Oil and Gas Development in the Urban Environment of Los Angeles
Geological Consultant, Lakewood, California
The history of Los Angeles is closely tied to the history of petroleum. Edward Doheny and Charlie Canfield discovered the Los Angeles City oil field in 1892. With that discovery came revolutionary change. Doheny sold the idea of replacing expensive coal ($20 per ton) with cheap oil at ten cents per barrel. With 3.6 barrels of oil having the same heating capacity as one ton of coal oil was a bargain. Cheap energy along with water that was being brought in by the Metropolitan Water District combined with the Mediterranean climate to make southern California a paradise. The Washington navel orange became the nationally recognized cash crop. Transportation and other industries followed and prospered. Oil operations continued to expand as the city grew over early oil development. This talk will look at the history of petroleum production with an eye to how that history has impacted the petroleum production elsewhere. Many of the solutions to problems found here have been and will be applied elsewhere as urban development swallows up petroleum producing areas. With 14 million people living and working over billions of barrels of oil that are on production Los Angeles will continue to be a place where solutions are found.