State of Emergency Declared as Burst Pipeline Spills Crude on California Coast

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday May 21, 2015

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr Tuesday declared a state of emergency following an oil spill from an on-shore pipeline that initial estimates placed at around 2,500 barrels, or 105,000 gallons.

The incident took place 140 miles north of Los Angeles and a fifth of the spilled oil, around 500 barrels or 21,000 gallons, is thought to have made its way into the Pacific Ocean forming two slicks covering some 9 miles at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County.

"This emergency proclamation cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources," said Governor Brown.

"We will do everything necessary to protect California's coastline."

Petty Officer Andrea Anderson of the U.S. Coast Guard said the company responsible for the 24-inch pipeline was Plains All American Pipeline LP (Plains All American), Reuters reports.

The Coast Guard was reported to still be assessing exactly how much oil leaked from the ruptured pipeline, but classified the spill medium in size.

The pipeline, which runs under U.S. Highway 101, was reported to be able to carry up to 150,000 barrels of oil a day.

The BBC quoted Plains All American spoksperson Darren Palmer as saying the pipeline was operating at a rate of about 84,000 gallons an hour when it broke.

“The spill has impacted ocean water and the shoreline,” Plains All American said in a statement released late Tuesday.

"Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact.”

California's attorney general is reported to be working with Joyce E. Dudley, the district attorney of Santa Barbara County, to investigate any violation of civil or criminal laws.

In March, the approximately 33 gallons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) was spilt during bunkering operations at the Port of Long Beach.