Oil & Gas Exploration and Development

Helping determine the impacts of new oil and gas facilities

RDN conducted an impact statement and report on expansion plans for oil and gas treatment and production facilities operated by Exxon Company, USA, in the western Santa Barbara Channel area. As a subcontractor on the project, RDN conducted the analysis for the County of Santa Barbara, the U.S. Minerals Management Service, and the California State Lands Commission. The analysis complied with relevant legislation, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act. Proposed facilities included up to four new platforms, offshore pipelines, a marine terminal, onshore oil and gas processing facilities, onshore pipelines, and cogeneration and related support equipment.

RDN used statistical modelling to conclude that project-induced growth in employment, income, and population would have potentially significant impacts on housing and water requirements in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties. A socioeconomic monitoring and assessment program was identified as a means of addressing any negative impacts. Additionally, the assessment determined that the project could result in losses for Santa Barbara South Coast tourism due to construction worker use of recreation areas and degradation of scenic resources. In the long term, only Ventura County would continue to realize negative public finance impacts.

In the end, it was determined that the proposed project would be inconsistent with Santa Barbara County land use plans and policies. The proposed project had significant and complicated impacts across a wide range of stakeholders. RDN takes seriously its commitment to the highest quality of analysis to accurately assess the impacts of such projects.