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Key Central Coast oil industry company struggles in wake of pipeline closure, down prices

Venoco, Inc.

An oil company with a significant presence in the Santa Barbara Channel is skipping a $13.7 million interest payment due this week. 

Venoco Inc. said Wednesday that the move gives it time to consider its options for reducing the company's debt.

The Denver-based petroleum company, with an office in Carpinteria, explained in a statement that falling oil prices and last year's rupture and shut down of a major oil pipeline in Santa Barbara County are making for "challenging" times.

Venoco has until March 17, 2016 to make good on the payment or it would be in default. The company said it "has sufficient liquidity to continue normal oil and gas operations and meet its regular financial obligations for some time."

However, it said the Plains All-American pipeline situation alone has cut its oil production by more than 50 percent, and there is no certain restart date.