News Oil & Gas

Ventura County proposes big increases for oil and gas bonds

Ventura County officials have proposed steep increases for oil and gas bonds, part of a suite of updated regulations headed to planning commissioners on Thursday.

The measures are expected to boost protection for taxpayers and the environment when something goes wrong or if companies fail to properly plug wells that are no longer productive. But the changes also could bring much higher costs for the oil and gas industry that has repeatedly opposed other efforts to tighten restrictions.

Since the early 1980s, the county required a $10,000 bond – a sort of security deposit for wells – from oil and gas companies regardless of the size of their oil fields or operations. That amount would leave the county government short-handed to plug the wells and restore the sites if operators deserted the facilities without doing the work. Taxpayers would likely foot the bill instead.

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