Sacramento Bee: California wants to wind down its gas and oil industry. What does it mean for jobs? (October 1, 2020)
“It’s one of the few industries left in California for people who are not college graduates, or for second chancers who have a criminal record,” said Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association.
The industry is among the biggest employer in Kern County, with tens of thousands hired to drill wells. But the oil and gas jobs are everywhere in California, from those in the refineries in the Bay Area to others building oil and gas pipelines.
Those jobs are just not comparable in quality to those in the green energy sector, Zierman argued.
“Those green energy jobs just don’t pay the way oil and gas industry pay,” Zierman said. “You have a higher pay and upward mobility in the oil and gas industry than in green jobs.”
New York Times: California Plans to Ban Sales of New Gas-Powered Cars in 15 Years (September 23, 2020)
“Let’s be clear: Today’s announcement to curb in-state production of energy will put thousands of workers in the Central Valley, Los Angeles basin, and Central Coast on the state’s overloaded unemployment program, drive up energy costs when consumers can least afford it, and hurt California’s fight to lower global greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rock Zierman, chief executive of the California Independent Petroleum Association.
Associated Press: California Ban on Fracking By 2024 Criticized As Too Late (September 23, 2020)
California Independent Petroleum Association chief executive officer Rock Zierman meanwhile said the move will put thousands of people out of work, increase energy costs, and boost the use of foreign oil. The industry, he said, could help Newsom’s climate goals by removing carbon from the atmosphere, resulting in negative emissions.
Palm Springs Desert Sun: Newsom aims to phase out new hydraulic fracking permits in California by 2024 (September 23, 2020)
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA), said Newsom's moves on Wednesday — which also included a phase-out of sales of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 — would cost jobs.
“Let’s be clear: today’s announcement to curb in-state production of energy will put thousands of workers in the Central Valley, Los Angeles basin, and Central Coast on the state’s overloaded unemployment program, drive up energy costs when consumers can least afford it, and hurt California’s fight to lower global greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
CalMatters: Newsom orders ban of new gas-powered cars by 2035 (09/23/20)
Oil companies were dismayed by the executive order's stance on fracking, with the California Independent Petroleum Association warning it could harm economic recovery and kill jobs.
Bakersfield Californian: Power shut-offs focus attention on local energy debate (August 22, 2020)
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group, which has many prominent local members, said the shut-offs highlight the degree to which state legislators and activist groups are "transfixed on eliminating in-state oil and gas jobs rather than trying to accomplish a transition from one energy source to another."
He said anti-petroleum forces have failed to come up with a grand plan for building transmission lines and backup batteries that he asserts are necessary before the state can make more reliable use of renewable energy.
"As a result, this (the blackouts) is what you get," he said. "You get an energy system that does not reflect the fifth-largest economy in the world."
Bakersfield Californian: Scientists affirm adequacy of Kern fracking reviews (July 6, 2020)
The CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group noted in an email that fracking in California has now been reviewed by third-party scientists at least three times and found to pose no adverse environmental impacts.
"Keeping energy production local is better for the environment rather than relying on foreign oil from Saudi Arabia," CEO Rock Zierman wrote.
CalMatters: Wells linked to low birthweight (June 3, 2020)
Sabrina Demayo Lockhart, spokesperson for the California Independent Petroleum Association, said socioeconomic factors could explain the findings, such as access to prenatal care, low incomes and underlying health conditions.
“Pinpointing direct health outcomes to one highly regulated activity ignores the fact that there are so many socioeconomic variables that can impact public health,” she said. “California has the strongest environmental protections for oil and natural gas activity. Extremists will use the headlines to generate fear in their push for stricter regulations.”
Bakersfield Californian: Kern oil producers dodge worst of U.S. price collapse (April 21, 2020)
The unprecedented collapse in the nation's benchmark oil price this week is not expected to hurt Kern petroleum producers, local observers say, though it does reflect difficult market conditions weighing heavily on the county's economy and employment.
Because California is an "energy island" geographically isolated from much of the U.S. oil industry, local producers do not get paid based on the price posted for West Texas Intermediate, the domestic benchmark that sank into negative territory Monday.
Instead, most oil companies in Kern get paid according to prices of local and international grades of crude, which are down but not as low as WTI.
CEO Rock Zierman of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group said by email that as the economy recovers it will be important to continue producing oil in a state where domestic production supplies only about one-third of demand.
Bakersfield Californian: Oil producers brace for sustained slowdown as outlook dims (March 24, 2020)
Despite receiving a privileged designation from the state during the coronavirus pandemic, Kern County oil producers are hunkering down as dismal market conditions make it unlikely that investment and hiring in local oil fields will return anytime soon.
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group, said Kern County oil production will become uneconomical and wells will be shut in. He added his voice to the chorus of critics dismayed by Saudi and Russian price "manipulation."
He also pushed back against state regulatory changes that had slowed local oilfield activity even before this month's price drop.
"The state arbitrarily refusing to review permits will only make these problems worse and, in turn, hurt California consumers because our state is so dependent on Saudi oil for our vast energy needs," he wrote in an email.
Bakersfield Californian: Letter to the Editor: We can't afford AB 345 (March 17, 2020)
A recent column pushed for legislation that would ban oil production within parts of Kern County ("COMMUNITY VOICES: Codependency is toxic, be aware of AB 345," March 9).
There’s no scientific evidence that creating a distance from existing facilities would improve the toughest-on-the-planet regulations that producers already follow. Instead, this would only create a production ban. As a result, in order to meet the huge energy needs of our state, we would have to rely even more upon imported oil from places like Saudi Arabia that do not abide by our environmental or humanitarian protections.
In addition to thousands of Kern County workers losing quality careers which, on average, pay more than $100,000, the city and county would lose revenue for programs such as serving our homeless population, providing police and fire services, and funding for our schools.
It’s also important to note production setbacks work both ways. This legislation would tie the hands of policymakers to build desperately needed affordable housing here at home and across the state.
In Los Angeles, which has a fraction of the production we have here in Kern, the city’s own oil and gas administrator found it would cost the city up to $97 billion to establish a setback on existing and future production and could put the city at risk for expensive litigation costs annually. This is consistent with the Legislature’s own economic analysis that found statewide legislation to enact a setback would cost the state up to $3.5 billion and cautioned against expensive legal challenges.
Our community’s economy and environment cannot afford AB 345.
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Councilmember
Bakersfield Californian: Letter to the Editor: Oil should be here to stay (March 12, 2020)
It's disingenuous for so-called “environmental” groups to oppose the county’s environmental impact review of its enhanced oil and natural gas ordinance when it created 88 new mitigations for the industry to meet compliance.
The ordinance provides unprecedented transparency to our operations and adds additional environmental mitigation on top of the most stringent regulations anywhere in the world. In addition to the new county mitigation measures, Kern oil producers must follow the rules from nearly two dozen local, state and federal regulators.
The appellate court’s decision disregarding the thoughtful and detailed holding of the trial court is a major step backwards for environmental protection, energy security and the well-being of Kern County.
The massive mitigation measures the industry took under the ordinance change are now on hold. In total, the industry paid nearly $90 million in air quality mitigation alone since the ordinance took effect. That money has funded more efficient tractors for farmers and buses for our schools, improving air quality.
Extremists envision a world without California-produced oil, but Californians will still need to get to work, to school, cook their food and heat their homes. Our dependence on foreign oil has quintupled over the last two decades, mostly from Saudi Arabia — a country that does not share our humanitarian or environmental ideals.
Every barrel of oil not generated right here in Kern County is one more barrel we must import from regimes who have no concern for California’s best interests. In that scenario, the environment loses.
Natural Gas Intelligence: California’s Ability to Deal with Abandoned Oil, Gas Wells Again Questioned (March 12, 2020)
“The oil industry, not taxpayers, pays 100% of the costs to decommission onshore wells without a viable owner,” said California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman. “The state has decommissioned nearly 2,000 orphan wells in the last 30 years, all paid for by industry, not taxpayers.”
Recent legislation has also increased bonding requirements and requires companies to decommission a portion of their idle wells annually, he said. “Most permits issued today are to decommission wells, not drill new ones.”
Operators contribute to a fund annually, and the state may bill companies if there is a shortfall, according to Zierman. Recent state legislation has also increased bonding requirements and requires companies to decommission a portion of their idle wells annually.
Natural Gas Intel: California Decarbonization Transition, Reduction in Natural Gas Use Forecast to Take Up to 30 Years (March 6, 2020)
California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman said the bans are not helpful to consumers or businesses. “Gas has helped the U.S. become a global leader in reducing carbon emissions and provides clean, reliable, and affordable energy,” he said. “Restricting consumer choice and affordability through this ban will make us more dependent on expensive and unreliable energy sources.”
Bakersfield Californian: County vows new oil review after court defeat (February 27, 2020)
CEO Rock Zierman of the California Independent Petroleum Association called the ruling "a major step backward for environmental protection, energy security and the well-being of Kern County." "The massive mitigation measures the industry took under the ordinance change will now be put on hold," he said by email. "Nobody wins under that scenario."
Bakersfield Californian: Study envisions CO2 reductions without reducing California oil production (02/04/20)
Bay Area scientists have identified a relatively low-cost path for California to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality in 25 years without cutting in-state oil production.
The head of a prominent oil trade group, the California Independent Petroleum Association, responded with an email saying its member companies are looking for ways to make oil production carbon neutral or negative by burying greenhouse gases and promoting use of what he called renewable natural gas. RNG, as that gas is called, comes from dairy digesters and landfills, among other sources.
"While extremists envision a future without California oil," CIPA CEO Rock Zierman wrote, "this report shows how California needs our industry’s proven record on innovation in order to meet the state’s aggressive climate goals."
Bakersfield Californian: State pledges to 'continue to listen' after oil meeting but industry remains skeptical (01/16/20)
The CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group, Rock Zierman, wrote in an email that he thinks Tuesday's meeting and turnout will spur government to cut California's large permit backlog as the state grows ever more reliant on foreign oil.
KERO-TV (ABC – Bakersfield): Hundreds turn out as Governor's office meets with Kern Board of Supervisors about oil (01/14/19)
There was also no shortage of people stepping up to the podium in defense of the oil industry.
“We shouldn’t be talking about getting off of Kern county oil, we should be talking about getting more reliant on Kern County oil, and less reliant on oil that comes from other places," said Rock Zierman, CEO of California Independent Petroleum Association.
Natural Gas Intel: California Governor Asked to Stop Oil, Gas Drilling and End Permitting (01/09/20)
California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman called the activists extremists who care more about “grandstanding than the environment.” He said they should support more in-state production.
“Our members are investing in new technologies to lower the carbon footprint of production to potentially make it carbon negative and offset greenhouse gas emissions from other sources,” Zierman said. Environmental groups “want us to increase our reliance on imported oil from the Middle East, which isn’t produced under our tough environmental rules and must be tankered to our ports.”
KBAK/KBFX-TV (Bakersfield): Military activity in Iraq raises calls to ramp up California oil production (01/08/20)
As Governor Newsom tries to limit oil production in California, conflicts abroad are complicating the process. Just twenty years ago most of California's oil was homegrown. Now about half comes from overseas; a quarter of that is from the Middle East alone.
"I think this should be a wake up call. I think they should be paying attention," Willie Rivera, a spokesman for the California Independent Petroleum Association said. "Extract the resources we have here instead of putting our fate in the hands of folks in the middle east who don't care about California."
Bakersfield Californian: Oil industry resists state regulatory action by making drilling personal (01/03/20)
CIPA spokeswoman Sabrina Lockhart noted the group has actively worked, like KCE, to promote the industry at public meetings, including as county-level government proceedings.
One group it supports is Californians for Energy Independence, a statewide coalition that has pushed back on efforts to restrict domestic oil production, Lockhart said. That group, along with California Energy Workers and Careers in Energy, is intended to do similar work as KCE.
"We also want to make sure that our workers have a way to share their concerns about these policies that would put their jobs at risk," she said.
Heartland Institute: California Governor Bans Oil and Gas Development on State Property (12/27/19)
The law effectively outsources California’s power supply, which will cost the state’s residents and businesses, says Rock Zierman, chief executive officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association.
“As California has recently suffered from forced power outages, now is not the time to eliminate high-paying, desperately needed Central Valley jobs and send our wealth to Saudi Arabia instead,” Zierman said. “If we are consuming oil, it should come from California under California’s strict environmental rules.
“I’m concerned about the tone of the bill signings, which don’t address demand but will simply replace domestic energy with foreign imports,” Zierman said.
CalMatters: Battle lines are drawn over oil drilling in California (12/5/19)
Oil is a commodity, and energy companies make decisions based on the price of a barrel of oil, said Rock Zierman, Chief Executive Officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association.
“There’s some interest,” he said of the proposed new lease areas. “But in our business, you are going to invest your dollars where you can get the best return.” The leases are exploratory, so “there’s less certainty.”
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Panetta aims to block federal plan for Central Coast oil drilling (12/5/19)
A trade-association representing much of the California petroleum industry, meanwhile, contends the legislation would lead to increased reliance on foreign oil.
“California’s reliance on imported oil, mostly from the Middle East, has quintupled in two decades,” said Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, in a statement. “This measure would put our state’s energy security in the hands of countries who do not have our environmental or humanitarian interests in mind.”
AFP): Los Angeles: Hollywood, palm trees and urban oil fields (11/30/19)
Skepticism also runs deep among those in the industry when it comes to warnings by environmentalists about the health hazards posed by urban oil drilling and the 2,500-foot setback buffer proposed.
“There’s no scientific evidence that an arbitrary setback would significantly improve the toughest-on-the-planet regulations Los Angeles producers already follow,” said Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association. “An arbitrary setback amounts to a de facto production ban in Los Angeles. “This would mean thousands of workers would lose good-paying careers, the city would lose tax revenues to solve priorities like homelessness, and it would mean more imported oil from countries who do not honor environmental protections or human rights.”
Desert Sun: Environmental group sues EPA (11/21/19)
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, which includes Sentinel Peak Resources in its membership, called Thursday's lawsuit "frivolous" and contended that it "sets aside" the scientific findings and "discounts public input." "It is a shame that Center for Biological Diversity feels it must counter the sound science of the federal EPA and two separate state agencies who have deemed this aquifer exemption to be appropriate.
The Aquifer Exemption in Arroyo Grande underwent more public hearings than any other exemption in the entire state," he said. "The Arroyo Grande Oil Field will continue to responsibly operate as it has since before CBD filed its first suit on this matter in 2016."
KBAK/KBFX (Bakersfield-TV): Newsom's plan to move away from oil gets split reaction in Kern County (11/21/19)
Willie Rivera of the California Independent Petroleum Association said it might be too soon to tell how Newsom’s plan will impact Kern’s oil industry.
“We’re hoping to get more information. I think we need more information. We need greater clarity, but I think you’ll find the industry is willing to stand by what it does,” Rivera said.
Federal oil lease auctions may soon resume after BLM finds minimal fracking risks in California (11/05/19)
"In California, hydraulic fracturing occurs almost exclusively in mature oil fields in remote parts of western Kern County — nowhere near these federal lands, and that's unlikely to change," Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, said in a written statement.
Natural Gas Intel: California Governor Signs More Legislation to Move State from Fossil Fuels (10/16/19)
Industry sources reacted negatively to the changes, illustrated by California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman, who questioned the timing, given wildfires and other issues facing California.
"If we are consuming oil, it should come from California under California’s strict environmental rules," Zierman told NGI's Shale Daily. "I’m concerned about the tone of the bill signings, which don’t address demand, but will simply replace domestic energy with foreign imports."
Bakersfield Californian: Gavin Newsom reforms oil standards with regulatory changes, appointments (10/15/19)
Oil industry trade groups at once denounced what it saw as the bills' anti-oil tone and noted California's petroleum industrial operates under the world's strictest standards.
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, said by email he was concerned the bills Newsom signed don't address demand for oil and will simply "replace domestic energy with foreign imports."
"As we are suffering from forced power outages, now is not the time to eliminate high-paying, desperately needed Central Valley jobs and send our wealth to Saudi Arabia instead," he wrote. "If we are consuming oil, it should come from California under California’s strict environmental rules."
Bay Area News Group: With California’s high power rates, will all-electric homes be affordable? (October 7, 2019)
But a big question looms as California cities like San Jose, Berkeley and Menlo Park ban natural gas in new homes in a bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming: Will residents get socked with higher electricity bills?
The answer likely is yes, at least in the Bay Area, though it involves a host of assumptions about gas and electricity rates, appliance costs and efficiency and regional differences in energy use, igniting a fierce debate among environmental and industry advocates.
According to the American Gas Association, which represents companies that sell natural gas, U.S. households that use it for heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $874 a year compared with homes using electricity.
“Restricting consumer choice and affordability through this ban will make us more dependent on expensive and unreliable energy sources,” said Rock Zierman, chief executive officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association.
Bakersfield Californian: Federal study finds oilfield activity lowered groundwater quality in western Kern (September 25, 2019)
A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey concludes oilfield activity has lowered the quality of groundwater in western Kern County, making it saltier and possibly affecting nearby irrigation sources but not harming drinking water.
Another oil trade group, the California Independent Petroleum Association, was more critical. Its CEO, Rock Zierman, faulted the methodology Gillespie used, saying the report failed to repeat warnings contained in other studies cited in her work.
He said the report did not consider whether other sources contributed to the elevated salinity. He added that it was unclear why the study did not cite extensive data gathered during the oil fields' history.
"Our heavily regulated industry operates responsibly under the toughest environmental protections in the world," Zierman said by email. "We support increased regulations when supported by strong science, but these overly generalized conclusions deserve further study rather than broad conclusions that will only result in unfounded public fear and confusion."
Natural Gas Intel: California's Anti-Fossil Fuel Debate Intensifies and Takes Different Forms (September 23, 2019)
California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman argues that state policies that limit oil/gas production ultimately hurt California residents through higher energy costs and less tax revenues for public programs to serve communities. "It makes sense for the economy and the environment to keep production in California under the toughest regulations on the planet," Zierman told NGI.
"All of the oil currently produced in California is used in California, but it is still not enough to meet our vast energy needs. More than half the oil used in California comes from overseas imports, mainly Saudi Arabia," said Zierman, adding that recent events in the Middle East "shows the negative impact of leaving our state's energy security to geopolitical forces in other countries."
The California Independent Petroleum Association criticized the legislation as ambiguous.
CEO Rock Zierman said California’s lands commission “could determine an extension or renewal is a new lease and deny it on those grounds alone...Eliminating existing facilities increases imported foreign oil, eliminates jobs, reduces state tax revenues, while having no environmental benefits."
California lawmakers challenge Trump’s bid to expand oil drilling and fracking statewide (September 10, 2019)
Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) accused the bill’s supporters of trying to put California’s oil and gas industry out of business, saying the legislation will have an especially harsh impact on the Central Valley.
“This is a blatant attack on the oil industry,” said Grove, whose district is in the heart of California oil country.
Grove and other critics said curtailing oil production in California will only lead to an increase in oil imports from outside areas that don’t have the state’s strict regulations and environmental protections.
The bill would increase the demand for foreign oil, eliminate jobs and will have no environmental benefits, said Sabrina Lockhart, spokeswoman for the California Independent Petroleum Assn., which represents approximately 500 independent crude oil and natural gas producers, royalty owners and other industry-related companies in the state.
While the legislation provides an exemption for existing leases for oil pipelines and other infrastructure that cross state lands, the petroleum association says it is not ironclad. The State Lands Commission has the authority to determine what a new lease is, and could classify a renewal application as a new lease and deny it, Lockhart said.
KQED Radio (San Francisco): Safety, Competition Concerns Raised Over Proposed Sale of Major California Oil Pipeline (June 24, 2019)
CIPA CEO Rock Zierman says his association supports the deal - his association just wants to make sure its members don't lose out.
"It is of significant interest to CIPA members that the transaction results in fair and reasonable rates and competitive conditions of operation for California's petroleum pipelines," Zierman said.
"The goal of the protest is for the CPUC to grant 'party status' to CIPA so that independent producers can ensure their interests are heard during the transaction process," he said.
Natural Gas Intel: California Oil, Gas Setback Proposal Dies in Committee (May 17, 2019)
The Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee voted out the measure on a 7-3 vote but it failed to advance further.
California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman said the legislature’s economic analysis had found the bill would cost the state up to $3.5 billion in lost tax revenue and expose it to significant litigation costs on an annual basis.
"A half-mile setback has no basis in science,” he said. “It’s simply an end run to ban production in California.”
KGO-TV (San Francisco): Trump administration wants to sell oil drilling leases in East Bay (May 10, 2019)
But in a statement Friday, the California Independent Petroleum Association had this response, "Resuming federal lease sales will attract additional capital to California that is currently invested outside the state, creating additional good-paying California jobs that often don't require a college degree."
Ventura County Star: 45-day moratorium on drilling of certain oil wells passes (April 25, 2019)
More than 100 people turned out for the hearing in Ventura. Speakers from petroleum, business and taxpayer groups said the move was unsupported by research and unnecessary.
“We feel the science is sorely lacking,” said Willie Rivera of the California Independent Petroleum Association, a trade group. Several geologists testifying on behalf of the industry said that research shows groundwater supplies are safe in Ventura County.
Natural Gas Intel: California (Again) Considering Oil, Gas Severance Tax (February 14, 2019)
California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman called SB 246 "recycled from more than a dozen failed past attempts" and based on a "myth about tax equity." Ultimately, he said, the proposed tax would be passed on to consumers and hurt working families.