south belridge1

Kern County's South Belridge Oil Field is among the most productive in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's regulatory crackdown on California oil production is beginning to take a toll on Kern County's economy.

Bakersfield-based oil producer Aera Energy LLC said Friday it will remove one drilling rig from its earlier-planned lineup of six in 2020. That's a 17 percent reduction the company said will take away 90 direct jobs from half a dozen of Aera's local contractors, including Golden State Drilling.

Aera attributed the reduction to two recent state regulatory changes: extra layers of permitting scrutiny for the well-stimulation technique known as fracking and a temporary ban on high-pressure steam injections. Both technologies are commonly used in western Kern.

"One of those disruptions alone, we could’ve weathered through. But the two of them together just presented some challenges,” Aera spokeswoman Cindy Pollard said.

"This is unfortunately just a very difficult time of the year," she added, "because that means that there are folks here in Kern County that won’t have jobs to come back to after the holidays.”

A receptionist at Golden State Drilling's Fruitvale Avenue headquarters said the company was unable to provide comment Friday.

State officials said it's not clear that the reduction in Aera's 2020 rig count will cost anyone's job. They said there is more than enough local demand for oil rigs, including for well-abandonment services, to provide assignments for anyone displaced by Aera's cutbacks.

They emphasized the regulatory crackdown Newsom began in June is separate from the governor's plan to "manage the decline" of California's oil industry. The fracking- and steaming-related measures announced in November, they asserted, were more about making sure the state's permitting processes are appropriate.

California's secretary for natural resources, Wade Crowfoot, said he and other state officials look forward to working directly with the Kern County Board of Supervisors to strengthen the local economy.

“This includes being very clear about these (regulatory) actions and understanding their perspective on the importance of oil and gas to the local economy," Crowfoot said.

The end of the year is usually when oil producers finalize their drilling plan for the following 12 months. The number of rigs a company expects to use in the year ahead figures prominently into its financial, operating and contracting expectations.

State officials said that, apart from Aera, no local oil producers have told Sacramento regulators the fracking- and steaming-related measures will result in job reductions.

Local oil producer California Resources Corp. said it has no plans to cut back its 2020 rig count as a result of the new measures out of Sacramento.

“CRC does not anticipate changing our rig count based on the Department of Conservation’s recent moratorium on high-pressure cyclic steam wells or its review of pending well stimulation permits,” the Santa Clarita-based company said by email Friday.

Another local oil producer, Bakersfield-based Berry Petroleum Co. LLC, said by email it does not anticipate needing any fracking permits to carry out its 2020 plan, "so no impact from that."

But it added that the moratorium on issuing new, high-pressure steaming permits will force it to shift its focus from drilling in local diatomite formations to drilling in sandstone, at least temporarily.

"If the state does not reinstate a timely review and issuance of new drilling permits, that will definitely impact us," Berry spokesman Todd Crabtree wrote in an email. "We would expect to know more in the coming weeks what the actual impact might be and how we will manage our assets accordingly."

Editor's note: This story has been edited from its initial version, which incorrectly stated that all 90 of the jobs expected to be lost would come only from Golden State Drilling.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf. Sign up at for free newsletters about local business.

(30) comments


Forcing CA oil producers out of business just increases the importing of foreign oil by oil tanker through the CA coast. This ramps up the threat of a major oil spill in the CA coastal waters. We already import more than 1 million barrels a day into CA by foreign oil tankers (see the CA Energy Commission website). Can you imagine 1 million barrels on our beaches? Newsom and the Dems want to INCREASE these imports! Why?


If all this Oil Production is supposed to be Helping Kern County, Bakersfield... WHY do we have the most expensive Gas and Gas Tax in the State and why is our ground level dropping? Who is making the money? Not Kern County Residents.

She Dee

@Bodysnatcher...Are you teaching a course in ANIMISM? You are correct in saying that I have nothing to thank you for!

äänestys sininen 2020

we all a mass of rambling commenters .....hypoxia was set in...... its the air quality


Lessee . . . $12 for under 25, $13 for over . . . and now what's the unemployment rate now . . . ? Goodonya Aera . . . as the highlights of our current "Guvernatoure" (ain't he statuesque!?) and his ongoing "Action Pen" (loaned by Barry Soetoro) is in full swing. Ah, but those homeless (especially in Gavin's & Nancy's homeplace) are continuing to infiltrate and proliferate their excre. unabated. And landlords beware of tenants, old and new, who escape the fracking fields as pumps disappear and shelters take their place.

How many recall petitions have you signed, sportsfans? More of those little tables & citizen heroes in front of the stores still in business are coming .

Drill here, now, often . . . and welcome POTUS with garlands of flowers when he lands at Bill Thomas Jetway . . . sooner or later . . . !

Hoooorraaahh . . . !


Please. I beseech you. Put. The. Pipe. Down.

Meth effects: rambling on multiple UNrelated subjects at an unnatural, paranoid pace and tone.

Unemployment-Homelessness. Infiltration. Latent attraction to Governor. Landlords. Fracking. Petitions. POTUS. Check. At the very least, if you cannot cut back the conspicuous consumption, dilute the product with some cut. Please. And thank you. Vrooooooom! Dude is loooong gone. Lol


I hope Newsome will pay off the $85k in student loans I got just to work as an environmental compliance specialists in the oil fields. Y’know, since I wasted ten years of my life getting a PhD to ensure compliance with existing state laws. Can I at least be treated with the dignity he extends to illegal immigrants or homeless people? Sure, my house will be foreclosed on and my kids will go hungry while I spend another four years in college accruing debt to retrain. Sure, it’s reasonable that I should be out over $100k to suit the whims of somebody like LilyRose who will still drive her car rather than walk. If it makes LilyRose feel good, it doesn’t matter that my life is ruined. It doesn’t matter that I am a citizen that currently pays taxes and supports my community working for local industry. No, LilyRose says I should go work for a giant global megacorporation like Amazon because everybody knows that’s the environmentally friendly choice. Everybody knows that LilyRose will complain and moan when a new open putimine for Lithium or other REEs to power the electric cars she thinks will save the planet. No, Lily prefers we receive our energy from countries that abuse women, homosexuals, and Jews, or in the case of other energy sources, slavery and child labor. That’s the ethical choice, right Lily?


Pump the brakes crybaby. WHO said ALL the jobs are going? NOBODY Chicken Little. The sky is not falling. Sheesh. Wipe the tears n boogers and man up Sonny. YOU pay the loans. YOU took them out and spent them. Right? Right. In this day and age environmental compliance ain’t gonna it’s disappeari—unless Trump eliminates regulation which he would love to do. Whining “ Woe is me... my life is ruined”. Are you kidding me right now? Be an example for your kids—stiff upper lip Sonny. “ I gotta go retrain first 4 years”. Uh. So what? Count your blessings you have kids. You are able to work, so you can re-train. But just quit with the pity party. Lots n lots of people get down-sized. Happens everywhere and all the time. Man. Up. Or Woman up. The sniveling almost makes me want to hope for Gavin to visit KC and fit you for a pair of diapers. BTW. You are welcome for the invaluable advice. You see, I too worked in the oil industry—for Aera no less. They did the parachute thing. I didn’t cry. I moved on in life. And life is wonderful. Isn’t it?

äänestys sininen 2020

big oil.....its really all abut the money......"we will manage our assets accordingly" ... they'll leave Bako with tarpit pools and find new politicians somewhere else that they can own...


........ and so it begins...........

She Dee

I can't wait to see if Trump will override this in favor of destroying more of California's clean air. So far, he has undone just about everything that so many of us Californians worked so hard to have placed into law. Who needs a safe planet when Trump is going to save us all, right? Newsome still needs to go in my opinion. He's not doing a thing that makes much sense these days.


Wow! The article wasn't even about Trump but you couldn't even comprehend that. What do you think is causing all of our dirty air? You are somewhat correct in your assertion that gasoline powered vehicles are the source of it. But if you blame it only on that, you need to do more research. Pollution derives from MANY sources...wildfires and fireplace emissions are two of the biggest, next to vehicles. But let's just say we "go green". What are you going to ride around in? Most vehicle parts are made from petroleum. They aren't going very far without tires. Might get pretty uncomfortable sitting on steel frame seats. No heater, no a/c, no CD player or nav system. Newsom is a fool. Worse than that, he's an activist, elitist fool who wants to keep the things that he doesn't want us to have. Like jobs, a good, comfortable life, and money in our pockets. Next time you want to go pointing fingers at stupid politicians, point them at the elitist Democrats, who only want to take from the people, with no thought given to the consequences. And get help for your TDS.

Inconvenient Truth

Even if EVERY SINGLE CAR IN CALIFORNIA WERE ELECTRIC, we would still need VAST amounts of fossil fuel to power them:

Inconvenient Truth for the Day:

Two thirds of California’s electrical generation comes from burning a combination of oil, natural gas and even coal.


Thanks for demolishing you’re own point.

Your “two thirds” comment verified that— So you cut fossil jazz by 33%. A One Third change is huge.

She Dee

It was about POLITICS & PROBLEMS. I could care less about going into the future if it means we will all have to wear oxygen masks due to the current administrations lack of knowledge on climate changes on the Earth. Last time I checked, California was still on planet Earth! Maybe I should have just said that I hate all closed minded jerks & that would have covered just about every sector of those who seem to be living with their heads buried in the sand.


Well she dee, perhaps you should bury your head in the sand. You won’t have to worry about breathing dirty air. Your problem solved. No need to thank me.


Oh no. Not the tired old “petroleum creates your ballpoint pens and auto parts n so much more” vomit once again. Sheesh. Anybody who gets elected governor is obviously NOT a fool. (same goes for Prez and Trump). “ Gavin doesn’t want us to have things he has”. Yeah. The gov stays up at night plotting to keep you from having the things he has@. That is a hoot! Ya got me howling with laughter. You have no worries, you can make big dough as. Comedian. “No heater. No CD player”. Ha. That tickles me. Hannity-clone spewing talking points. What a waste of... everything. Mr. Knowitall is feeling ill from the effects of that post.


California Resource Corp., you have a well site out of compliance. Might want to recheck all of them to correct . Other counties wouldn't allow.

Chad Hathaway


Chad Hathaway

90 jobs effect 90 families and beyond. All because of excessive grandstanding by our Governor and media sensationalism.

Quote the State all you want on a rosy outcome...they just put 90 hard working folks out of work. Based on no harm to the environment and no public health threat. They are the public health threat and so are you TBC.

Comment deleted.
Chad Hathaway

Yes no harm. Read the other articles. Even your compadres at TBC reported that, What do you do for a living? Why be anonymous? I bet your on the government payroll? I’m assuming you’ve never actually created anything either by the way you talk. I do multiple things and will be fine if the fairy tail world you desire comes true and oil goes away. You will be cold, starving and in the dark surrounded by a crime infested community. Wait you probably don’t even live here.


Since my last reply was removed because I called you out. Money grabber. Mr. Hathaway your morals are bankrupt.

Will this stay in comments? Will the advice to sit in garage with your product you claim does no harm running through your car change your thoughts ?

Or will this also be removed. Is it too strong for the tough talkers of oil?

People are dying because of crude use. So let's get real and stop, look and work for a cleaner future.

This area has made me physically sick and I resent this unbelievable acceptance of continued drilling.


You do multiple things. Lol. So silly. Why be anonymous.... look at me! I’m so AB so. Which means what exactly? NOTHING. That’s what. Lol

Loosen the tie Buddy. Getting a mite worked up, ya think? Thanks for the chuckle. You are too much. Put the Dr. Pepper down. Lol

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Don't waste your time with Lily, Chad. You can't argue with delusional, fragmented and non-liner logic- she's made up her mind based on some email listing she subscribed to and does nothing but complain about how lousy it is to live here.


For anyone still reading this tread. http.// the tab-for-the-shale-drilling-bonanza

Hemorrhaging , aren't ya ?

No email list do I subscribe to. Nope. Just been around it at another level. If I had known the extant of damage done in United States, I may not have enjoyed the dinner parties as much.


90 good paying jobs impact several hundred unrelated jobs, you know the trickle down economics of good paying jobs supporting other jobs. Sad to see the Governor politicizes our magnificent resources.


Kern county will become a ghost town and Newsom's plan will fail. But he'll never apologize because he fancies himself a White Knight, riding in to save us all from our stupid selves. Narcissists like him should be hanged.


Hanging offense? Action authorized by the power of the vote? The people have spoken. Get over it. Yup—he ain’t gonna ever apologize to you, just as Trump won’t. Lol. Um. Dats how it wirks Little Red Riding Hood BYU’s. There are some big bad wolfs out there. But all in all we in the USA have it soooooo very good. So when I hear the tears splashing down like a monsoon it does not register. Go enjoy the day. Smile. Laugh. Pray. And give thanks you are fortunate to live in the greatest state inAmerica with the economy equal to dozens of states combined—bigger even than several very significant countries.

She Dee

ReefRanger- You just may have hit on a reason why Newsome is trying to run the big oil companies & utilities OUT of Cali & into Texas & other states......He owns a ton of land that he picked up cheap before he took office! Some good researcher should jump on this & start to look into his land holdings outside of the state! That's one way to punch a hole in his armor!


90 jobs are a drop in the bucket. Over 350,000 in Bako. It’s like a fly speck. Irrelevant in the grand scheme of KC jobs. Remember, Trump has the lowest unemployment numbers ever, right? What? You worry? Stocks are up, right. Record highs. Interest rates are low. All-time. Right? Uh... gues the reality of who reaaaaaally benefited from massive corporate tax cuts is sinking in right about now, huh?

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