California’s Department of Conservation on Thursday released the first draft of new rules it says will improve the safety of oil field injection operations common in Kern County, including wastewater disposal facilities and “cyclic steam” wells.

Under pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental advocacy groups worried about petroleum-related groundwater contamination risks, the department proposed regulations dealing with well construction standards, mechanical integrity testing requirements and maximum injection pressures.

The draft also spells out new permitting processes, defines what levels of water quality would have to be protected during injection work and requires additional data reporting by oil companies.

Public comments on the proposed rules are due Feb. 19. They can be emailed to UIC.Regulations@conservation.ca.gov. They may also be mailed to Department of Conservation, 801 K St., MS 24-02, Sacramento, CA, 95814, attention UIC Discussion Draft.

An immense, $200 million-plus natural gas storage project that had been proposed in southwest Bakersfield is apparently off the table.

In a little-noticed decision, the project’s primary regulator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, vacated its authorization of the Tricor Ten Section Hub, which was to generate 20 permanent jobs and state tax revenues estimated at $1.8 million a year. It was to have stored as much as 32.5 billion cubic feet of gas coming from as far away as Wyoming.

The company behind the project, Tricor Ten Section LLC, asked FERC in February 2012 for an extension of a deadline for completing construction of surface facilities serving the storage project. Tricor said it was having trouble obtaining injection work approvals from the state Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. FERC agreed to the company’s request that same month.

In May 2014, Tricor asked FERC to vacate its project authorization altogether, saying it had been unable to obtain state approval for a storage permit. FERC agreed to shelve the project.

Tricor did not respond this week to requests for comment.

A 27,263-square-foot medical office building at 4100 Truxtun Ave. has changed hands.

The fully leased Emerald Center sold for $5.65 million, according to a brokerage involved in the transaction, Cushman & Wakefield Pacific Commercial Realty Advisors.

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