HUNTINGTONBEACH Calif. (AP). Thousands of gallons heavy crude oil have been leaking into the ocean from an underwater pipeline that was connected to an offshore platform. The oil spillage contaminated the famous sands at Huntington Beach ,, also known as Surf City USA. It could have caused the coast and shoreline to be closed for several weeks.
Here’s an overview of what happened, who was involved and the aftermath.
Residents of Newport Beach and Orange County began reporting a petroleum-like smell in the air Friday, Oct. 1.
The Coast Guard confirmed that there was a spillage the next morning. The ocean sheen was miles wide, and crude oil began washing ashore in sticky, dark blobs. The leak occurred about 5 miles (8 kilometers) offshore at a depth of about 98 feet (30 meters) and came from a pipeline owned by Amplify Energy. Three offshore platforms, owned and operated by Amplify Energy in Houston, pipe oil to Long Beach.
Oil washed up first in Huntington Beach ,, including Talbert Marsh which is a sensitive wetland. Later, crude oil was found along the Orange County coast in Newport Beach Laguna Beach and Dana Point. On Thursday, tar balls had been reported to have washed up in Carlsbad in San Diego County.
HOW MANY OIL ARE YOU TAKING?
It’s still a mystery.
Amplify Energy publicly said no more than 126,000 gallons (477,000 liters) flowed from its pipe. But the company also told federal investigators the total may be 29,400 gallons (111,300 liters). On Thursday, the Coast Guard announced its own estimate of at least about 25,000 gallons (95,000 liters) and no more than 132,000 gallons (500,000 liters).
David Pettit is a senior lawyer at Natural Resources Defense Council and finds it difficult to believe that Amplify doesn’t know how much oil was lost. Pettit stated that if Amplify knew the flow rate in the pipeline and the pressure drop, it would be possible to calculate this in minutes.
WHERE WAS THE LEAK FOUND?
An anchoring commercial vessel off Huntington Beach reported that it had a sheen of more than 2 miles (3 km) just after 6 p.m. on Friday night.
A satellite image shot by the European Space Agency indicated a likely oil slick in the area around 7 p.m., which was reported to the Coast Guard at 2: 06 a.m. Saturday after being reviewed by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analyst.
The Coast Guard stated that it didn’t act on either of the reports and decided to wait until morning because darkness and lack of technology would hinder its search for oil.
Amplify CEO Martin Willsher said the company did not discover the leak until it saw oil in the water at 8: 09 a.m. Saturday
However, other reports indicate the company had signs of a leak as early at 2: 30 a.m. Saturday. Federal regulators stated that Platform Elly’s alarm alerted a controller to an apparent drop in pressure, which could indicate a leak.
The company did not report the leak until 8: 55 a.m., according to the California Office of Emergency Services. The company that reported the leak on behalf of Amplify said the incident occurred at 2: 30 a.m.
Around time that the company reported the oil spillage, Coast Guard stated it had found oil in the water.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE
The cause is being investigated.
Amplify CEO Martin Willsher suggested Monday that an anchor from a commercial vessel that uses the huge Los Angeles-Long Beach port facility might be the cause. The next day the Coast Guard said divers found that a 4,000-foot (1,219-meter) section of the pipeline was “laterally displaced” by about 105 feet (32 meters). Willsher described it as “like a bowstring”.
Video of the ruptured pipeline released by the Coast Guard showed a thin 13-inch-long (33-centimeter) crack that experts said could indicate a slow leak that initially was difficult to detect.
A Coast Guard investigator stated that the pipeline was likely to have been damaged by a ship’s anchor before it burst. This could have happened between six and twelve months ago. Capt. Jason Neubauer is the chief of the guard’s office for investigations and analysis.
It remains unknown when the slender, 13-inch (33-centimeter) crack began leaking oil, and investigators will pour over a year of data on ship movements near the area of the break. At this time, no ships have been identified by investigators as possible suspects.
WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECT?
It will all depend on how much oil there is.
Local officials who initially feared an environment catastrophe have expressed more hope that the spillage will be smaller than originally thought. Only a few oiled birds have been found so far. Teams are searching for any affected animals within the spillage area and further afield. According to environmentalists, it is too early to determine how many marine mammals, seabirds and other animals will be affected by the oily coating that has been floating in the ocean and covered marsh areas.
Researchers believe that the effects on animals will be difficult to comprehend. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster has had a long-lasting impact on the lives of many people. Many problems are still unknown as oil components continue to build under the ocean’s surface.
Out on the water by rigs there is no visible sheen or oil smell like the pungent odor that pervaded Huntington Beach for days following the incident.
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