Offshore drilling began in California in 1896, when operators in the Summerland Oil Field in Santa Barbara County followed the field into the ocean by drilling from piers built out over the ocean. At least 187 offshore oil wells were drilled in the Summerland Field by 1902. A number of other coastal fields were extended offshore in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange counties, usually by directional drilling.
The Wilmington Oil Field in Los Angeles and Long Beach was extended offshore into Long Beach Harbor by drilling numerous wells directionally from four artificial islands in the harbor. The THUMS artificial islands, owned by the City of Long Beach, are landscaped with palm trees.
Oil derricks line the coast of Venice, California. 1920.
Huntington Beach, circa 1930s.
A forest of oil derricks sprouts up on the Signal Hill oil field, Long Beach, California, in 1937.
An oilfield in Venice, California. 1930.
Goats near an oilfield in Huntington Beach. 1937.
Sunnyside Cemetery in Long Beach. 1937.
Oil derricks on Huntington Beach. 1937.
Cars travel through the Venice oilfield. 1937.
Laundry dries on a clothesline near the Venice oilfield.
A couple on Huntington Beach. 1937.
Oil derricks and bathers on Huntington Beach. 1937.
The Signal Hill oilfield in southern California. 1930.
Sunbathers on Huntington Beach. 1937.
The coast along the Venice oilfield, in what is now Marina del Rey. 1937.
Oil derricks line a road outside Los Angeles. 1930.
Oil wells near La Habra, Orange County, 1920s.
Oil derricks extending into the Pacific at Summerland Beach near Santa Barbara. 1903.
Oil fire on Signal Hill, July 15, 1924.