WSPA member companies produce most of their oil and gas in California, operating under the nation’s most rigorous laws. This complex regulatory system ensures environmental protection but also presents special issues and challenges to fulfilling the energy needs of consumers and businesses in the west. Over the past 10 years, dozens of new laws and regulatory rulemakings affect almost every facet of California’s oil and natural gas producing industry.
Extending the Productive Life of the State’s Oil Fields
Much of the conventional oil production in California uses enhanced oil recovery technologies like steam injection and water flooding. Used for many decades, these technologies dramatically extended the productive life of the state’s oil fields. The industry conforms to comprehensive regulatory oversight and coordination over water use and disposal in the operation of injection wells by both federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the CalGem Underground Injection Control program (UIC), and the State Water Resources Control Board.
The industry also faces a variety of regulations and issues related to well stimulation in California, the process of injecting fluid under pressure into underground rock formations to free trapped oil and gas. Safely used for more than 60 years throughout the oil and gas industry, the process in California typically produces liquid oil rather than natural gas and has never been shown to adversely affect the state’s environment, drinking water supply or pose any risk to nearby residents.