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Company suspected in oil spill had dozens of violations | Us World News – Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-10-04 14:48:26 –

Huntington Beach, Calif. (AP) —The company that operates California’s largest suspected oil spill pipeline has severe safety and environmental breaches that require drilling to be reduced or stopped to resolve the issue. It has been quoted 72 times. Regulatory records show.

Beta Operating Co, according to a database of the Safety and Environment Enforcement Authority, a federal agency that regulates the offshore oil and gas industry. Has been cited 125 times since 1980. The online database only provides the total number of violations, not the details of each incident.

The company was fined a total of $ 85,000 in three cases. Two are in 2014 when workers without proper protective equipment were shocked by 98,000 volts of electricity and when crude oil was released from a boom where safety devices were improperly bypassed. It was the case of.

Houston-based Amplify Energy subsidiary Beta has been sent 126,000 gallons (572,807 liters) of heavy crude oil to the waters due to suspected underwater pipeline leaks, sand from the famous Huntington Beach and other coastal areas. It is under scrutiny after it has been polluted. .. The spill can leave the beach closed for more than a few weeks.

Environmentalists feared that oil would devastate birds and marine life in the area. However, veterinarian and director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, Michael Ziccardi, said only four oily birds have been found so far. One suffered a chronic injury and had to be euthanized, he said.

“It’s much better than we were afraid of,” he said at a press conference on Monday.

Although Giccardi said he was “carefully optimistic,” it is too early to know the extent of the impact of wildlife spills. In other offshore oil spills, he said, the most oiled birds were collected two to five days after the incident.

Amplify operates three oil platforms about 9 miles (14.5 km) off California, all installed between 1980 and 1984. It also operates a 16-inch pipeline that transports oil from the processing platform to Long Beach’s onshore storage facility. According to the company, oil is coming from a rupture of a pipeline about four miles (6.44 km) from the platform.

Prior to the spill, Amplify had high hopes for the beta field, spending millions of dollars on oil-based upgrades and new “sidetrack” projects by drilling laterally.

“We have the opportunity to continue as long as we want,” Amplify CEO Martyn Willsher said in a conference call with investors in August. He added that it has a capacity of “up to 20,000 barrels a day.”

Investors shared Wilshere’s optimism, raising the company’s share price to $ 5.75, more than seven times from the beginning of the year, at the end of the deal on Friday. Stock prices plummeted by more than 40% on Monday morning trading.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and went bankrupt a few months later. He used cash generated in places such as Betafield, Oklahoma and Texas to repay his $ 235 million debt.

Some residents, business owners and environmentalists questioned whether authorities responded quickly enough to contain the spill. People living and working in the area said they noticed the luster of oil and the smell of heavy oil on Friday evening.

The boom unfolded on the surface of the sea on Sunday While the diver was trying to determine where and why the leak occurred, he tried to contain the oil. On land, there was competition to find animals damaged by oil and prevent spills from damaging more sensitive wetlands.

However, it was not until Saturday afternoon that the Coast Guard said the oil slick was discovered and a unified order was established to respond to it. And it took until Saturday night for the company to close the pipeline.

“People sent emails and neighbors were asking,’Do you smell?'” Said Rick Tolgerson, owner of the Blue Star Yacht Charter, on Friday evening. He said.

Gary Brown, president of the Environmental Group’s Orange County Coastkeeper, blamed the lack of initial coordination between the Coast Guard and local authorities in dealing with the expanding oil slick.

“By the time we arrived at the beach, it caused tremendous damage. Our frustration could have been avoided with a quick response,” said Brown, who lives in Huntington Beach.

Part of the oil washed up on the coast of Orange County. The city and state beaches of Huntington Beach were closed, and at the end of Sunday, the city of Laguna Beach, just south, said the beach was also closed.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Kah talked about the beaches of a community called “Surf City.” May remain closed for several weeks Or a few months. The oil created a luster that spread miles into the ocean and was washed ashore with sticky black globules.

“In an incredibly difficult year, this oil spill constitutes one of the most devastating situations our community has dealt with in decades,” Kerr said. .. “We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our residents, visitors and natural habitats.”

Martyn Willsher, CEO of Amplify, said the pipeline and its three platforms were closed on Saturday night. A 17.5 mile (28.16 km) pipeline, 80-100 feet (24-30 meters) below the surface, was aspirated so that no oil spilled while investigating the location of the leak.

A Coast Guard-deployed skimmer-led crew laid a floating barrier of about 3,700 feet (1,128 meters) called a boom in an attempt to prevent oil from seeping into areas such as the Talbert Wetlands, 25 acres (10). Hectares) wetland officials said.

The oil will probably continue to be washed off the beach for several days, potentially affecting Newport Beach and other nearby communities, officials said.

The spill occurs 30 years after a major oil spill hit the same area of ​​the Orange County coast. On February 7, 1990, an American trader oil tanker ran through an anchor off Huntington Beach, spilling nearly 417,000 gallons (1.6 million liters) of crude oil. Fish and about 3,400 birds were killed.

In 2015, a rupture of a pipeline north of Santa Barbara spewed 143,000 gallons (541,313 liters) of crude oil onto Refugeo State Beach.

Areas affected by the recent spills are home to endangered species such as the plump snowy plover, the Least Tern of California, and the humpback whale.


Associated Press writers Michael Biesecker of Washington, DC, Bernard Condon of New York, Felicia Fonseca of Phoenix, and Julie Walker of New York contributed to this report.

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