Oil giants sell thousands of California wells, raising worries about future liability
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FARMINGTON, California — This year may be the worst year on record for oil production in the Golden State, potentially raising serious liability concerns for oil companies across the nation.
California produced more than 1 million barrels of oil in the first quarter of the year, about double 2015’s total, according to the California Energy Commission.
But an industry that has already spent millions to fight Proposition 13 could soon see its profits wiped out. On Tuesday, Chevron Corp. announced it would move forward with a massive expansion of its Mariposa field, including the construction of a new processing plant.
In a letter to shareholders, Chevron chief Patrick J. Wood said the expansion of the Mariposa project would be a “fundamental growth engine” for the company. “This project will contribute to the overall growth of our Mariposa assets and deliver more cash into the global balance sheet,” he said.
Meanwhile, California is seeing rising prices across the board and may be the perfect environment for oil producers to break records, even as the state has become the nation’s worst for oil producers.
At its current rate, the state will be producing more oil than the entire U.S. combined within several years, the Energy Information Administration reported. A year ago, California was producing about half as much oil as the U.S.
The state in 2007 became the first in the nation to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — with the goal of raising wages for its lowest-income workers.
Yet, the state is now seeing a slowdown in the number of workers, many of them in the lower-income brackets, who are being pushed out of the workforce by the cost of living.
“It was really a great year to be part of the workforce,” said