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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Triangle Residents Discover Oil at Thatcher Yard … or Maybe

Most people would be elated to find out there was an oil well in their backyard.  Not so for the Oxford Triangle residents, the Thatcher Yard project in particular.

It was brought out in the first City Planning meeting for the 98-unit Thatcher Yard project 21 October that an abandoned oil well may be on the 2.11-acre site at the end of Thatcher Ave.  Whether it is there or not, does not matter at this point.  All feel the question of its possible presence must be determined one way or the other prior to the project going thru.

No one seemed to have any complaints regarding the project other than the oil. One person asked about the timing for the Thatcher gate installation. It was brought up by the City Planner Juliet Oh that a condition could be put on the project so that the proposed road gate on Thatcher at Princeton (west of Thatcher) be installed prior to all demolition and construction traffic. Other than that there were only comments regarding the oil well.

Those present for the hearing.

Another City Planning meeting will be held 21 November at Van Nuys City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, 14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys 91401. No specific time of day is stated. City Planner Juliet Oh said the meeting begins at 8:30 am, so items are noticed as being heard “after 8:30 am.”

Diane and Carl Hoppe somehow were instigators of the possibility of this capped oil well being on the Thatcher Yard property.   Dr. Tom Williams, senior technical advisor for Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community and Patricia McPherson, environmentalist and familiar with the oil projects that have had devastating  consequences both spoke on the necessity to check this out. The City, as explained by a consultant for the Thomas Safran Association had no knowledge of the well based on their various methods for tracking wells.

The Thomas Safran Associates representatives totally agreed that this would have to be checked.

Earlier this year there was a well blowout on a construction site near Via Marina.

Dr. Tom Williams explained that a “magnetometer was required to find the metal 18-inch capped well.  The cap must be removed by a crew from health and safety.  They must drill thru the cement 600 feet deep and remove all of whatever is in there.  Then it must be re-capped with concrete.  He said the City feels it will cost $500,000 to $2 million dollars.” 

Technically, Dr. Williams explained it as such:

The “Core Hole” (also corehole) is recognized by DOGGR/DOC as Well API# 0403705612 drilled to 6000+ft depth and with a steel casing of 18+in diam and 905ft depth.

May we please call it an “oil well”.

The Casing was set in place with 300 sacks of cement and backfilled with drilling mud to near surface.  The casing was capped by a steel plate.

With almost 100 years, the mud should be assumed to have settled and without any cementing. As such it would NOT conform with current DOGGR plugging and abandonment requirements.

Without mention of any communications with DOC/DOGGR, the reports to date must be considered as preliminary and require DOGGR review and considerations.

Although, currently, the project appears to be moving forward the absence of DOGGR review and recommendations appear critical to the timing and funding of the Project.

Check out the DOGGR requirements:
California Department of Conservation    Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources   APRIL 2019 Article 4.  Regulation of Operations

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