and gas production, except those existing oil and gas activities as expressly described in Section D.4 of the Ordinance or as required to facilitate termination of the nonconforming oil uses, is allowed.
- Initial plug and abandonment of a minimum of 15 wells by December 31, 2027, at a rate of a minimum of three wells per year over the five-year period between 2023-2027. Sentinel will plug and abandon a minimum of three wells per year between 2023 and 2027, for a minimum of 15 wells to be closed by December 31, 2027.
- Plug and abandonment of all remaining wells and the closure of the City IOF by December 31, 2029. Following the closure of a minimum of 15 wells during the first five years, Sentinel will plug and abandon any and all remaining wells within the City IOF over the next two-year period, resulting in the complete closure of the City IOF by no later than December 31, 2029.
- Extension may be authorized under special circumstances. The City may extend the December 31, 2029 deadline, only in cases of specific special circumstances, accepted by the City and determined to be beyond Sentinel’s control, that are unforeseen and unavoidable, and directly impact the plugging and abandonment of the remaining wells or complete restoration of the City IOF, but in no event shall an extension be approved beyond December 31, 2032. Any such extension shall only be authorized after Sentinel’s timely closure of a minimum of 15 wells by December 31, 2027.
In addition, the following issues will be carefully reviewed and incorporated into the framework of a potential settlement agreement:
- Provisions addressing the general support for the transition of the overall Inglewood Oil Field to other uses.
- Provisions relating to restoration of well sites and the City IOF.
- Provisions for insurance and bonding requirements for the duration of the City IOF closure.
- Provisions for reimbursement of City costs to implement the City IOF closure.
- Provisions for a schedule and periodic reporting on progress and schedule.
For more information regarding this matter:
Oil Termination Ordinance and Tolling Agreement**
On October 25, 2021, the City Council adopted The Oil Termination Ordinance, which effective as of November 24, 2021, prohibits the drilling of any new or redrilling of any existing oil wells and further requires the phasing out, plugging and restoration of all existing oil and gas wells by no later than November 24, 2026. The Oil Termination Ordinance applies city-wide, including within the Culver City portion of the Inglewood Oil Field (the “City IOF”).
Public comments received during the period leading up to adoption of the Oil Termination Ordinance from the City IOF Operator, Sentinel Peak Resources, asked the City Council to pause any immediate action affecting the City IOF to enable City decision-makers and Sentinel Peak Resources to engage in a dialogue to explore alternatives to the proposed Ordinance that might mutually serve all parties and avoid potential litigation.
While such a dialogue between the Mayor and Sentinel Peak Resources was initiated in June 2021, no immediately feasible options emerged during those early discussions. In part, this was because Sentinel Peak Resources did not present a well-formulated proposal. As a result, it was not evident to the City how further delay of action on the Ordinance would facilitate productive discussion of potential alternatives.
Thereafter, by a 3-1 vote, with one abstention, the City Council adopted the Ordinance on October 25th. Nonetheless, at the time of its adoption, the City Council announced that City decision-makers remained open and available to meet with Sentinel Peak Resources to continue to explore options and seek resolution outside the framework of potential litigation. Subsequent to adoption of the Ordinance, Sentinel Peak Resources indicated a desire to re-initiate discussions and submit a proposal for the City’s consideration.
In late November 2021, Culver City entered into 90-day tolling agreements with Sentinel Peak Resources as well as two groups of stakeholders asserting ownership interests within the City IOF. The tolling agreements extend the deadline for these parties to file legal claims against the City so as to facilitate a reasonable time period to accommodate discussions between the parties as to settlement of potential claims. The City and Sentinel Peak Resources have extended the term of the existing Tolling Agreement for additional periods of time and are continuing to engage in a dialogue to explore options relating to the Oil Termination Ordinance that may mutually serve the parties in an effort to avoid potential litigation.
The City received from Sentinel Peak Resources one or more specific proposals for viable options related to the Oil Termination Ordinance as adopted. The Subcommittee and City Staff provided a report back to the full City Council subject to applicable confidentiality requirements. (See What's New above.)
The pause created by this tolling period is consistent with recommendations made by several City Council members during the public meeting process for the Ordinance and Sentinel Peak Resources’ requests for a reasonable window for discussions. Further, the temporary tolling period does not preclude the City from enforcing the prohibition on the drilling of new wells or the redrilling or deepening of existing wells, as set forth in Section 17.610.010.D of the Oil Termination Ordinance.
In recognition of progress made, the City and Sentinel Peak Resources provided the following joint statement during this process:
After the City's adoption of the Oil Termination Ordinance, the City and Sentinel entered into a Tolling Agreement and a Confidentiality Agreement to engage in a dialogue to explore options with respect to the Oil Termination Ordinance that are mutually agreeable in an effort to avoid litigation. The initial discussions were productive and thus, the parties extended the Tolling Agreement and revised the Confidentiality Agreement to enable the City to provide appropriate updates to the public regarding the progress of their efforts to reach mutual grounds. The parties are mindful of the time frames in the Oil Termination Ordinance, and additional updates will be provided to the public as the discussions continue.
**Some of the information regarding the Oil Termination Ordinance and Tolling Agreement may be superseded by newer events discussed under more current What's New items, above.
City Council Adopts Ordinance to Terminate and Phase-Out Nonconforming Oil and Gas Uses within Culver City, including the Culver City Portion of the Inglewood Oil Field, over a Five-Year Period Ending by November 24, 2026
On October 25, 2021, the City Council, by a vote of 3 - 1, with one abstention, and pursuant to its authority under Culver City Municipal Code (CCMC) Section 3.03.035, adopted the Oil Termination Ordinance approving Zoning Code Amendment P2021-0036-ZCA to: (1) prohibit, effective November 24, 2021, any new or expanded oil and gas activity (such as the drilling of new wells, the redrilling or deepening of existing wells, or erecting any derrick, structure or equipment related to oil or gas production), except as required to facilitate termination of the nonconforming oil uses and existing oil and gas activities and operations allowed to continue until termination; and (2) terminate all nonconforming oil uses within the City over a five-year period ending November 24, 2026.
This action followed a succession of study, reports and public meetings initiated on June 20, 2018, and spanning more than three years, to evaluate and prepare an amortization program intended to resolve incompatible oil and gas uses within the City limit and phases them out over a specified period of time.
More specifically, the draft Ordinance was initially introduced by the City Council on June 17, 2021 and subsequently reintroduced with minor modifications on October 18, 2021. The City Council took final action to adopt the Oil Termination Ordinance on October 25, 2021.
The Oil Termination Ordinance was determined to be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) as to all applicable categorical and statutory exemptions, including, but not limited to, the common sense exemption under CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3) and the following categorical exemption classes under CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(2): Class 1 – Existing Facilities (CEQA Guidelines Section 15301); Class 4 – Minor Alterations to Land (CEQA Guidelines Section 15304); and Class 8 – Actions by Regulatory Agencies for the Protection of the Environment (CEQA Guidelines Section 15308). This determination was based, in part, on the following:
In accordance with the City's Council's determination, the City has duly filed, on October 29, 2021, a Notice of Exemption (NOE)(PDF, 1MB) with the Los Angeles County Clerk.
For more information about the October 25th City Council action, and a chronology of key steps prior to such action, please view the following:
- October 25, 2021 Staff Report
- Ordinance No. 2021-016, adopted on October 25, 2021(PDF, 4MB)
- October 25, 2021 Meeting Webcast
- October 25, 2021 Written Public Comments(PDF, 2MB)
- October 18, 2021 Staff Report
- October 18, 2021 Meeting Webcast
- October 18, 2021 Written Public Comments(PDF, 31MB)
- June 17, 2021 Staff Report
- June 17, 2021 Meeting Webcast
- June 17, 2021 Written Public Comments(PDF, 31MB)
- October 26, 2020 Staff Report(PDF, 303KB)
- October 26, 2020 Resolution(PDF, 1MB)
- October 26, 2020 Meeting Webcast
- October 26, 2020 Written Public Comments(PDF, 5MB)
- August 13, 2020 Staff Report
- August 13, 2020 Meeting Webcast
- August 13, 2020 Written Public Comments(PDF, 13MB)
- June 4, 2020 Meeting Webcast
- June 4, 2020 Written Public Comments(PDF, 6MB)
- Capital Investment Amortization Study for the Culver City Portion of the Inglewood Oil Field(PDF, 5MB)
- Baker & O'Brien's meeting presentation of the Study(PDF, 1MB)
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please email Heather Baker, Acting City Attorney or call her at (310) 253-5660; or email Melanie Doran Traxler, Contract Project Manager or call her at (818) 248-7158.
City Council Adopts Resolution Declaring Intent to Evaluate Five-Year Phase-Out Period for Inglewood Oil Field
At its meeting of October 26, 2020, the City Council adopted a Resolution declaring its intent to evaluate the establishment of an approximate five-year phase-out period for the amortization of nonconforming oil and gas uses within the City. Such action follows the City Council's prior direction at its August 13, 2020 meeting to move forward with further study of the City IOF and authorization to the City Council Oil Drilling Subcommittee (then Vice-Mayor Fisch and former Council Member Sahli-Wells) to work directly with staff as it prepares a proposed Amortization Program that resolves the incompatible oil and gas uses and considers options to phase-out the non-conforming oil and gas activities within the City IOF.
Based on a preliminary evaluation, the Subcommittee and staff recommended that an approximate five-year amortization period, commencing on the effective date of the Amortization Program and ending five years thereafter, would offer a reasonable time period for the IOF Operator to wind down production activities, schedule appropriate resources for the plug and abandonment of nonconforming oil wells and removal of nonconforming production-related equipment, and secure requisite bonding prior to initiating any decommissioning work. A five-year phase-out period also appears to provide for an adequate time period to facilitate a “just transition” (i.e., training of workers and initiation of clean-energy programs), completion of environmental assessment and remediation studies and opportunity to outreach with oil field stakeholders (e.g. land owners and mineral rights holders).
It is anticipated that an approximate five-year phase-out period would allow for a reasonable timeframe during which the logistics necessary to decommission the City IOF (as noted above) in a safe and secure manner can be coordinated and balanced with the urgent concerns and objectives previously outlined through public Subcommittee and City Council meetings, which include:
- Desire to eliminate long-standing nonconforming oil and gas uses;
- Improve land use consistency and compatibility issues between those activities conducted in the City IOF area and other surrounding community uses;
- Eliminate growing concern and lack of continuity resulting from a continuous change of oil field operators, as experienced in recent history, that may have limited interest to invest in maximizing compliance and compatibility with Culver City standards and objectives;
- Desire to replace obsolete industrialized oil-production uses with modern urban uses that are determined by the City to be compatible and more directly beneficial with the current urban context and evolving character of the adjacent community;
- Acknowledge and affirm the role of the City’s comprehensive General Plan Update, which is currently underway, and seek to accommodate a shift in policy through reevaluation of long-range objectives for the oil field area;
- Enhance public health, welfare and safety, and protection of the environment by eliminating and safely removing aged and outdated infrastructure that is vulnerable to failure and poses a threat to public safety and damage to the environment;
- Prioritize the public health, safety and welfare of the community and develop a strategy for end-of-life considerations for the City IOF;
- Embrace State-wide trends that include plans to transition to clean, renewable energy by 2045 and to reduce reliance on fossil-fuels and vehicles that utilize fossil-fuels by 2035; and
- Minimize inordinate use of City staff and financial resources spent toward enforcement of regulations applicable to the City IOF, which may be unproductive.
Capital Investment Amortization Study for the Culver City Portion of the Inglewood Oil Field and Oil Drilling Subcommittee's Recommendation to City Council
On June 4, 2020, the City Council Oil Drilling Subcommittee (Vice-Mayor Fisch and Council Member Sahli-Wells) met to discuss and consider public input on the following items:
Amortization Study for the Culver City Portion of the Inglewood Oil Field. City's consultant, Baker & O'Brien, prepared a Capital Investment Amortization Study for the Culver City portion of the Inglewood Oil Field(PDF, 5MB), which was presented to the Subcommittee and the public. Baker & O'Brien's meeting presentation.(PDF, 1MB)
Potential Amortization Program. The Subcommittee considered how the financial analysis, findings and conclusions presented in the Amortization Study could be used to inform future decisions related to the Culver City portion of the Inglewood Oil Field, including options for a potential amortization program of oil and gas operations within the City, and made the following recommendations to the City Council:
- Recommend the City Council receive and consider the information contained in the Capital Investment Amortization Study.
- Recommend the City Council direct staff to study other factors relating to amortization and to develop and return to City Council with a framework that: (1) resolves the incompatibility of this non-conforming use, such as through an amortization program; and (2) identifies an appropriate period to phase out oil and gas activity.
- Recommend the City Council authorize the Oil Drilling Subcommittee to work directly with staff to develop details of this framework and potential amortization program.