Placerita Canyon Photos

TAFT, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 12, 1999--Berry Petroleum Co. (NYSE:BRY) Friday announced that it has completed its acquisition of the Placerita, Calif., oilfield from Aera Energy LLC for $35 million in cash. The effective date of the transaction was Dec. 31, 1998. The properties comprise eight leases totaling approximately 700 acres, which are currently producing approximately 2,800 net barrels per day of 13 degree gravity crude oil from 120 producing wells and 56 continuous steam injectors. Berry estimates the proved reserves at approximately 20 million barrels of which 65 percent are developed. The acquisition also includes a 42 megawatt cogeneration facility which generates electricity sold to a major utility and which provides approximately 13,500 barrels of steam per day for injection into the oil reservoir.

On the Linn Energy website:
"On February 20, 2013, Berry, LinnCo and LINN entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger, which was subsequently amended on November 3, 2013 and November 13, 2013 (as so amended, the "merger agreement") providing for the acquisition of Berry by LinnCo through a stock-for-stock merger and the subsequent contribution of Berry to LINN in exchange for newly issued LINN units. At closing, Berry will be converted to a limited liability company named Berry Petroleum, LLC and will remain an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of LINN Energy."

May 11, 2016: Wall Street Journal reports that Linn Energy LLC filed for bankruptcy. They had previously warned of a possible Chapter 11. They were $9.3 billon in debt at the end of 2015.
May 13, 2016: Bloomberg reports that the Berry Company noteholders will make Berry Company a stand-alone company again after Linn's bankruptcy filing.
February 28, 2017: Two separate companies emerge from Linn's bankruptcy - Linn Energy and Berry Petroleum. Berry will become an independent company.

The York lease is located south of Placerita Canyon Road

Looking west from Sierra Highway down Quigley Canyon, just north of Placerita Canyon. (photo date 1/24/2015)

Looking east down Quigley Canyon with Sierra Highway in the distance. The big pipe in the foreground is the Quigley Canyon siphon of the first Los Angeles Aqueduct. This siphon is 612 feet in length and 11 feet in diameter. The total cost was $9,629 and was completed sometime in the 12 months before June 30, 1912. (photo date 8/12/2015)

Linn has drilled new wells and cleaned out old ones. New well being drilled on the south side of Golden Valley Road. (photo date 7/6/2013)

More drilling on the same well in 2015. (photo date 1/24/2015)

Workover rig at pump site in Placerita Canyon. (photo date 8/10/2015)

Workover rigs are not the only technology being used in the Placerita Field on the existings wells. Here is a CT (coiled tube) truck along with other trucks needed for the work that they are doing on a well site in Quigley Canyon just past the end of the canyon trail there. I do not know what they are actually doing. CT trucks were used in Elsmere Canyon to clean out the wells there that were capped in 2011. (photo date 6/12/2015)

Closer view of the CT truck (in front) at work (photo date 8/12/2015)

Linn has also replaced some pumps. Double pumps on west side of Sierra Highway. There used to be only one pump here when Berry was in control. (photo date 1/23/2015)

This is the cogeneration facility in Placerita Canyon (image from 2004 Berry Petroleum Company presentation). Cogeneration produces steam and electricity from natural gas. Berry sells the electricity to either Edison or PG&E. From the 2013 SEC form 10-K (filed 3/31/2014):

"The Company believes one of the primary methods to keep steam costs low is through the ownership and efficient operation of three cogeneration facilities located on its properties. These cogeneration facilities include a 38 megawatt (“MW”) facility and an 18 MW facility located in the Midway-Sunset Field and a 42 MW facility located in the Placerita Field. Cogeneration, also called combined heat and power, extracts energy from the exhaust of a turbine to produce steam and increases the efficiency of the combined process consuming less fuel."

This flat area east of the Nature Center was part of the New Century Oil Company claim and contained at least one, and maybe more, wells. Placerita Canyon Road in the distance. (photo date 5/20/2012)

Here is one of the wells. It was exposed by the landowner (this is on private property). I am not sure what well this was. It may be a New Century well (of which there were four), but other wells were drilled in this area in later years. (photo date 6/2/2012)

Old wellhead high up a cliff above the Canyon Trail. This is probably a Freeman & Nelson White Oil Company well. Landslides have removed the well pad and exposed the pipe. (photo date 7/17/2012)

From the previous wellhead, looking down at the trail with Placerita Canyon Road in the distance. (photo date 3/9/2013)

This well was also exposed by the landowner. This is also on the old Freeman & Nelson White Oil Company claim. (photo date 3/9/2013)

Another old well on the old Freeman & Nelson White Oil Company claim. On top is a Myers Bulldozer Working Head water pump. The question is whether the pump was used to extract water or crude oil. Many wells became flooded with water and were used as water wells (for example, see the below Townsend-Allen 1 well). However, the white oil from this area was famous for being pure, kerosene-like. And the pump was advertised that it could also be used for oil (see below). The Los Angeles & Kern Oil Mining Company leased the Freeman & Nelson White claim in 1912. They did drill one well. There is a good chance that they used the water from this well for their boiler, but it is also possible that they tried to extract the white oil. Either way, they failed. No well in the white oil district in Placerita Canyon was commercially successful. (photo date 3/9/2013)

Closer view showing an April 30, 1901, patent date on the air chamber. Here is a PDF of the patent. (photo date 3/9/2013)

Oddly, on the back of the air chamber there is an August 1, 1899, patent. Maybe that is suppose to be the date the patent was applied for. (photo date 3/9/2013)

Another close up. (photo date 3/9/2013)

Here is how the complete pump looks like. Part of ad from Gas Power magazine of January 1911 (p. 98). Obviously, there are some missing parts on the pump we see today. In particular, the two pitmen are missing (see patent). The pitmen connect the two geared wheels with the connecting crosshead (the horizontal bar on near the top). As the geared wheels turn, the pitmen go up and down pushing and pulling the crosshead up and down. The piston rod is connected to the middle of the crosshead and powers the pump.

Although this is a water pump, it could also pump oil with a change of parts. From an old Myers catalog "...can be furnished for handling crude oil, kerosene or gasoline by fitting it with brass valves and canvas plungers."

This is well Townsend-Allen 1 (037-20985). Charles C. Townsend started drilling on January 14, 1970, and stopped on July 23, 1970, when the tools became stuck. The total depth was 1601 feet. The tools could not be fished out so the hole had to be abandoned. The well was converted to a water well per the request of the land owner, Milton A. Allen, so it was never capped. Another well (Tommy Walker 1) was drilled about 20 feet to the west of this one. It was dry. (photo date 7/13/2012)

Here is an abandoned portable workover rig very near the Townsend-Allen 1 well. It is unknown why Charles Townsend abandoned it. (photo date 2/16/2013)

This portable rig can be seen from one of the trails in upper Placerita Canyon. (photo date 2/16/2013)

You can hike right up to it (beware of ticks). (photo date 2/16/2013)

At the wellhead. This well was illegally drilled by Charles C. Townsend in the 1970's and has no records on file at the DOGGR. However, DOGGR does know about it and calls it Charles Townsend Well No. 1. They do not know the well's location. Why the well was abandoned is a mystery. It looks like everything to drill a well is still there. (photo date 2/16/2013)

This is a rotary machine, the fundamental unit in the rotary system of drilling oil wells. There is also a pump, engine for a pump, a tank, and a large number of sucker rods at the site. (photo date 2/16/2013)

Outcrops of gneiss are very common along the Nature Center trails. Other metamorphic rocks can also be found. (photo date 5/25/2012)

Frank Walker used pieces of gneiss to construct this fireplace seen by the Canyon Trail. (photo date 5/25/2012)

Gneiss boulder next to trail.

Large boulder of white marble. (a metamorphic rock)

Schist (a metamorphic rock) with unusual brown color. Dimensions are about 4in x 6in.

On Placerita Canyon Road west of the Nature Center turnout. This and the next three photos are mapped as Saugus formation by Dibblee. His maps are the latest (1991,1996).

On Placerita Canyon Road west of the Nature Center turnout.

On Placerita Canyon Road east of Nature Center turnout.

On Placerita Canyon Road east of Nature Center turnout.