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{{#badges: FrackSwarm|Navbar-fracking}} Venoco, Inc., Venoco Corporation, or Venoco, is a private American oil and gas exploration and production corporation. It is predominantly active in California, where it is a large natural gas producer in the Sacramento Valley, and where it produces oil and gas both onshore and offshore of southern and central California. It has fields and prospects in Santa Barbara County, Monterey County, Kern County, San Luis Obispo County, and Ventura County. Venoco owns and operates the West Montalvo Oil Field and Santa Clara Avenue Oil Field in Ventura County as well as the South Ellwood Oil Field offshore Santa Barbara, California, the Santa Clara Offshore Oil Field and the Sockeye Oil Field in the Santa Barbara Channel west of Ventura, California. It maintains an office in Carpinteria, California, and its corporate headquarters are in Denver.[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]

Monterey shale

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.[3]

Fracking controversy

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.[4] 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.[5]

Venoco acknowledged fracking the Monterey Shale from Platform Gail on the Sockeye Field in 2009 off the coast of Oxnard, California.[6]


Venoco was one of several local operating companies negatively effected by the May 19, 2015 All American pipeline spill in Santa Barbara. On February 16, 2016 Venoco missed to submit its $13.7 million semi-annual interest payment. Venoco, ExxonMobil, Freeport-McMoRan offshore oil platforms ceased operating shortly after the spill because the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shut down pipelines moving crude oil to refineries. In November 2015, Venoco reported a net loss of $203.3 million for the third quarter.[7]

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