$3.3 Million Fined for Worst Oil Spill in California

Plains All American Pipeline company was fined nearly $3.35 million on Thursday for causing the 2015 spill that sent 140,000 gallons of crude oil gushing onto Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County.

The spill, considered as the worst California coastal spill in 25 years caused from a corroded pipeline that blackened popular beaches for miles, killed wildlife, affected tourism and fishing, including killing marine mammals and protected sea birds.

According to federal inspectors Plains had made several preventable errors, failed to quickly detect the pipeline rupture and responded too slowly as oil flowed toward the ocean.

“We take our responsibility to safely deliver energy resources very seriously, and we are committed to doing the right thing,” the firm said in a statement Thursday and had paid $335 million for the cleanup according to the company’s 2017 annual report.


ExxonMobil Requests Permit to Transport Crude Oil by Truck

ExxonMobil plans to resume production on three Santa Barbra Coast platforms by using up to 70 trucks a day via Central Coast Roads as a temporary measure to transport crude oil.

The decision comes after the onshore Plains All American pipeline ruptured in 2015 and 142,800 gallons of oil spilled out over the Refugio State Beach Coast.

Due to the pipeline rupture, ExxonMobil was unable to transport crude oil to U.S. markets, although the company has applied for a replacement transmission pipeline. Until then, permits from the Santa Barbara County will be needed to have permission to use alternative truck transportation.

If approved, ExxonMobil would transport crude oil from Las Flores Canyon facility to the Santa Maria Terminal via Hwy 101 or to Plains Pentland Terminal in Kern Country via Hwy 166. This would be a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week shift for truck transportation.

The company proposed to “restrict all site development and operational activity to existing disturbed areas."

Santa Barbra officials will hold a hearing today to weigh in on the environmental impacts as they prepare supplements for the environmental impact report. The Santa Barbara Country Board of supervisors will decide whether to grant the permit in roughly a year’s time.

Offshore technology


Plains All American Pipeline Proposes to Replace More than 120 Miles of Pipeline in Santa Barbara

Plains All American Pipeline is applying to replace more than 120 miles of oil and gas transportation pipelines in Santa Barbara County, California, two years after a spill that dumped more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil in the area.

Two of the pipeline operator's lines in Santa Barbara have been shut down since the 2015 spill that leaked onto the coastline and into the ocean near Refugio State Beach. Since that spill, Plains had not revealed what it would do with the pipelines until now.

Plains wants to build a new, smaller-diameter pipeline along mostly the same route as the existing pipe and also proposes to build a new pump station between Sisquoc and Cuyama.

The proposed pipeline replacement would be uninsulated with more safety valves and a lower pressure. It would have anti-corrosion coating and cathodic protection as well as thicker walls along coastline and other sensitive areas.

Once the application is complete, an environmental review will be next. The review will be public and have multiple opportunities for comment.

Plains plans to submit its application to the required counties within the next few weeks.

If a replacement is not viable, Plains said it would resort to an alternative option, which would be to repair and restart the existing lines. This process would have to go through PHMSA, which oversees the existing pipelines because they are considered interstate pipelines even though they never leave California.

Noozhawk - Santa Barbara