The California Coastal Commission Friday unanimously endorsed a plan to build a two-mile-long pipeline to link a city-run oil field with Hoag Memorial Hospital, paving the way for eventual sale to the hospital of cut-rate natural gas.
City officials said Newport Beach will begin soliciting bids from builders immediately and that construction of the pipeline that runs from a 16-well oil field at the west edge of the city can get under way by year’s end.
Robert Dixon, executive officer of the city’s utilities department, said the city has agreed to abide by a Coastal Commission requirement that construction be limited to weekdays to minimize disruption of beach traffic.
In addition, he said, because underground channels to be used by the pipeline were dug several years ago, there will be no need to dig up sidewalks and roads.
The oil field provides the city with about $1.4 million in yearly revenues, but until the deal was reached with Hoag, the city was forced to burn off the approximately 50,000 cubic feet of gas it produces each day.
Dixon estimated that the sale of the gas would add about $65,000 a year to city coffers. Bill Fagan, Hoag’s director of facilities, said the gas--to be sold at half the going rate--will trim about $60,000 from the hospital’s yearly gas bill.