Operators Let Oil Pipeline Gush Into Ocean for Hours Without Shutting It Off

What caused the holdup?
Delayed Reaction

Last weekend, about 144,000 gallons crude oil were released into the ocean by a leaky oil pipeline near Orange County, California.

California officials declared a state-of-emergency in the area after the leak and launched a criminal investigation. NBC News reports that a lot could have been prevented. Beta Offshore, Amplify Energy Corp.'s subsidiary that operates the timeline, waited hours to shut it off, even after receiving an alert about the leak. It is a shocking and confusing revelation about an environmental disaster that will undoubtedly cause immense ecological damage.

Three hours later

Investigators believe that the pipe was struck by a ship's anchor and that it tore open. Anchor strikes, NBC reports that they are quite common but rarely lead to such catastrophic results. No matter what, new records reveal that pipeline operators were extremely slow in responding to the incident.

Operators received an alert about low pressure in their pipeline at 2:30 am on Saturday. NBC reports that the pipeline was still operational until after 5:30 p.m. Operators waited three more hours before notifying National Response Center. The response started immediately.



According to NBC, it is interesting that the records contradict the Coast Guard's statements about the spillage. According to the Coast Guard, reports were received on Friday night. However, no investigation could be done until Saturday morning. This raises more questions about what actually happened in those critical first hours.

READ MORE: California regulators claim that an operator responsible for oil spillage in California didn't shut down for several hours following a leak alert [NBC News]

California declares emergency and opens criminal investigation into oil spillage

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