May 25, 2024
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Venoco again files for bankruptcy


Just nine months after a federal bankruptcy court approved its reorganization plan, Venoco LLC re-entered Chapter 11 proceedings on April 17 and handed environmentalists a victory in announcing the shutdown of an offshore oil platform.

Venoco said that under its plan for bankruptcy reorganization, Platform Holly and the South Elwood Oil Field are being transferred back to the state of California which will oversee the winding down of operations.

Platform Holly has been idled since the May 2015 rupture of a Plains All American pipeline near Refugio Beach that spilled an estimated 142,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean. Pipeline closures triggered Venoco’s initial filing on July 14, 2016 and Venoco’s court-approved restructuring plan reduced an estimated $1 billion in debt.

But the Plains pipelines remain shut indefinitely and in its statement on April 17, Venoco said that it would now ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to approve a plan for its assets to be “sold or wound down.”

Venoco Chief Operating Officer Mike Wracher said the “unfortunate circumstances” surrounding the closing of Plains All American’s Pipeline 901 triggered the new filing. Line 901 runs some 128 miles from the Gaviota coast to Kern County and it is the only way for production from Venoco’s South Elwood Field and Platform Holly to reach the market.

Venoco said it had quitclaimed its rights to the field, which will transfer back to the state. The state will oversee the decommissioning of platform Holly and the restoration of the field to marine sanctuary status.

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