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FMO&G Pt. Arguello

[Information up to date as of 02/01/2018]

What's New

Gas Flare Replacement

PXP plans to replace the existing 165-foot gas flare stack at the Gaviota facility with a smaller stack.   PXP had initially planned to replace the flare during late 2008, but is now re-assessing the design of the new flare to ensure it will accommodate current and future needs.  This project is currently on hold.

Processing Facility Partial Abandonment

  • This project is being conducted in three phases. Phase 1 (completed) has reduced the visual profile of the facility by taking down the tallest items of equipment that are most visible from Highway 101. Phase 2, almost completed, will remove all saleable process equipment. During Phase 3 (approximately 10 months in duration), the remainder of the excess process equipment will be removed from the site.
  • Most of the equipment has been sold and removed at this time. Work is currently underway to clean, disconnect, and transport the last remaining items to buyers. The tower, the propane and butane bullets, the LASP and siren systems on Hollister Ranch, and most of the Gaviota Gas Plant have been removed.
  • All required permits for all phases of the project have been issued.

Permit Compliance

  • The System Safety and Reliability Review Committee (SSRRC) conducted a safety audit at the Gaviota Facility on September 23, 2009.  No priority 1or 2 items were identified.  PXP has completed 27 of the 30 items identified for correction.  Efforts to implement the remaining 2 items are ongoing according to priority timelines established by the SSRRC.


Gaviota Oil & Gas Processing Facility

An ongoing project consisting of three offshore platforms (Hermosa, Harvest and Hidalgo) that produce and process oil and gas from the Point Arguello Offshore field. Pipelines are used to transport oil and gas produced and processed offshore to onshore terminal facilities. These facilities use the sales quality gas to generate electricity and steam for use onsite. Excess electricity can be sold to the public utility grid. The processed crude oil is pumped into the All American pipeline.


  • The Gaviota Oil and Gas Processing Facility is located on the mountain side of Highway 101 opposite the Shell Pipeline Company, LP Gaviota Oil Terminal. It receives oil and gas from the Point Arguello field west of Point Conception.

Arguello Map
Arguello Map
Overhead View of the Gaviota Oil & Gas Processing Facility
Overhead View of the Gaviota Oil & Gas Processing Facility

Offshore Facilities

Platform Hermosa

  • Lease Location: OCS-P0316 (Point Arguello Unit)
  • Year Installed: 1985
  • Water Depth: 603 feet
  • Deck Weight: 7,830 tons
  • Total Weight: 28,131 tons
  • Fabricated: Japan
  • Number of Wells Slots: 48
  • Distance from Land: 6.8
Platform Hermosa

Platform Harvest

Platform Harvest

  • Lease Location: OCS-P0315 (Point Arguello Unit)
  • Year Installed: 1985
  • Water Depth: 675 feet
  • Deck Weight: 9,024 tons
  • Total Weight: 30,190 tons
  • Fabricated: Korea
  • Number of Wells Slots: 50
  • Distance from Land: 6.7 miles

Platform Hidalgo
  • Lease Location: OCS-P0450 (Point Arguello Unit)
  • Year Installed: 1986
  • Water Depth: 430 feet
  • Deck Weight: 8,100 tons
  • Total Weight: 21,421 tons
  • Fabricated: Japan
  • Number of Wells Slots: 56
  • Distance from Land: 5.9 miles
Platform Hidalgo

  • 12-inch diameter wet oil from Platform Harvest to Platform Hermosa (3.2 miles long)
  • 8-inch diameter sour gas from Platform Harvest to Platform Hermosa (3.2 miles long)
  • 16-inch diameter oil from Platform Hidalgo to Platform Hermosa (4.8 miles long)
  • 10-inch diameter sour gas from Platform Hidalgo to Platform Hermosa (4.8 miles long)
  • 20-inch diameter sour gas from Platform Hermosa to Gaviota Oil & Gas Processing Facility (10 miles long)
  • 24-inch diameter wet oil from Platform Hermosa to Gaviota Oil & Gas Processing Facility (10 miles long)

Photos provided by the Minerals Management Service

Onshore Facilities


Major Systems:

  • Oil-water separation; oil surge and reject tanks (partially idled - used to heat incoming oil only)
  • Treatment and discharge of produced water (idled)
  • Treatment of raw gas (idled), including
    • Removal, storage, and shipment of sulfur
    • Removal, separation, storage, and shipment of gas liquids (e.g., propane, butane, heavier liquids)
  • Seawater desalination (idled)
  • Cogeneration

Design Capacities:

  • Dry oil output - 100,000 barrels per day (bpd)
  • Oil Storage - 10,000 bbl (additional storage available at the Gaviota Oil Terminal)
  • Produced water - 25,000 barrels of water per day (bwpd)
  • Natural Gas - 75 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD)
  • Cogenerated Electricity - 18.5 megawatts

Permitted Capacities:

  • Dry oil output - 200,000 bpd
  • Oil Storage - 10,000 bbl
  • Produced water - 25,0000 bwpd
  • Natural Gas - 75 MMCFD
  • Cogenerated Electricity - 18.5 megawatts

Offsite Pipelines:

Approximately 16 miles of the oil (Point Arguello Pipeline Company - PAPCO) and gas (Point Arguello Natural Gas Line - PANGL) pipelines that transport oil from the offshore platforms parallel the coast from their landfall near Point Conception to the Gaviota Facility.

Fields Production History

Pt. Arguello Field

Production Began: 1991

Oil Information:

Gas Information:

  • Source: Monterey Formation
  • Cumulative production through 2000: 71 billion cubic feet (BCF)
  • Percentage of total POCS gas landed in Santa Barbara County: 10%
  • Estimated reserves as of 2000: 85 BCF

Product Distribution

Crude Oil

  • Distributed via pipeline, as follows:
    • All oil produced is processed offshore on Platforms Harvest and Hermosa; then
    • Sent to shore for heating; then
    • Sent to storage tanks at the Gaviota Oil Terminal; then
    • Transported in the Plains Pipeline to various destinations

Natural Gas

  • Distributed via pipeline
  • Product Destination:
    • Most of the gas produced is sweetened offshore on Platforms Harvest and Hidalgo; then
    • Sent to shore for use as Cogeneration Turbine fuel. Some of the produced electricity is used to power the Gaviota Facility, and the rest is sold to the Public Utility Grid.


  • Electricity generated in excess of what is needed to power the Gaviota facility is sold to the local utility grid.
  • Each cogeneration turbines is capable of generating up to 3.7 Megawatts (MW) of power, with approximately 10 MW of excess power available for sale to the local grid.

Past Activities

  • The Coastal Development Permit for Phase 1 of the project was issued on November 13, 2003.
  • On June 26, 2002, the Planning Commission approved a joint application by Arguello, Inc. and ChevronTexaco to remove excess equipment at the Gaviota Processing Facility. The equipment is no longer necessary because the operator processes the crude oil and gas offshore.
  • Two of the four Point Arguello Unit tracts were leased in 1979 as part of lease sale 48 and the other two were leased in 1981 as part of lease sale 53.
  • Arguello, Inc. began construction of the Gaviota Facility and onshore pipelines in November of 1985 and was completed in December of 1987.
  • As originally designed and operated, the Gaviota Facility received wet oil and gas from Platforms Hermosa, Harvest, and Hidalgo.
  • The Gaviota Facility was reconfigured in 1998 to streamline oil and gas processing activities and reduce costs. This reconfiguration moved all processing functions offshore to Platform Hermosa.
  • On February 21, 2001, the Director of Planning and Development approved a request by Arguello Inc. to bring sweet gas to shore to fuel electrical cogeneration turbines at its onshore facility at Gaviota. Under the Gas Disposition Project, the gas is now sweetened at the platforms and brought to shore in the existing pipeline system to fuel up to three electrical cogeneration turbines at the Gaviota facility.
  • As designed and originally operated, the Gaviota Facility received wet oil and gas from Platforms Hermosa, Harvest, and Hidalgo. Wet oil and gas was sent from the platforms to the facility in two separate lines.
  • As designed, the product streams exiting the Gaviota Facility included:
    • Sulfur - Sent offsite by truck and sold.
    • Produced Water - Treated and injected into an onshore field or discharged to the ocean.
    • Sweetened Gas - Transported by pipeline and sold the Southern California Gas Company.
    • Liquid Propane Gas is sent offsite by truck and sold.
    • Oil, blended with butane and natural gas liquids (NGLs) is pumped to storage tanks at the Gaviota Oil Terminal prior to being pumped to market in the Plains Pipeline.

Lease E 451

  • The Director of the Planning and Development Department approved the Lease 451 E Development project on September 3, 2003 with a Letter of Authority to Continue Operations under the existing Point Arguello permit.
  • PXP Pt. Arguello developed Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lease 451 E by drilling 8 extended-reach wells from two of the three existing OCS platforms in the Point Arguello Unit. Five wells were drilled from Platform Hermosa and three from Platform Hidalgo.
  • Development of the Lease 451 E oil reserves did not require any new equipment on the platforms, or at the Gaviota Facility. All of the wells were directionally drilled using existing well slots on the platforms.
  • Drilling of the Lease 451 E wells lasted approximately 3 years and production should last approximately 8-10 years. Oil and gas processing currently occurs offshore at the existing platforms with the existing equipment. The produced oil is dehydrated, stabilized, and transported in existing pipelines to the Gaviota Facility, where it is heated and shipped by pipeline to refineries. Oil processing (dehydration and stabilization) capacity at the Point Arguello platforms is currently limited to a maximum of about 35,000 barrels per day (bbl/d).
  • Gas is processed [sweetened to remove hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2)] and used for fuel in the offshore turbine generators of all three platforms. A portion of the gas sweetened on Platform Hermosa is transported to shore by pipeline for fuel needs at the Gaviota Facility and to produce electricity for sale. Excess gas, if any, will be reinjected offshore.
  • Drilling and production are expected to end by 2011-2012, which will allow for the Lease 451 E reserves to be produced within the remaining productive life of the PXP Pt. Arguello platforms, which is estimated to be concluded by the year 2017.

Condition R-1 Review

  • On October 16, 2001 the Board of Supervisors denied the appeals of the Planning Commission's October 30, 2000 decision on the Point Arguello Project Condition R-1 review process.
  • Gaviota served as one of Santa Barbara County's two designated consolidated oil and gas processing sites for offshore production along the South Coast.
  • Condition R-1 of the Gaviota facility Final Development Plan requires that the County hold a public hearing on the operating status of the Gaviota facility if oil or gas processing throughput falls below 3% of the maximum permitted throughput. In October 1998 the facility operator ceased sending sour gas to shore for processing, triggering R-1 review.
  • On October 30, 2000 the Planning Commission adopted Energy Division staff's recommendations on the R-1 review. Staff had prepared a programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to evaluate possible future operating scenarios for the Gaviota facility, including full project abandonment.
  • Based on the EIR analysis, staff recommended to the Planning Commission a scenario that eliminates Gaviota as a consolidated oil and gas processing facility and requires that the facility operator abandon all unused portions of the facility. Staff further recommended that Gaviota remain operational in its current reconfigured status, whereby all oil and gas is processed offshore. Under this scenario, Gaviota serves only as an oil heating and metering station, and produces electricity from produced gas for utility sales from its cogeneration turbines (see above). Other offshore producers could gain access to the Gaviota facility for similar operations, with the appropriate permits.
  • Four appeals were filed on the Planning Commission's decision. The appellants were Arguello Inc., the project owner/operator, Samedan Oil Corporation, Nuevo Energy Company, and Harvest Oil and Gas Company. Staff's recommendation was that the Board uphold the Planning Commission's decision, with one modification. Staff recommended that the Board endorse a new designation for the Gaviota site that is a consolidated production area. Staff explained that this new designation would allow the Harvest/Molino Gas Project to pursue its existing permit as a legal conforming use and would provide the County with ongoing control of the Gaviota site through consolidated policy and zoning controls.
  • The Board adopted staff's recommendations and further directed staff to evaluate the potential risks associated with the treatment of low concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas within the proposed production area. This addition by the Board was in response to Harvest Oil and Gas Company's concern that its current sweet gas project at the Gaviota site (maximum 4 parts per million H2S) may experience slightly higher concentrations of H2S than permitted.
  • The Board's decision was only an initiation of the proposed changes to County zoning codes and policies. Staff must now develop specific zoning and policy language, conduct environmental review, and present its recommendations to the Planning Commission. All zoning and policy changes will eventually go before the Board, and then must be approved by the Coastal Commission.

Reconfiguration Extension

  • Plains - Arguello submitted an application to extend the life of the Reconfiguration project on May 12, 2003. The original project was approved in 1998, and at the time Chevron (then the owner/operator) had stated that the Point Arguello Project would operate in this mode for a maximum of 5 years, or until 2003. However, Plains - Arguello, Inc. intends to operate the project until 2015 as originally stated in the 1984 EIR/EIS. The System Safety and Reliability Review Committee reviewed the project for potential impacts to Risk of Upset/Hazardous Materials. A Director’s Amendment to the existing permit for the Facility (85-DP-032) was approved in October 2003.

PXP/Arguello GTC Bypass Project

  • Construction was completed at the PXP/Arguello Gaviota Oil Heating Facility Bypass Project including installation of new pumps, valves and new segments of pipe. As a result, the Gaviota Terminal has permanently ceased operations and is in the process of receiving approval for a Demoiltion and Reclamation permit from the County of Santa Barbara to decommission the Gaviota Terminal site.

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