The Air Force plans to study the feasibility of extracting oil and gas off the coast of Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California.
If officials determine that extended reach drilling is feasible and is compatible with the base’s mission, the Air Force would enter into an enhanced use lease with a company interested in pursuing the production rights, reported the Santa Maria Times.
The study, expected to take two to three months to complete, would assess the viability of using “slant drilling” to reach offshore oil deposits. Vandenberg currently has five active wells on the installation.
The Air Force’s primary concern is whether drilling would interfere with the base’s space and launch missions. County Supervisor Doreen Farr told the paper that she’s concerned about the location of drilling and its environmental impact. The base has environmental programs to protect 17 threatened and endangered species.