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|Limited Liability Company|
|Industry||Oil and gas|
Bakersfield, California, United States
|Christina S. Sistrunk
|Products||Petroleum, natural gas|
Number of employees
|Parent||Shell Oil Company
Aera Energy LLC (Aera) is a natural gas, oil exploration and production company jointly owned by Shell Oil Company and ExxonMobil headquartered in Bakersfield, California. In addition, Aera Energy LLC is a California limited liability company, and one of California's largest oil and natural gas producers, with an approximate 2015 revenues of over $2 billion. Aera is operated as a stand-alone company through its board of managers.1
Most of Aera's production is located in the San Joaquin Valley. The company also has oil field operations in Ventura, Monterey and Fresno counties and has begun the permitting process to redevelop the East Cat Canyon oilfield in northern Santa Barbara County. Aera produces approximately 126,300 barrels of oil and 32 million cubic feet of natural gas each day, and has proved oil and natural gas reserves equivalent to approximately 536 million barrels of oil. Aera produces nearly 25 percent of California's oil and natural gas.
The work force needs of Aera are provided by Aera Energy Services Company (Aera Services), a Delaware corporation. Aera and Aera Services employ about 1,370 people and hundreds of contractor companies.
The company began operating as Aera Energy LLC on June 1, 1997, and consists of the California onshore and offshore exploration and production assets previously operated by CalResources LLC (a former Shell affiliate), Mobil Exploration & Producing US Inc. (now an ExxonMobil affiliate), and ARCO.
The Coles Levee Ecosystem Preserve, located about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Bakersfield, consists of 6,059 acres (24.52 km2) of habitat.6 More than a dozen rare, threatened and endangered birds, animals and plant life can be found in the preserve. The preserve encompasses the last two miles (3 km) of riparian habitat along the Kern River, where it drains into Buena Vista Lake.
Established in 1992 by ARCO and the California Department of Fish and Game, the preserve was acquired by Aera in 1998. The preserve is largely riparian habitat and is surrounded by active oil fields (the North Coles Levee Oil Field and South Coles Levee Oil Field, as well as the Elk Hills Oil Field to the west, operated by California Resources Corporation.7
As oil and gas production declines in the Los Angeles Basin, Aera is planning to develop some property holdings in Orange and Los Angeles counties for residential, commercial, and recreation uses while setting aside large portions of its property as natural open space.
The master planned community of Vista Del Verde, Aera's first real estate development, followed the decommissioning and cleanup of the 850-acre (3.4 km2) Yorba Linda oil field. The community includes housing, parks, an elementary school, and a city-owned golf course, Black Gold Golf Club. As part of the development, Aera added more than 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of adjacent, company-owned land to the Chino Hills State Park, and provided funding for the restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of native habitats within the park.
Two additional real estate projects are being planned. The Aera Master Planned Community would develop approximately 3,000 acres (12 km2) of company-owned land in unincorporated Los Angeles and Orange counties, approximately where the county line intersects the Orange Freeway (SR-57). Part of the larger Brea-Olinda Oil Field, the property has been used for oil operations dating back to the 1890s and cattle grazing operations since the 1850s. Aera is pursuing approvals to develop this property for residential and commercial uses while devoting more than 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) to recreation uses and open space restoration. The project will also preserve and enhance a wildlife corridor to improve regional open space connectivity.
Additionally, Aera owns a 50 percent interest in approximately 400 acres (1.6 km2) known as the Newport Banning Ranch property on the western edge of the city of Newport Beach. Aera is a participant in Newport Banning Ranch, LLC, which has submitted a proposal to build 1,375 homes, parks, a coastal inn, and a small commercial center on about 153 acres (0.62 km2) of the site, while preserving and restoring more than 55 percent of the property for open space and wildlife habitat uses. The project would remove oil facilities and restore the surface of most of the oil operations areas on the property, consolidating the remaining oil operations to two sites totaling about 20 acres (81,000 m2).
Counting current plans and proposals in Orange and southeastern Los Angeles Counties, Aera estimates that about two-thirds of the original land position held by Aera and its predecessors in these areas has been or will ultimately be devoted to park, recreation or open space uses.
Nearly all large-scale projects proposed in metropolitan Southern California encounter opposition from neighbors and environmental groups, who often have competing visions for a given piece of property. Aera's projects are no exception. Opponents have raised environmental concerns and argued that new development will place an unacceptable strain on local water supplies, transportation infrastructure, schools and other public services.7
The projects are currently being examined under the California Environmental Quality Act, which provides a detailed process to examine projects, solicit input from a broad spectrum of individuals and public agencies, and give all stakeholders a voice in shaping projects prior to approval.
In 2002 Aera's Belridge Producing Complex won the prestigious North American Maintenance Excellence (NAME) Award for its maintenance and reliability program and results. 8 In 2004 Aera's North Midway Sunset Unit was awarded a NAME Award.8 Aera is the first oil exploration and production company to win the award previously given only to manufacturing organizations. In 2011 Aera's development team was awarded the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Manufacturing Excellence Award. Aera is the first energy company to receive the award.9