Oil Well Information

History of Oil in Signal Hill

The 2.25 square mile city of Signal Hill lies within the Long Beach Oil Field. The City’s legacy of oil production began in 1919 when oil was first discovered. The Long Beach Field is termed a mega giant field. It is the eighth-largest by cumulative production in California, and although now largely depleted, still officially retains around 5 million barrels of recoverable oil.

The field was enormously productive in the 1920s, with hundreds of oil derricks covering Signal Hill and adjacent parts of Long Beach. Even with the dramatic land use changes over the decades since its discovery, it remains moderately productive, with oil wells and oilfield infrastructure intermixed with commercial and residential development.

Black and white image of an oil field

Maintenance / Nuisance Issues

Under the City of Signal Hill Oil Code, oil operators are responsible for maintaining their oil wells without operational nuisances to neighbors. If you are experiencing a noise or odor issue, begin by contacting the oil operator. A contact phone number is required to be posted at each well, and operators will attend to maintenance issues immediately. After contacting the oil operator, you can also send a notification email to the Community Development Department. The Oil Services Coordinator will follow up with the oil operator to ensure that your concern has been addressed. Please note that City offices are not staffed 24 hours a day. Business hours are Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Location of Oil Wells

Oil wells are an important consideration when developing in the City of Signal Hill. Active or inactive oil wells located on your property or on neighboring properties may affect what can be developed because of fire code access and setback requirements. Most remaining vacant land in the city is vacant because of related oil well issues.

The California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) maintains a map showing the general location of wells as well as files containing survey coordinates for locating wells.