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Chevron terminal lease extended

13 Dec 2010 07:52 GMT

Oil major wins vote to lease offshore marine oil terminal for a further 30 years.



The California State Lands Commission has approved the renewal of Chevron Corporation's lease of a marine terminal off the coast of Los Angeles for a further 30 years.

The state panel's 2-1 vote came despite the objections of environmentalists worried about oil spills and the threat of whales being struck by tankers entering Santa Monica Bay to reach the El Segundo Offshore Marine Oil Terminal. Some had also called for a shorter lease of 10 years.

The lease extension agreement means that Chevron will be charged a base rent of $1.3 million a year to lease the state-controlled tidelands for the terminal until 2040.

The refinery and its offshore operations date back to 1911. For almost a century now, oil tankers from around the world have docked off El Segundo to pump crude oil into one of the largest refineries on the West Coast of North America.

Vessells pull up to mooring sites around 1½ miles offshore where hoses are raised from the sea floor to offload oil through underwater pipes to onshore storage tanks.

Some had been in favour of having the oil deliveries rerouted through the Port of Los Angeles, an idea thwarted by the lack of pipeline capability to transfer the oil from the harbor to the refinery.

The panel was also informed by Chris Thomason, president of the El Segundo Firefighters Association, that over the past 30 years there has never been a drill or training exercise between the El Segundo Fire Department, the Chevron refinery fire department or mutual aid agencies at the marine terminal, adding that the firefighters did not even have a boat to reach the oil facility and had no training in boarding ships or how to safely put out fires on vessels.

Chevron countered that any inadequacies involving the role of the fire department could be quickly resolved and that shipboard firefighting on the ocean would not be handled by the local fire department.

El Segundo Mayor Eric Busch also pointed out that Chevron's environmental record at the terminal was excellent.

"For all the oil that has traveled through this terminal over the past decades, Chevron has had only two spills," he said.

Busch said the spills included 2,400 barrels in 1980 and 200 barrels in 1991, and cleanup operations began immediately.






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