Aera Energy LLC
Type Limited Liability Company
Industry Oil and gas
Founded 1997 (1997)
Headquarters California, USA
Aera Oaks,
Bakersfield, California, USA
Area served California
Key people Gaurdie Banister
Products Petroleum, natural gas, and other petrochemicals
Employees 1,200

Aera Energy LLC (Aera) is a oil and natural gas exploration and production company jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil, headquartered is in Bakersfield, California and operated as a stand-alone company through its own board of directors. Most of Aera’s production is centered in the San Joaquin Valley. The company also has oil field operations in the L.A. Basin and in Ventura and Monterey Counties. It produces approximately 148,000 barrels of oil and 42 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, accounting for about 25 percent of the state’s production.

Business areas

Aera Energy LLC, a California limited liability company, is one of California’s largest oil and natural gas producers, with an approximate 2010 revenues of approximately $4 billion.1

Most of Aera’s production is located in the San Joaquin Valley. The company also has oil field operations in the Los Angeles Basin and in Ventura and Monterey counties. Aera produces approximately 148,000 barrels of oil1 and 42 million cubic feet of natural gas each day1, and has proved oil and natural gas reserves equivalent to approximately 756 million barrels of oil.1 Aera produces about 25 percent of California’s oil and natural gas.2 Aera is the number one privately-held oil and natural gas company in the nation.3

The work force needs of Aera are provided by Aera Energy Services Company (Aera Services), a Delaware corporation. Aera and Aera Services provide employment for more than 1,200 people and hundreds of contractor companies.1

The company began operating as Aera Energy LLC on June 1, 1997 and consists of the California onshore and offshore exploration and production assets previously operated by CalResources LLC (a former Shell affiliate), Mobil Exploration & Producing U.S. Inc. (now an ExxonMobil affiliate), and ARCO.1

The California-based refining, retail petroleum marketing and pipeline operations of Shell and ExxonMobil are not included in Aera.1

Business relationships

  • Aera Energy LLC owns and operates the oil and natural gas producing assets.1
  • Aera Energy Services Company provides the work force for Aera Energy LLC.1
  • Mobil California Exploration & Producing Asset Company (now an Exxon Mobil affiliate) contributed its assets to Aera as part of a merger with CalResources LLC effective June 1, 1997.1
  • ARCO traded California oil and natural gas production assets to Mobil which contributed those assets to Aera Energy LLC.1
  • Shell is the majority (52 percent) owner of Aera.1
  • ExxonMobil is the minority (48 percent) owner of Aera.1
  • Toll Brothers is a home builder for Aera's Vista del Verde real estate development in Yorba Linda, CA.4
  • The PACE labor union represents some Aera employees.5

Other business interests

Coles Levee Ecosystem Preserve

The Coles Levee Ecosystem Preserve, located about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Bakersfield, consists of 6,059 acres (24.52 km2) of habitat.6 More than a dozen rare, threatened and endangered birds, animals and plant life can be found in the preserve. The preserve encompasses the last two miles (3 km) of riparian habitat along the Kern River, where it drains into Buena Vista Lake.

Established in 1992 by ARCO and the California Department of Fish and Game, the preserve was acquired by Aera in 1998. The preserve is largely riparian habitat and is surrounded by active oil fields (the North Coles Levee Oil Field and South Coles Levee Oil Field, as well as the Elk Hills Oil Field to the west, operated by Occidental Petroleum).7

Real estate development

As oil and gas production declines in the Los Angeles Basin, Aera is planning to develop some property holdings in Orange and Los Angeles counties for residential, commercial, and recreation uses while setting aside large portions of its property as natural open space.

The master planned community of Vista Del Verde, Aera’s first real estate development, followed the decommissioning and clean up of the 850-acre (3.4 km2) Yorba Linda oil field. The community includes housing, parks, an elementary school, and a city-owned golf course, Black Gold Golf Club. As part of the development, Aera added more than 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of adjacent, company-owned land to the Chino Hills State Park, and provided funding for the restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of native habitats within the park.

Two additional real estate projects are being planned. The Aera Master Planned Community would develop approximately 3,000 acres (12 km2) of company-owned land in unincorporated Los Angeles and Orange counties, approximately where the county line intersects the Orange Freeway (SR-57). Part of the larger Brea-Olinda Oil Field, the property has been used for oil operations dating back to the1890s and cattle grazing operations since the 1850s. Aera is pursuing approvals to develop this property for residential and commercial uses while devoting more than 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) to recreation uses and open space restoration. The project will also preserve and enhance a wildlife corridor to improve regional open space connectivity.

Additionally, Aera owns a 50 percent interest in approximately 400 acres (1.6 km2) known as the Newport Banning Ranch property on the western edge of the city of Newport Beach. Aera is a participant in Newport Banning Ranch, LLC, which has submitted a proposal to build 1,375 homes, parks, a coastal inn, and a small commercial center on about 153 acres (0.62 km2) of the site, while preserving and restoring more than 55 percent of the property for open space and wildlife habitat uses. The project would remove oil facilities and restore the surface of most of the oil operations areas on the property, consolidating the remaining oil operations to two sites totaling about 20 acres (81,000 m2).

Counting current plans and proposals in Orange and southeastern Los Angeles Counties, Aera estimates that about two-thirds of the original land position held by Aera and its predecessors in these areas has been or will ultimately be devoted to park, recreation or open space uses.

Nearly all large-scale projects proposed in metropolitan Southern California encounter opposition from neighbors and environmental groups, who often have competing visions for a given piece of property. Aera’s projects are no exception. Opponents have raised environmental concerns and argued that new development will place an unacceptable strain on local water supplies, transportation infrastructure, schools and other public services.7

The projects are currently being examined under the California Environmental Quality Act, which provides a detailed process to examine projects, solicit input from a broad spectrum of individuals and public agencies, and give all stakeholders a voice in shaping projects prior to approval.

Several websites (see external links below) have been created to inform the public of the positions of both sides.

Demonstration project at an Aera site

Global Greensteam is in the testing phase of a demonstration biomass-to-steam project at Aera’s Belridge field. Upon successful completion of the demonstration and Aera’s decision to proceed, Greensteam will commence construction of 10 full-scale commercial units that will replace 20 natural gas-fired steam generators. The project will reduce steam generation operating costs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.


In 2002 Aera's Belridge Producing Complex won the prestigious North American Maintenance Excellence (NAME) Award for its maintenance and reliability program and results.8 In 2004 Aera's North Midway Sunset Unit was awarded a NAME Award.8 Aera is the first oil exploration and production company to win the award previously given only to manufacturing organizations.


External links