Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pico Well No. 4

Los Angeles County, August 8, 1994

Following the signs from Pico Canyon Road off I-5 past the little park, there’s a fork, and going left, the service road winds its way to the neglected well site that once was the pride of Pico Canyon. Just capped pipe barely above ground bordered by state and national historic landmarks, that at best would be seen by the occasional hiker.

Still producing in 1961

Late in 1876, Alex Mentry bored down an additional 300 feet and produced a gusher that hit the top of the 65 foot derrick, and it settled into a production of 150 barrels a day from 25, making further drilling and production in Pico Canyon possible. They finally capped No. 4 in 1990 after a 114 year run, making it the longest continually producing well in the world. In the seating arrangement for state and national historic landmarks, Pico Well No. 4 sits in the right field bleachers.

Access closed on day of visit

Plaque inscription: NO. 516 WELL, CSO 4 (PICO 4) - On this site stands CSO-4 (Pico No. 4), California's first commercially productive well. It was spudded in early 1876 under direction of Demetrious G. Scofield who later became the first president of Standard Oil Company of California, and was completed at a depth of 300 feet on September 26, 1876, for an initial flow of 30 barrels of oil a day. Later that year, after the well was deepened to 600 feet with what was perhaps the first steam rig employed in oil well drilling in California, it produced at a rate of 150 barrels a day - it is still producing after 77 years (1953). The success of this well prompted formation of the Pacific Coast Oil Company, a predecessor of Standard Oil Company of California, and led to the construction of the state's first refinery nearby. It was not only the discovery well of the Newhall Field, but was a powerful stimulus to the subsequent development of the California petroleum industry.
Location: On W Pico Canyon Rd, 3.3 mi W of I-5, Newhall
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: SAN FERNANDO
Google maps: 34.373031,-118.626267

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