Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday named the city’s first-ever oil administrator to regulate the safety of oil operations within the city.
Uduak-Joe Ntuk, 37, a petroleum engineering associate for the city of Long Beach and a former engineer with Chevron Corp., was chosen after the Los Angeles City Council earlier this year called for the hiring of a full-time petroleum administrator.
That move came after years of complaints about noxious fumes and other problems by residents near drilling operations in South Los Angeles, the Baldwin Hills and other locations. The petroleum administrator’s job is to ensure that oil and gas extraction within the city is being done in a safe manner and that concerns of nearby residents and businesses are being taken into consideration.
“Nothing is more important to me than the health and safety of everyone who lives, works, and plays in Los Angeles — and they deserve the peace of mind of having a dedicated expert focused on the challenges raised by the drilling and storage of fossil fuels,” Garcetti said in a statement.
Ntuk will oversee a newly-created office of Petroleum and Natural Gas Administration and Safety, with duties that include tracking and reporting on fossil fuel extraction in the city; negotiating and overseeing city franchise agreements; and addressing concerns, nuisance complaints, and violations at fossil fuel operations.
“I will focus on doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of L.A.’s communities, while taking a measured approach to the many complex issues raised by fossil fuel extraction in a large city,” Ntuk said.
Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.