An underwater pipeline leak about five miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, south of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, has caused a spill of 126,000 gallons – about 3,000 barrels’ worth – of oil into the ocean, a spill that risks extending waiting times for ships waiting to enter America’s two largest maritime gateways. The pipeline is owned by Houston-based oil and gas company Amplify Energy, and connected to the Elly offshore platform in the Beta field. Now capped at each end, the pipeline contains no further oil. The oil is washing ashore in black globules.
The Port of Los Angeles has advised that some ships waiting to come into San Pedro Bay may need to be cleaned, adding further to the record delays into Southern California. Data from MarineTraffic today shows at least nine boxships at anchor off Huntington Beach where the spill occurred (see maps below).
A unified command has been established to handle the environmental crisis. The US Coast Guard (USCG) said in a statement, “This response is currently a 24/7 operation and response efforts are scheduled to continue until federal and state officials determine that the response to the crude oil spill is complete.”
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said on Sunday, “The oil has infiltrated the entirety of the (Talbert) Wetlands. There’s significant impacts to wildlife there. These are wetlands that we’ve been working with the Army Corps of Engineers, with the Land Trust, with all the community wildlife partners to make sure to create this beautiful, natural habitat for decades. And now in just a day, it’s completely destroyed.”
Crews led by the USCG are using skimmers and booms to try to contain the oil while the cleanup continues.
Amplify Energy president and CEO Martyn Willsher said at a news conference on Sunday, “We are fully committed to being out here until this incident is fully concluded. Our employees live and work in these communities, and we’re all deeply impacted and concerned about the impact on not just the environment, but the fish and wildlife as well.”