Chevron spills 800,000 gallons of oil, water in Kern County


By Don Thompson | Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — California authorities said Friday that crews are beginning to clean up a massive oil spill that dumped nearly 800,000 gallons of oil and water into a Kern County canyon, making it larger — if less devastating — than the state’s last two major oil spills.

The seep, which has been flowing off and on since May, has again stopped, said Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua. The last flow was Tuesday.

She and California officials said the spill is not near any waterway and has not significantly affected wildlife.

Chevron reported that 794,000 gallons of oil and water have leaked out of the ground where it uses steam injection to extract oil in the large Cymric Oil Field about 35 miles west of Bakersfield. The steam softens the thick crude so it can flow more readily and is a different process from fracking, which breaks up underground layers of rock.

About 70% of the fluid is water, Chevron said, meaning about 240,000 gallons of the mixture is oil.

Earlier this year, a judge fined Plains All American Pipeline nearly $3.35 million for causing what had been the worst California coastal spill in 25 years. A corroded pipeline spilled 140,000 gallons of crude oil in 2015 onto Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles, tarring popular beaches for miles, killing wildlife and harming tourism and fishing.

In 2007, the container ship Cosco Busan leaked nearly 54,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into San Francisco Bay after the ship hit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in thick fog.

The state’s worst spill was the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill that leaked at least 80,000 barrels of crude oil into the Santa Barbara Channel. Each barrel is 42 gallons.

But the effect of this year’s Chevron spill on birds and wildlife appears …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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