Oil Seeps Scientific Review

We undertook a scientific review that will inform California State Lands Commission's marine oil and gas lease decision-making.


The California State Lands Commission (CSLC) has asked the Ocean Science Trust to coordinate an independent scientific review of a technical report that summarizes existing literature and scientific information linking oil production with natural oil seep activity. The report under review – “South Ellwood Natural Oil and Gas Seeps Technical Memorandum” – will be part of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to inform CSLC decision-making about whether to amend a State Oil and Gas Lease that would allow the requesting company Venoco to implement the South Ellwood Field Project.

Ocean Science Trust coordinated all aspects of the review process, which took place September 2015 through January 2016. Reviewer names were kept anonymous to CSLC and the public throughout (i.e., a single blind review).


Reviewers conducted an assessment of whether:

  • the scientific information presented within the report is sound and reasonable,
  • the relevant science included in the report is comprehensive and representative of existing knowledge in this field of research; and,
  • the conclusions and interpretations drawn in the report are appropriate given the available scientific information.


A brief public summary of the process and resulting reviewer assessments is now available here, intended for inclusion in the EIR documentation. Following the scientific review, the information contained within the technical memorandum under review may be integrated into the draft EIR.

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