The Ventura Oil Refinery in California fell into decline and disrepair when the nearby wells that fed it started to dry up. Today, the site is a rusting industrial city with processions of enormous above ground reservoirs and oxidized distillation towers. Bundles of pipe in every diameter crisscross the property, sometimes running twenty feet overhead before plunging deep into the Earth. The whole place smells faintly of the petroleum derivatives that permeate the ground.
Individuals who fancy themselves urban explorers often visit the site, even though it is technically trespassing. Many photographers venture in its wonders seeking to capture the rustic scenery, also a short film was shot at this location in 2011. A large chain link fence surrounds the property in an attempt to keep people out, but it too is rusted and deteriorated in many places; it’s easy to get through or around. Once inside, it’s clear why the powers that be don’t want unwelcome visitors: a lot of the existing platforms are rickety and could prove dangerous.
Update: As of June 2017, most of the property has been demolished. Only a few buildings and two small tanks remain.
Visit California withAtlas Obscura Trips
L.A. Science Weekend: Natural History and Space
Join New York Times Journeys and Atlas Obscura for three days of scientific learning in Los Angeles, focused on natural history and zoology or space and aviation. This two-track program includes talks, exclusive visits and special access to scientists and venues to get up close to everything from telescopes and taxidermy to dinosaur skeletons and space artifacts.
- The Oil Refinery: http://super-no1.com/refinery2009/miscellaneous.html
- Shutterstock Images: An Abandoned Oil Refinery in Ventura, California: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-22870132/stock-photo-an-abandoned-oil-refinery-in-ventura-california.html
- Cosplay: Abandoned Oil Refinery in Ventura, CA: http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=237729