Ventura Oil Refinery – Ventura, California - Atlas Obscura
Ventura Oil Refinery is permanently closed.

Ventura Oil Refinery

Rusty industrial city full of oxidized distillation towers. 


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.

Update: In July 2019, it was announced that two spherical ammonia tanks at the back of the property would be demolished in the near future.

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