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our operations what do you do with an old oil platform?

2 min read | may 06, 2022

Imagine the to-do list if you had to remove an oil platform. From the ocean. 

Multiply that by five and throw in tasks to decommission two nearby gas plants and miles of pipe, and you’ll have some idea of the monumental work lined up in Chevron’s West Coast Decommissioning (WCD) Program.

what we’re doing

We’ve been checking off tasks on those to-do lists since 2018, leading a team of functional experts and partners in the first-ever decommissioning project in U.S. federal waters off the coast of California. The work is divided into four phases, with some happening at record-breaking depths. In September 2021, we moved into Phase 3 and expect to complete work before the close of the decade, depending on approval of permits.

about those permits

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, in partnership with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, coordinates with other federal and state agencies to review and approve the complex, carefully planned decommissioning work that we and our partners propose.

the scope

The WCD Program involves two projects, the Santa Clara Unit and the Point Arguello Unit. 

  • The Santa Clara Unit includes removal of platforms Grace and Gail, pipelines and an onshore gas plant in Carpinteria, south of Santa Barbara. 
  • The Point Arguello Unit includes removal of platforms Harvest, Hidalgo and Hermosa, pipelines and an onshore gas plant in Gaviota, north of Santa Barbara.
illustration of platform gail

platform gail

739 ft depth  |  37,057 tons
illustration of platform harvest

platform harvest

675 ft depth  |  35,150 tons
illustration of platform hermosa

platform hermosa

603 ft depth  |  30,868 tons

Removing the Gail, Harvest and Hermosa platforms will break the record for deepest full removal platform decommissioning in U.S. federal waters.

the short story

What exactly does it take to remove an offshore oil platform? That question can yield an answer of epic proportions, but here’s the short story in five very-high-level steps: well abandonment, pipeline abandonment, topsides removal, jacket removal and, lastly, transportation, processing and recycling. Here’s an illustration that might help, but remember, in the WCD Program there are gas plants and pipelines to isolate, clean, inspect and dismantle:

illustration of the anatomy of an offshore platform

Anatomy of an offshore platform.

go deeper

Watch this video on the program’s priorities and more details on the decommissioning process.

the backstory

The WCD Program meets Chevron's contractual and regulatory obligations to decommission legacy offshore California assets and related onshore facilities.

topics covered

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