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Traveling tomorrow
Posted by: McQ on Friday, January 23, 2009

Short post, but what a phenomenal trip. Chevron's Kern River oil field (San Joaquin Valley - Bakersfield) is something which simply overwhelms you. It has been in production since the late 1800s (not as an exclusive Chevron property as it is now, but owned by many and producing the entire time) and has pumped 2 billion barrels out of the ground since the first discovery well was drilled way back when.

20 square miles which, at present has 9,600 producing wells, 770 injector wells (I'll cover the steam injection process later) and 660 observation wells (they monitor fluids and heat). Frankly I could write 15 posts about this - the technology, the geology, the history, the maintenance, the cost, the processes, the amount of water they pump to get the oil, you name it. And yes, I managed to actually get some pictures (although, as you'll see it was cloudy and drizzling).

Anyway, good stuff, lots and lots of more info, and hopefully some insight as to the complexity of what it takes to remove heavy oil from the sands in which it is locked, transport it, refine it and get it to that station near you where you eventually pump what used to be some nasty viscous stuff - which at one time was fit only for asphalt and roofing tar - into that fine Lexus you drive.

Great people, information overload, can't wait to get it into some readable form, but I am calling it a night (flight canceled tonight -life happens- so I ended up remaining in Bakersfield) so I can be up bright and early to catch the first thing smokin' out of here.

See ya.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

You’re a shill, a shill I say.
Written By: Jamie
URL: http://
Aw, California sucks.

I’ve been there once since 1969, and I definitely do not miss the place.

Not at all.
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
I worked out in that area about 10 years ago, on a seismic crew. One interesting project we did for Chevron was a 4D (time lapse) survey so they could track the steam injection. Did you get over to the McKittrick oilfield in the area? I remember a hot, smelly and incredibly dense oilfield where one was challenged to find a square foot of earth not occupied by a pumpjack, pipeline, powerline or road. Ironically, we had to be careful so as not to disturb the ’endangered’ San Joaquin Kit Fox which we routinely saw hanging out behind restaurants in groups of three or more, waiting for the next handout. Don’t get me started on Taft...what a weary, sad town that is. We joked that the name of the town meant ’they’re all fu**ing tweaking’ due to the high population of meth heads.
Written By: model_1066
URL: http://
Just thought I would post a link to an interesting chart;

I lived around Long Beach & San Diego when I was a kid. They had a refinery in Long Beach that caught fire and it looked like Kuwait when the Iraqis set all those wells on fire. Huge clouds of smoke, schools let out early, real excitement. Back then people were seriously worried that the coastline would slide into the sea because of all the oil pumped out from underneath the land, in addition to worries about ’The Big One’.

It was a great place to live, back then, but I agree with JM now. I was back there in ’70 and it drew in by establishing a partial vacuum quite strongly.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has a different idea. It goes by the technical name, "revenue decoupling." What it does is not technical at all. It allows utilities to protect themselves against declining consumer demand by charging higher and higher prices. As consumers cut their power usage, utility companies will benefit from the ability to raise their rates to maintain revenue levels. The consumer loses the incentive to be a good conservationist while the power company reaps the benefit of reward.

You dont’ have to be a "tree hugger" to see that this ranks way up there as one of the stupidest ideas to come down the pike, so it had to be a Democrat who came up with it.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

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