Oil Well Consulting & Investigation – Torrance, CA

Oil Well Consulting & Investigation - Torrance, CA

Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering was retained for our expertise in locating oil wells by a well-known Southern California developer.   Upon investigation on the CalGEM well finder site a single oil well was shown as being within the property boundaries.

Terra-Petra has experienced a consistent inaccuracy with CalGEM’s online mapping system. Considering this, we typically use this website for general information and rely on our tried-and-true methods for physically locating the wells. Part of our process utilizes geophysical locating equipment in an attempt to identify any metallic anomalies having an oil well signature.

For this project, we were able to identify a fully imaged anomaly typical of a steel cased oil well. After mobilizing our excavation equipment, we were able to uncover the anomaly and verify that it was a steel cased well having a 17” diameter steel casing. The well number was found welded on the cover confirming our discovery. Our survey crew was brought out to identify the well’s location based on NAD 83 latitudes and longitudes to an accuracy of 6 decimal places per CalGEM’s requirements.

We are still in the process of verifying the exact location of the well relative to the online mapping systems. At this time, we can say that the actual location varies from what is shown online. The degree to which it varies will be verified soon. 

Learn more about Terra-Petra’s Oil Well Services

Project Gallery

Click on any image below to zoom in and view the process of locating this oil well

Rampart Mint Welcomes 22 Formerly Homeless People

Rampart Mint Welcomes 22 Formerly Homeless People

Great article from beverlypress.com below about a this project in the Rampart Village area of Los Angeles.  Terra-Petra is very proud to have been a part of this project.  We designed and inspected the methane mitigation system during development, working with both the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and KFA.

West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation is proud to announce the opening of Rampart Mint, an all-new, affordable apartment community for formerly homeless individuals. Located in the Rampart Village area of Los Angeles, Rampart Mint includes 22 permanent supportive housing units and one unit for an on-site resident manager.

Co-developed with Affordable Living for the Aging, Rampart Mint is built on city-owned land. ALA will provide the on-site building management and has decades of experience working with special needs populations.

“When residents begin to move in, it makes the project real for us,” said Matt Mason, WHCHC’s director of real estate development. “We’re all very proud to be able to create quality affordable apartments for L.A.’s most vulnerable community members.”

The KFA-designed building includes a spacious community room with kitchenette, a computer area, a rooftop garden with amazing views of the city, a building manager’s office and social services office.

“This has been a labor of love,” WHCHC Assistant Project Manager Rachel Peled said. “These last few days putting the final pieces in place, knowing their life-changing value, was electric.”

Rampart Mint was built by Dreyfuss Construction. Pioneering universal design principles have been incorporated so every unit accommodates those with and without physical limitations. Residents can truly age in place without fear of displacement.

“I am so pleased to see the Rampart Mint project come to life,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, who represents parts of the Westlake neighborhood on the Los Angeles City Council. “My office has actively supported this project from the beginning, and I welcome 22 apartments for chronically homeless individuals with special needs in the district I represent. I look forward to continuing our work with WHCHC to create more quality affordable housing, including supportive housing, for our most vulnerable.”

Oil Well Leak Test – Los Angeles

Oil Well Leak Test Services - Los Angeles, CA

Terra-Petra is undertaking, on behalf of a Los Angeles developer, the task to locate, uncover and leak test a single oil well in Los Angeles, CA.  The proposed site will consist of a two-story, raised foundation, single family dwelling. The California Department of Conservation, Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) requested this work to be performed as necessary oil well due diligence.

The tasks performed may encompass a geophysical survey, a well head excavation, a well head survey, and a well head leak test and summary report. All work will be completed in compliance with the California Public Resources Code (PRC) Article 4: Regulation of Operations: Code Sections 3200-3258.

Terra-Petra Oil Field Services

Terra-Petra’s oil field services offer our clients a one-stop shop for all their oil field needs.  Our team will manage your project from start to finish, encompassing everything from initial consultation to the final report and submission of NFA (No Further Action) letter.

With the seemingly endless moving parts involved in successful oil field construction site plan reviewoil well abandonment / re-abandonmentvent cone installationconsulting and more, it’s important to have an expert by your side every step of the way to manage the process and make sure your budget and schedule stay on track.  With Terra-Petra’s hands-on expertise in ALL aspects of oil field management and consulting we stand out amongst other firms in the industry.

Vapor Intrusion Mitigation System Implementation And Inspection In Palo Alto, CA

Terra-Petra has overseen the implementation of the vapor intrusion mitigation system design (a combination passive venting and sub-slab membrane system) for the Porter Drive Redevelopment in Palo Alto, CA and is now wrapping up inspections of the installation of the system.

The development consists of the following: A new one level below grade structure having two stories above grade with an approximate 11,080 SF footprint.

We followed our standard inspection process which included the following:

  • Document review prior to site visit
  • Jobsite kickoff meeting
  • Pre-installation field inspection
  • Substrate preparation field inspection
  • Application observation field inspection
  • Testing field inspection
  • Final approval

More about Terra-Petra’s vapor intrusion mitigation system design services:

Vapor Intrusion refers to the migration of Soil Gas Vapors emanating from the earth into an occupied space or structure. The particular vapors of concern are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, methane, hydrogen sulfide and semi volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) to name a few. Terra-Petra can prevent these vapors from intruding into your structure.

Some governing agencies will require any new structure built on a contaminated site to protect the occupants from potential soil vapor intrusion with a Subslab Building Protection System, while some developers elect to do so voluntarily because of a potential human health risk down the road. Regardless of the reason, Terra-Petra can design a system for you. We routinely design these passive and active Building Protection Systems across numerous cities and counties governed by many different agencies.

A typical Building Protection Systems consists of an impermeable soil vapor membrane and a pressure relief system. Where deemed appropriate, Terra-Petra can design mechanical vapor extraction systems, electronic gas detection and alarm systems; employing the latest technologies.

Vapor Intrusion Inspection At San Fransisco Affordable Housing Development

Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering is providing inspection services for the installation of the vapor intrusion mitigation system (VIMS) design for the project located at 4840 Mission Street in San Francisco, CA.

The site will be redeveloped into a mixed use space which will include 137 units of affordable housing, a 10,000 SF space for a nonprofit health clinic, and 5,000 SF of retail space.

The footprint of the redevelopment overlays a parking garage of 40 cars and bicycles, with four at-grade residential apartments, lobby, mechanical, electrical, trash, and maintenance rooms occupying the first story. The building footprint is approximately 44,000 SF.


More about Terra-Petra’s vapor intrusion mitigation system design services:

Vapor Intrusion refers to the migration of Soil Gas Vapors emanating from the earth into an occupied space or structure. The particular vapors of concern are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, methane, hydrogen sulfide and semi volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) to name a few. Terra-Petra can prevent these vapors from intruding into your structure.

Some governing agencies will require any new structure built on a contaminated site to protect the occupants from potential soil vapor intrusion with a Subslab Building Protection System, while some developers elect to do so voluntarily because of a potential human health risk down the road. Regardless of the reason, Terra-Petra can design a system for you. We routinely design these passive and active Building Protection Systems across numerous cities and counties governed by many different agencies.

A typical Building Protection Systems consists of an impermeable soil vapor membrane and a pressure relief system. Where deemed appropriate, Terra-Petra can design mechanical vapor extraction systems, electronic gas detection and alarm systems; employing the latest technologies.

Vapor Intrusion Mitigation System – San Francisco, CA

Terra-Petra has completed the vapor intrusion mitigation system design for a new development in San Francisco and is now performing inspections during the installation of the system. The development is comprised of an 18 Story High-Rise, with 1 Level below grade, a basement slab, and with a building footprint of 20,080 SF.

Our standard inspection process for a project like this includes:

  • Document review prior to site visit
  • Jobsite kickoff meeting,
  • Pre-installation field inspection
  • Substrate preparation field inspection
  • Application observation field inspection
  • Testing field inspection
  • Final approval

More about Terra-Petra’s vapor intrusion mitigation system design services:

Vapor Intrusion refers to the migration of Soil Gas Vapors emanating from the earth into an occupied space or structure. The particular vapors of concern are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, methane, hydrogen sulfide and semi volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) to name a few. Terra-Petra can prevent these vapors from intruding into your structure.

Some governing agencies will require any new structure built on a contaminated site to protect the occupants from potential soil vapor intrusion with a Subslab Building Protection System, while some developers elect to do so voluntarily because of a potential human health risk down the road. Regardless of the reason, Terra-Petra can design a system for you. We routinely design these passive and active Building Protection Systems across numerous cities and counties governed by many different agencies.

A typical Building Protection Systems consists of an impermeable soil vapor membrane and a pressure relief system. Where deemed appropriate, Terra-Petra can design mechanical vapor extraction systems, electronic gas detection and alarm systems; employing the latest technologies.

Ivy Station Wins Gold In LA Business Journal 2022 Commercial Real Estate Awards

Ivy Station in Culver City won the gold medal in the LA Business Journal 2022 Commercial Real Estate Awards this month.  Terra-Petra worked on this project a couple years ago when it was in development performing all of the below grade environmental inspections.  It’s wonderful to see a project like this come to fruition and watch it win this award a few years later.

From The LA Business Journal March 7, 2022:

Located adjacent to the Culver City Metro E Line station, the 500,000 square foot, mixed-use Ivy Station provides a welcoming and active gateway to Culver City for residents, metro riders and visitors to the burgeoning area. Ivy Station links two rapidly evolving, but previously distinct and separate areas of Culver City – the lively historic downtown with its studios, restaurants and nightlife, and the Culver City Arts District with its growing roster of creative and media companies like WarnerMedia (based at Ivy Station), Apple, Sony and Amazon. Ivy Station’s large landscaped outdoor area is programmed with a host of activities such as games, fitness, movie nights, art shows, gift fairs and concerts to appeal to Ivy Station residents and businesses, commuters, and neighbors. With porous multiple points of access, the property encourages the community, Metro riders, Ivy Station residents and employees to walk or bike through this bustling area of Culver City. The prominent 5.2-acre Ivy Station site is located predominantly in Culver City with a portion, along Venice Blvd, located in the City of Los Angeles. The trapezoidal shape of the parcel created a complex geometry, which generated unique forms that provide the campus’ dramatic architecture.

America is finally cleaning up its abandoned, leaking oil wells

By Chris Stein, phys.org

California plugs a few dozen per-year, according to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), and is currently in the process of sealing 56 near the city of Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles, some of which date back to 1949.

Bill Suan bought his family’s cattle farm in the mountains of West Virginia a decade-and-a-half ago with little thought for the two gas wells drilled on the property—but then they started leaking oil onto his fields and sickening his cows.

After taking the operator to court, Suan was successful in plugging one well, but the company has since disappeared, leaving him to contend with a small-scale environmental disaster that’s a symptom of the larger problem of orphaned  across the United States.

“It’s shocking to think that it was like that for decades,” Suan said.

Since the first commercial barrel of oil was extracted in Pennsylvania in 1859, the United States has been at the center of global petroleum production.

But in many US states, it took more than a century to pass regulations governing record-keeping for wells and their sealing, or plugging.

Today, the exact number of abandoned wells nationwide is unknown, but the Environmental Protection Agency this year estimated it to be around 3.5 million.

The EDF estimates around nine million Americans live within a mile of a well that’s considered orphaned, meaning that it’s neither operating, nor has a documented owner.

In southern California’s Kern County, the Central California Environmental Justice Network has received reports of abandoned petroleum infrastructure leaking oil next to schools and homes.

“A lot of the infrastructure that was built, that was now abandoned… is very much centered around poor communities,” said Gustavo Aguirre Jr., the network’s director in the county.

From  in the east where modern oil production began to cities in southern California, where pumpjacks loom not far from homes, the United States is pockmarked with perhaps millions of oil wells that are unsealed, haven’t produced in decades, and sometimes do not have an identifiable owner.

The detritus of lax regulation and the petroleum industry’s booms and busts, many states have struggled to deal with these wells, which can leak oil and brine into water supplies as well as emit methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas.

In a first, Washington is making a concerted effort to plug these wells through a $4.7 billion fund, passed as part of an expansive overhaul of the nation’s infrastructure.

“The money available to the states (has) never been commensurate to the scale of the problem, and now for the first time it will be,” said Adam Peltz, a senior attorney at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) nonprofit.

The funds will likely not be enough to solve the problem entirely, though, and environmentalists warn that the patchwork of state laws governing oil production include many loopholes that could allow companies to continue abandoning wells.

States have largely been left to their own devices when it comes to addressing these wells.

California plugs a few dozen per-year, according to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), and is currently in the process of sealing 56 near the city of Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles, some of which date back to 1949.

The bulk of America’s orphaned wells are thought to be in eastern states where the industry was born, and where more than 160 years later, it’s not unheard of for landowners to find a hole in the ground or a pipe protruding from the earth that’s leaking oil or brine.

Pennsylvania, which is thought to have the most, plugged 18 orphaned wells in 2020, according to the IOGCC. In the same year, West Virginia, which has thousands of documented orphaned wells, plugged one.

“It’s been decades of neglect, just letting them get away with it, not forcing the plugging regulations,” said Suan, who has had to fence off the unplugged well on his land to keep cattle from getting into the leaked oil.

“And now we’re stuck with all of them.”

Grand jury says Santa Barbara County fails to properly monitor idle oil wells; supervisors disagree

By Mike Hodgson

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to approve a response to a grand jury investigation into 1,374 idle oil wells in the county that disagrees with the findings and rejects the resulting recommendations when it meets Tuesday in Santa Maria.

The response is part of the board’s administrative agenda, which consists of items generally approved in a single vote unless a supervisor pulls one for discussion or for a separate vote or a member of the public asks to comment on one.

Grand jurors made four findings and four recommendations to the board in their report released Dec. 20.

In their proposed response, supervisors wholly disagree with all four findings and say none of the four recommendations will be implemented.

In general, the grand jury found the health and environmental risks from idle wells are not being adequately addressed; the county is too understaffed to adequately monitor idle wells; code provisions requiring drilling equipment and derricks to be removed are not fully enforced; and the county may face financial liabilities from inadequate monitoring.

The “idle wells” referred to in the report are 926 “long-term idle wells,” those inactive for at least eight years, and 448 “inactive wells,” those out of production more than two but less than eight years, identified by the California Geologic Energy Management Division in 2019.

At that time, the county also had 4,215 “abandoned wells,” which had been out of production for two years or more but whose owners or operators applied for permits and followed procedures for taking them out of service.

Those procedures included plugging the wells with cement to prevent hydrocarbons from leaking into groundwater or soil or onto the surface.

Only one well in the county in 2019 was classified an “orphaned well,” where the owner had declared bankruptcy, become insolvent or simply deserted it without taking steps to properly seal it.

The rest of the 1,028 wells in the county at that time were considered “active wells.”

Grand jury’s findings

The grand jury noted oil seeping from both active and idle wells can contaminate the soil and groundwater, and leaking methane gas can cause air pollution.

But the report said because idle wells are usually unattended, the seepage and leaks can become extensive before they are discovered, thus posing a greater risk to the public and environment.

“An example of the effects of seepage can be seen in the Santa Maria Valley, where there were thousands of active oil wells in the past,” the report says. “Some homes in Santa Maria had to be demolished because the area’s soil had been contaminated by seepage from old wells that had not been properly abandoned and plugged.

“There appears to have been no county remedial action on a number of the old wells around Orcutt, and no action by the owner to abandon them,” the report continues. “Abandonment under the required legal procedures would have led to capping. In the absence of capping, the health and safety of the area are not secure.”

The grand jury recommended supervisors direct the Planning and Development Department to identify health and environmental risks and determine actual and potential fiscal labilities from idle wells in annual reports to the board.

It also recommended supervisors direct Planning and Development to maintain enough trained personnel to staff the Petroleum Unit of its Energy, Minerals and Compliance Division and to enforce County Code requirements for removing equipment and derricks from idle wells.

Supervisors’ response

The board’s proposed response says annual Planning and Development, County Fire Department and County Air Pollution Control District inspections of active and idle wells provide sufficient regulatory oversight to minimize risks to public health and the environment.

However, the response says in order to provide annual well inspection data to the public, within one year Planning and Development will launch a public-facing web portal that lists inspection dates and results for each well that’s inspected.

In the proposed response, the board also says it won’t require a report on fiscal liabilities because those are the responsibility of the state and the well operator.

Blame game over O.C. oil spill heats up as pipeline company sues shipping firms

Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
Written for LA Times By LAURA J. NELSON, CONNOR SHEETS

Two cargo ships that allegedly dragged an oil pipeline with their anchors during a winter storm should be held liable for a disastrous October oil spill that sent thousands of gallons of crude into the waters off Orange County, the operator of the ruptured pipeline said in a lawsuit filed Monday.

In a 35-page complaint filed in federal court, Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp. accused two shipping companies and their subsidiaries — based in Switzerland, Panama, Liberia and Greece — of improperly allowing their cargo ships to drop anchor near the pipeline and of failing to notify authorities after the damage occurred.

Without the presence of the cargo ship anchors, “the pipeline would not have been displaced or damaged and thus would not have failed,” Amplify said in the complaint.

The Marine Exchange of Southern California, which monitors and directs traffic in the busy San Pedro Bay, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The nonprofit should have been aware of the anchor drags and should have notified the company, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also names as defendants the captains and crews of the two cargo ships, the MSC Danit and the Cosco Beijing.

The Coast Guard has designated both ships parties of interest in the federal investigation of the spill, which sent at least 25,000 gallons of crude gushing into the waters off Orange County. An anchor striking and dragging the pipeline could have made the conduit more vulnerable to other damage or to environmental stressors, the Coast Guard said.

Amplify’s lawsuit said that, if company employees had been aware of the damage, they would have deployed a remotely operated vehicle to inspect the pipeline, “detected its dislocation and the damage done to it, suspended operations immediately, and undertaken remedial measures that would have prevented the discharge of oil.”

“We would have immediately assessed the situation and made any necessary repairs,” company spokeswoman Amy Conway said in a statement Monday.

Capt. Kip Louttit, the executive director of the Marine Exchange, said he was not aware of the lawsuit and could not comment. Al Peacock, a lawyer who represents the owners and operators of the Beijing, also said he could not comment. Representatives of the owner and operator of the Danit did not immediately respond to inquiries about the suit.

After warnings of an approaching storm on Jan. 25, 2021, more than 20 container ships left their anchorages in San Pedro Bay and headed to deeper waters to ride out the storm, the lawsuit said. But the Danit and the Beijing remained near the pipeline, the complaint said.

Driven by winds of up to 63 mph and waves of up to 17 feet, both ships — which are longer than a downtown skyscraper — dragged their anchors across the seafloor “and into areas where federal law prohibits anchoring,” the complaint said.

Movement data from the Danit shows the ship began “moving erratically” while broadcasting that it was at anchor, and “zig-zagged” over the pipeline repeatedly over a three-hour period, the lawsuit said.

As the Danit prepared to raise its anchor and head to deeper waters, the Beijing came within about 560 feet of colliding with the other ship, the lawsuit said, citing November court filings by the Dordellas Finance Corp., the Panamanian company that owns the Danit.

The Danit “ceased its anchor-raising operations and took action to avoid a collision” with the Beijing, the lawsuit said. The Danit’s crew eventually sailed away without notifying authorities of any damage, while the Beijing remained at anchor near the pipeline, the lawsuit said.

Given the “proximity between the ships, the length of the chains typically used to anchor such vessels,” and the Beijing’s movements in the area, Amplify alleged that the Beijing also dragged its anchor across the pipeline.

The lawsuit accused both shipping companies of negligence. When a vessel strikes a stationary object, courts presume the vessel is at fault, the lawsuit said.

Amplify is seeking punitive damages, as well as reimbursement for legal fees, the bill to repair and replace the ruptured portions of the pipeline, and the revenue lost while the pipeline has been inoperable.

Amplify is also pushing to require the Marine Exchange to notify owners of undersea property of any potential anchor drags within 24 hours of the incident.

The company also wants the Marine Exchange to block ships from anchoring in areas immediately adjacent to the pipeline when bad weather is likely, writing that “significant vessel traffic and congestion … combined with the ever-present threat of heavy weather, make future anchor-dragging incidents reasonably likely.”

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