Oil on Refugio State Park beach on May 19, 2015. Source: US Coast Guard

Hunterbrook Capital went short $SOC. This is not investment advice. Positions may change after publication. See full disclaimer below.

On April 23, Santa Barbara County Senior Planner Jacquelynn Ybarra sent Sable Offshore Corp. (NYSE: $SOC) a letter determining that the company’s March 14 submission for transfer of ownership from Exxon (NYSE: $XOM) was incomplete. 

The letter was uploaded by Santa Barbara County at 1:16 p.m. this afternoon.

Sable needs the permit to take ownership of the offshore oil and gas Santa Ynez platforms and associated infrastructure it bought from Exxon on February 14. Sable told investors as recently as April 12 that it intends to start production by October. The last transfer of ownership approval from Santa Barbara County for some of the pipelines connected to Santa Ynez took 10 months — from the time of initial submission to acceptance.

In the County’s letter, Ybarra identified at least 18 items that Sable needed to update or provide in order for the County to consider whether Sable can safely operate the complex ranging from financial guarantees and federal safety audits to emergency response plans and “operator capability,” according to the letter. Sable has 30 days to provide the requested information.

As Hunterbrook Media reported on April 17, Sable is facing a tight deadline to meet its forecast of returning Santa Ynez to production by October. While this development may only immediately set the company’s timeline back a month, it could be representative of questions the County has about Sable’s ability to fulfill its obligations related to “decommissioning, site remediation, or restoration,” as well as “oil spill or natural resource damages,” among other issues flagged in the County’s response.

Sable did not immediately return Hunterbrook Media’s request for comment.

Daniel Sherwood joined Hunterbrook from The Capitol Forum, a premium subscription financial publication, where he was an Editor & Senior Correspondent, writing and managing market-moving investigative reports and building the Upstream database. Prior to The Capitol Forum, Daniel has experience conducting undercover investigations into fossil fuel companies and other research. He also served as an Honors Law Clerk in the Criminal Enforcement Division of the EPA. He has a JD from Michigan State University. Daniel is based in Michigan.


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