Amplify Energy announced Monday that an oil pipeline that was cut during the Orange County oil spill in October 2021 will soon be back in service, nearly a year and a half of repairs and legal issues that have kept it out of service.
The leak, which was first discovered on October 1, was Because of a 13-inch split in the pipeline. Officials believe the pipeline that resulted in the leak was likely pulled more than 100 feet earlier this year by a container ship with its anchor down. The pipeline, which connects the Elly rig off the coast to Long Beach Harbor, finally opened, sending 3,000 barrels, or 126,000 gallons, of post-production crude oil into the ocean, larger than other recent oil spills in California, such as the Sanctuary oil spill in Santa Barbara County in 2015.
The spill threatened the Beaches area for a week, as Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency due to environmental impacts. While beaches quickly reopened, with most closed for about a week, the economic toll has been staggering. Federal disaster assistance for businesses began in late October.
While cleanup efforts coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), and Orange and San Diego counties have continued, several environmental groups have filed lawsuits against the federal government over the failure to review platform plans since the early 1980s. At the same time, the federal government has indicted Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp., and two of its subsidiaries, Beta Operating Co. and San Pedro Bay Pipeline Co. regarding their role in the leak.
After the cleanup ended in late 2021, multiple lawsuits were filed and settled throughout 2022. The Orange County Board of Supervisors reached a $1 million settlement with Amplify in July 2022, followed by The energy company paid another $12.9 million in fines and compensation to the Coast Guard in September 2022.. inflate and then pay the largest amount, $50 millionin October for businesses and property owners affected by the spill.
The only thing left is the lawsuit between the shipping companies whose ships first broke lines in January 2021 and the Orange County residents who were negatively affected by the spill. But that ended in February when a $45 million settlement was agreed.
Reopening of the pipeline
Now, with the legal issues mostly resolved and the pipeline freshly closed, Amplify was ready to get the oil back flowing. On Monday, Amplify announced that the pipeline will be back up and running soon, with the two-week pipeline filling process beginning over the Easter weekend. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has approved both the fill and restart plan, and oil is now expected to flow again by the end of the month, just in time for the busy summer holiday season that brings an increase in gasoline use.
said Amplify President and CEO Martyn Willsher a permit. “Approval from federal regulators and receipt of $85 million in net proceeds from vessels that struck and largely damaged our pipeline has been a significant challenge for the Company over the past 18 months, and we are keen to focus our attention on the safe operation of our beta assets, and our business.” As a whole and the strategic direction of the company, Amplify has operated off the coast of California for years in a safe and responsible manner, and we remain committed to ensuring that our employees, the environment, and the communities around us are protected.
“Following the line filling process, the pipeline will be operated in accordance with restart procedures reviewed and approved by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.”
Many residents negatively affected by the spill were cautiously optimistic about getting the pipeline back online, many noting that if something like this were to happen again, they now knew exactly what they had to do and knew what the wrong parties would pay.
“The mood here is kind of forgiving,” Omar Vazquez, a Huntington Beach resident, told The Globe on Tuesday. “There is still some ill will, but we also know we need oil, that everything is fixed, and they, like us, really don’t want to go through all this again. Especially if oil is covering the beaches during a big tourist weekend again “.
“So yeah, I would say cautious optimism. Fifty years from now, with green energy the way it’s going, an oil spill like what happened here could be a thing of the past. But, for now, we all recognize that it’s still a possibility.”
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