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Long Beach's Bubblin' Crude Could Be Worth $280 Million To City

An oil field beneath Long Beach could be worth $280 million to the city over the next 10 years. It's almost as if Jed Clampett himself shot a hole in the ground near the city's port, in an area know as the Wilmington Oil Field.

The projections were reported over the weekend in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, which stated that the city could split profits from future drilling with Occidental Petroleum if a deal is struck with company to find all the black bubbly that experts think is there. Occidental would take about $240 million over the decade to do it's part: extract black gold.

"In terms of actual revenue that will fund general fund requirements, additional police, additional recreation, there's nothing like this that I know of," Mayor Bob Foster told the Press-Telegram. "If you could see additional revenue without significant environmental impact, why wouldn't you do it?"

Occidental says it will take a $50 million investment in equipment and manpower at the site to grab the oil, so it wants a long-term contract with the city, which runs much of the site for the state as a trustee. As a result, A lion's share of the city's cut, $150 million, would have to go to its Tidelands Fund for such things as coastal development and lifeguards. Environmentalists, nonetheless, are concerned that extracting oil will pump noxious air over the coastal area.

What's more, nothing's ever a done deal when it comes to Long Beach. The city is famous for letting big projects slip through its hands, from a proposed Disney park there in 1992 to a Tesla car factory today (the mayor of Downey has claimed near-victory, although Long Beach has upped the ante and is still in the running).

The deal would also need state approval.


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