By Arlene Martinez, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ventura Oil Field is turning is 100 years old, and it's celebrating by inviting the community to its headquarters.
It's the first time the general public has been invited to Aera Energy, company officials said. Aera, jointly owned by Shell and Exxon Mobil, has operated under that name since 1997.
"It's an opportunity for us to open our doors to our neighbors, and give them background about our business and how we do things," public affairs specialist Michele Newell said.
Though the original owners first started working in the field in 1885, the year 1916 "represents the first commercially viable well that was drilled here in the Ventura field," she said.
The well produced 100 barrels per day. Today, Aera covers 4,300 acres and produces more than 13,000 barrels of crude oil and 7.5 million cubic feet of natural gas every day out of 414 wells.
Those who attend Saturday's event can ask questions about how the company operates, the local geology, environmental stewardship, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other issues or concerns. It's also a way for the company to clarify what it does and doesn't do.
Aera does very little fracking, for example, largely because the region's geology isn't well-suited to it, Newell said.
There is no fracking planned this year, none done last year and just three wells were fracked in 2014, she said.
All are invited to Saturday's free event.
"We have some world-class processes that we would really like to share with our neighbors," Newell said.
Doors open at 10 a.m. at the Shell Club House, which is at 600 Shell Road just north of Ventura city limits. Aera's Chief Executive Officer Christina Sistrunk will be at the event. Light refreshments will be served.