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AERA Energy ends East Cat Canyon project


SANTA MARIA, Calif. - "AERA has opted to not pursue our conditional use permit for our East Cat Canyon oilfield project," said Rick Rust with AERA Energy.

Rust says the decision to end the East Cat Canyon oilfield project wasn't easy.

The company wanted to redevelop a 100-year-old field to pull heavy crude using steam injection. It may sound similar to fracking but the company says it isn't because it does not use high pressures.

"Our hope was to come in and redevelop an old and existing oil field. There are reserves in place for us to do that. But of course like any project it needs to be profitable," said Rust.

Rust says the decision to end the project is related to economic uncertainties in the oil industry.

"The historically low oil prices and the projected trends going forward and the economics for the project don't allow us to move forward," said Rust.

Environmentalists are glad to hear of the decision.

"A lot of community members were concerned about the health impacts it was going to have on our community," said Abraham Melendrez of Santa Maria.

While Rust says the company appreciates all that the community of Santa Barbara County has done to assist their efforts, in the end, it came down to simple economics. "If the price to produce the product is greater than what you can sell it for then it makes the project uneconomic and that's pretty much the situation we're in right now."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.


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