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    LB City Mgmt Says Signal Hill Petroleum Won't Appeal Revocation of Permit For Vibration-Inducing Oil Testing But May Request New Permit In Future

    (January 20, 2006, with added text) -- has learned that Signal Hill Petroleum, Inc. has informed LB City Hall that the firm won't appeal to the City Council city staff's revocation of a permit to conduct vibration-inducing tests to find oil.

    LB's Director of the Dept. of Gas and Oil, Chris Garner, told that the company indicated on January 18 that it won't appeal the permit revocation to the Council...but may want to request a new permit sometime in the future because the firm still considers it a worthwhile project.

    Mr. Garner indicated that if such a request came forward in the future, the City would "understandably require extensive advance planning and coordination with City staff and Council offices and, just as importantly, extensive advance notification and interaction with the public."

    Mr. Garner added that if SHP decided to request a new permit in the future, there's no guarantee that City Hall would issue a new permit. The City would have to be convinced that all the issues have been properly addressed and rectified to the extent that there was a comfort level for the public and the Council and the staff and only then would City Hall reconsider isuing a permit with many new conditions, he indicated.

    The oil-search tests began Jan 7-8 in LB's Wrigley district the permit revoked (by agreement of the company and City Hall) by Jan 10, halting the tests before they reached neighborhoods stretching from central LB to much of ELB.

    The tests involved sending sets of specially equipped diesel trucks, four at a time, into neighborhoods where they'd park end to end, each extending a metal arm that sends computer-controlled sound waves into the ground. The sound waves creating vibrations and reverberations measured by ground-mounted microphones strung by wires through LB neighborhoods, a process repeated roughly every 110 feet on selected streets, producing sonograms (images from reflected sound) indicating underground oil and related seismic faults.

    On January 17, 2006 a Signal Hill Petroleum executive acknowledged to the LB City Council that tests which began in the Wrigley area had produced ground motion greater than anticipated in what he called isolated areas. He said the firm took responsibility for the consequences and knows how to resume the testing with a "very minimal amount of ground motion".

    On January 19, LB City Hall issued a release stating it had withdrawn the permit for the testing "because the City received numerous residential complaints including excessive vibration and noise levels, property damage and lack of communication."

    The City Hall release noted that information "gleaned from the [testing and mapping] would have provided information to accurately locate possible oil and natural gas deposits as well as new data related to area earthquake faults. It is estimated that there may be as much as two billion barrels of oil in the area that was to be surveyed."

    As previously reported by, under a November 2004 Council-approved agreement with Signal Hill Petroleum, LB City Hall stood to receive royalty revenue if the company located and extracted the oil.

    The City Hall release listed phone numbers for "those interested in more information or who believe they may have experienced damage to their homes caused by the survey":

  • Damage Claims or Project Information (562) 427-7874
  • Signal Hill Petroleum (562) 595-6440
  • After-Hour Answering Service (562) 499-1527

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