California News Pulse September 2020

Posted: October 14, 2020

California | September 2020

Field Overview

California, with both onshore and offshore oil production, has been supplying the U.S. with petroleum products since the 19th century. Operations are primarily focused around Kern County, the LA Basin, and the San Joaquin Valley, with the Midway-Sunset oil field in Kern County being the state’s largest.

State Drilling Statistics (End of September)
Total Rigs in California- 4
Total Rigs in United States- 261
Total U.S. Rigs down 70% YTD

State Highlights

Newsom Supports Industry

Although much of the anger related to the forest fires ravaging western parts of the US is directed towards Trump, Californians are becoming increasingly suspicious of Governor Gavin Newsom’s climate policies. Although Newsom is rather vocal on his support of climate science, Californians are wondering why he continues to approve new drilling permits. “He’s getting caught in this debate about whether climate change is real, which is odd to us,” Alexandra Nagy, the California director at Food & Water Watch, told Power Up. “We know it’s real — we need to address the root cause and he’s avoiding that.” Although Newsom promised to ban hydraulic fracturing, that has yet to be done. The state has issued 190% more drilling permits in the first half of 2020 than in the first six months Newsom was in office. That is a total of 2,691 permits. This came just prior to his announcement of the goal to ban the sale of non-EV vehicles by 2035.

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Wildfires and Weed

In late September, fires continued to rage and spread across California. At first, Pacific Gas and Electric warned that approximately 21,000 customers in 3 counties would lose power. After a forecast for windy and warm weather was released, that estimate quickly jumped to 91,000 people in 16 counties. Still, this is a comparatively much more targeted approach than the general blackouts they issued that denied access to 2 million customers. PG&E was responsible for the 2018 fire that destroyed plenty of the Sierra foothills and killed 85 people. No matter how PG&E executes it’s balancing act of power denial, it doesn’t change the fact that the fires quickly approached the Emerald Triangle. The Emerald Triangle is a 3 country corner of Northern California that some estimate is the largest cannabis-producing region. People who were advised to evacuate stayed as their entire livelihoods were on the line. Each of the 40 legal farms in the are has half a million dollars worth of crops that are within days of harvesting, with hundreds of other illegal growing areas toting smaller, yet significant numbers as well. The largest crop is estimated to be worth $20 million. Either way, the firefighters made it clear that they would not die trying to rescue the people who chose to stay.

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