HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The amount of crude oil spilled in an offshore pipeline leak in Southern California is believed to be close to 25,000 gallons, or only about one-fifth of what officials initially feared, a Coast Guard official said Thursday.
The leak off the coast of Orange County was previously estimated to be at least 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) and no more than 132,000 gallons (499,674 liters). The final count for the spill will likely be closer to the lower figure, which correlates with the amount of oiling seen on the California shore, Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore said Thursday.
“We have a high degree of confidence that the spill amount is approximately 588 barrels,” she told reporters. “That number may potentially adjust a small degree.”
Workers in protective gear continue to comb the sand for oil washing ashore.
Roy Kim, an environmental scientist with California’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, said the size of tar balls being collected on coastal beaches has diminished from the early days after the spill. He said teams have been dispatched from Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach to La Jolla in San Diego County.
The spill off Huntington Beach was confirmed on Oct. 2, a day after residents reported a petroleum smell in the area.
Coast Guard officials said it came from a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy that shuttles crude from offshore platforms to the coast.
Officials have said the cause remains under investigation, and they believe the pipeline was likely damaged by a ship’s anchor several months to a year before it ruptured.
Huntington city and state beaches as well as the shoreline in neighboring Newport Beach were shut down until Monday.
Amy Taxin, The Associated Press