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.
City Continues Discussions with Sentinel Peak Resources under 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 alternatives 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, currently through October 5, 2022, and are continuing to engage in a dialogue to explore alternatives to the Oil Termination Ordinance that may mutually serve the parties in an effort to avoid potential litigation.
The City anticipates receiving from Sentinel Peak Resources one or more specific proposals that may provide viable alternatives to the Oil Termination Ordinance as adopted. It is anticipated that at the appropriate time, the Subcommittee and City Staff would provide an initial evaluation and report back to the full City Council subject to applicable confidentiality requirements.
The pause created by this tolling period is consistent with recommendations made by several City Council members during the public meeting process and Sentinel Peak Resources’ requests for a reasonable window for discussions. Further, the temporary tolling period will 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 to date, the City and Sentinel Peak Resources offer the following joint statement:
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.
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 the erection of 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.