Energy

Oil Leak Spews Massive Amount Of Crude Into Southern California Ravine

REUTERS/Aly Song

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Nearly 30,000 gallons of crude oil spilled Thursday and rocketed through a ravine in Southern California, officials said.

The spill occurred in the Hall Canyon, north of Ventura, and flowed into the Prince Barranca, a ravine that ends at San Buenaventura State Beach. The oil leak — which spewed more than 29,400 gallons of oil nearly one mile down stream of the initial leak — has been contained, officials said, and was corralled before reaching the ocean.

Firefighters built a dam out of dirt to hem in the oil before it could tunnel its way to the ocean.

Pipeline LLC., the company in charge of the cleanup, suggested the 30,000 gallon number may be inflated, estimating that the amount of oil is closer to 25,200 gallons, company spokeswoman Kendall Klingler, told reporters. The cause was under investigation, she said.

“We started getting this horrendous smell and I knew right away what it was,” local resident Kirk Atwater, 56, told 911 operators shortly after the leak. After the smell hit his nostrils, Atwater decided to follow the leak and found “oil gushing from an above-ground box that he surmised covers equipment.”

“It was just pouring out like water coming out of a fire hydrant,” he said.

Crimson’s California network snakes and coils about 1,000 miles through the state and pushes nearly 200,000 barrels — 8.4 million gallons — of oil daily, according to a company press release from April.

The spill comes a little more than a year after more than 120,000 gallons of oil spilled on the coast of neighboring Santa Barbara County, some of which poured into the ocean at Refugio State Beach. The pipeline in that spill was owned by Plains All American Pipeline, and was found to have corrosion.

California residents are still trying to find their bearings after a natural gas well owned by Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) erupted and began leaking hundreds of millions of tons of methane into the sky.

SoCal Gas said in December it had dished out $50 million to cap the leak and relocate Porter Ranch citizens, though that number could be larger as the company has not given any updates since. It was eventually capped in February.

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