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Venoco, Inc.
IndustryOil and gas
Founded1992 (1992)[1]
United States
Key people
Edward O'Donnell, CEO; Tim Marquez, co-founder, former CEO
Productscrude oil, natural gas
OwnerTim Marquez
Number of employees
Venoco's Platform Gail in the Sockeye Field, Santa Barbara Channel

Venoco, Inc., Venoco Corporation, or Venoco, is a private American oil and gas exploration and production corporation. It maintains an office in Carpinteria, California, and its corporate headquarters are in Denver. Predominantly active in California, it is a large natural gas producer in the Sacramento Valley and produces oil and gas both onshore and offshore of southern and central California. The company has fields and prospects in Santa Barbara County, Monterey County, Kern County, San Luis Obispo County, and Ventura County. Venoco owns and operates the Santa Clara Avenue Oil Field in Ventura County as well as the South Ellwood Oil Field offshore of Santa Barbara, the Santa Clara Offshore Oil Field and the Sockeye Oil Field in the Santa Barbara Channel, west of Ventura.[1]

Formerly traded on the New York Stock Exchange as VQ, Venoco became a private company again in October 2012 when Tim Marquez, co-founder, arranged financing to buy the outstanding shares of the company stock.[2]

Venoco announced in 2014 that the West Montalvo Oil Field would be sold to an unnamed party for $200 million. While the field had been “a solid asset for Venoco,” the company would use the proceeds to pay off a significant amount of debt. Venoco purchased the oil field in May 2007 from the Berry Petroleum Company for $61.3 million.[3]

On April 17, 2017, Venoco filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy [4]

Monterey shale[edit]

Since 2011 Venoco's primary business interest has been developing California's Monterey Formation, particularly portions of the unit that contain large amounts of shale oil potentially recoverable using new technologies, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Venoco has obtained 312,000 gross and 214,000 net acres in the Monterey, and has begun producing in the newly delineated Sevier Oil Field in Kern County. Venoco's Monterey acreage is spread across three geologic basins: the San Joaquin (the largest), the Salinas Valley and the Santa Maria Valley.[5][6]

Fracking controversy[edit]

Initial work in two of the Monterey shale basins, the Santa Maria and Salinas, have caused some local controversy. Venoco's initial fracking of the Monterey shale in the Los Alamos Valley aroused opposition in 2011. A group of concerned citizens brought up the issue with the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, who initially cited Venoco for fracking without a permit, but later withdrew the claim. The site of the test wells is in a valley adjacent to two wine-producing regions, Santa Ynez Valley AVA and Santa Maria Valley AVA.[7] In the Salinas basin, the Venoco encountered opposition in Monterey County over 9 proposed wells, also in a wine-producing region, wells which would use fracking. Environmental groups and concerned citizens have blocked its plans. Among the components listed in Venoco's proposed fracking fluid for Monterey County is a gelling agent with a 60 to 70 percent concentration of "petroleum distillate blend." The exact mixture is unknown as it is proprietary to manufacturer Baker Hughes.[8]

Venoco, Occidental and other oil companies, are experimenting in the Monterey shale formations. Tupper Hull of the Western States Petroleum Association, an industry group representing oil and gas companies observed that their member companies are investigating the potential of hydraulic fracturing in California.[9]

Venoco acknowledged fracking the Monterey Shale from Platform Gail on the Sockeye Field in 2009 off the coast of Oxnard, California.[10]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Annual report pursuant to section 13 and 15(d) Filed on 02/16/2012 Filed Period 12/31/2011Form 10-K (Report). Venoco. February 16, 2012.
  2. ^ "Venoco founder closes deal to take firm private". Pacific Coast Business Times. 2012-10-04.
  3. ^ Hoops, Stephanie (September 2, 2014) "Ventura County oil field to be sold for $200 million: Developer gets $200M for site in West Montalvo" Ventura County Star
  4. ^ "Venoco, LLC 17-10828". Prime Clerk. 17 April 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Monterey Shale's Venoco plans merger". Oil and Gas Financial Journal. 2012-01-17.
  6. ^ Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Shale Oil Plays (PDF) (Report). U. S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). July 2011. Retrieved February 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^
  8. ^ Redden, Jim (November 2012). "Unlocking the secrets of the U.S.' largest onshore oil reserves: Monterey/Santos". World Oil Online. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  9. ^ Lauren Sommer (December 7, 2012). "With Large Oil Reserve, California Faces Fracking Debate". Quest: Explore science, nature and environment stories from Northern California.
  10. ^ Natalie Cherot (December 13, 2012). "Fracking offshore: Lack of transparency for the controversial practice raises major concerns for locals".