BEVERLY HILLS HIGH
Right at the heart of one of the most affluent and exclusive communities in the country, oil producer Venoco extracted almost 114,000 barrels of crude and 103 million cubic feet of natural gas, as well as 807,000 barrels of waste water, from 19 conventional wells on the campus of the famous Beverly Hills High School last year, according to state records.
Across Beverly Hills, 95 wells are currently producing from two pools, which lie entirely beneath a heavily built up area, stretching along Pico, Olympic and Santa Monica Boulevards. The wells have been drilled from four clusters (of which the High School is one), and are hidden in windowless buildings, but are otherwise part of the normal urban streetscape.
The field as a whole produced 805,000 barrels of crude oil in 2011, 1 million cubic feet of natural gas and 8.8 million barrels of waste water. The Nileguide blog gives some idea of how the wells have been blended into the urban scene: here
Royalties from oil and gas earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the school’s general fund. But the wells have also been at the centre of celebrated environmental litigation.