Oily Surf City USA THE OIL EMPIRE THAT CREATED THE SITE OF THE US OPEN

The Californian lifestyle is synonymous with the seaside city of Huntington Beach that is apart of famous Orange County, California. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and featuring over 8 miles of beautiful coastline with some of the best beaches in the world, Huntington Beach has earned the nickname (legally in court battles) of Surf City USA.

The Tongva people of originally occupied the area of Huntington Beach and the Europeans settled the area in 1784, under the direction of Spanish soldier Manuel Nieto. Rancho Los Nietos was born, a large cattle ranch that created the main thoroughfare of Beach Boulevard as a part of a cattle route. The city rotated through various names including: Shell Beach, the town Smeltzer, then Gospel Swamp, Fairview and Pacific City (name of the new retail center). The city finally found its permanent name when railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington bought up much of the land and became a city whose name has been written into corporate sponsorship/boosterism.

Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway intersection, site of HB Pier

As the Huntington Beach Oil Field expanded, the homes in that area that stood in the path of drawing oil from the ground were physically relocated north 6 miles (9.7 km) in 1921-1922 to lots in Midway City, California. In addition, the discovery led to the development of the oceanfront community of Sunset Beach, California, which was established in 1905. As of 2000, Huntington Beach had produced over a billion barrels of oil and 845 billion cf of natural gas. In 2013, the USGS estimated that the Huntington Beach oilfield could produce an additional 117 to 866 million barrels of oil, with their best estimate being 370 million barrels. It is unlikely that all of this oil could be produced, given the location. Current value of this estimate of potential oil, if it was produced, would be about $37 billion, at $100/bbl

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However, the vibrant tourism industry and surfer culture has taken over the Huntington Beach economy, claiming that the oil rigs offshore and throughout the city are eyesores on a beautiful landscape. Conservationists are also fighting to remove the oil rigs and are combining with real estate developers who believe that the removal of the oil rigs will raise property value in a city looking to compete with neighbors like Newport Beach, Dana Point and Laguna Beach. What is the fate of the oil industry that built my lovely hometown? As a resident I can't say, but I'm a part of the majority when I say that I believe that the sooner the rigs leave, the better.

http://www.ocregister.com/2016/12/20/california-sues-to-block-offshore-oil-fracking/

http://www.ocregister.com/2016/08/24/500-million-project-plans-to-turn-huntington-beach-oil-tank-farm-into-housing-businesses/

Credits:

Created with images by thelocalhb - "sunset huntington beach oil rig" • RWamsat - "surfer pier huntington beach" • Orange County Archives - "Foot of the Huntington Beach Pier, 1910s" • PublicDomainPictures - "sunset couple stroll"

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