Updated at 12:30 p.m. June 23:
About 700 barrels of crude oil leaked from a pipeline in Ventura on June 23 but Ventura County firefighters were able to stop the oil from reaching the ocean, officials said.
The oil belongs to Aera Energy, among other producers, and the pipeline is owned by Crimson Pipeline, which owns about 1,000 miles of pipelines in California. An oil worker spotted the leak at about 5:30 a.m. in Hall Canyon above Ventura High School. The worker called Crimson officials, who shut down the line and called emergency personnel, Crimson said. The estimated spill was originally thought to be 5,000 barrels but that number was later reduced to 700, or about 29,400 gallons.
The pipeline did not rupture, Crimson spokeswoman Kendall Klingler said at a news conference at San Buenaventura State Beach. The leak came from one of the line’s valves but the cause is undetermined. The pipeline was under maintenance and not operating at full pressure, she said.
Authorities dammed and fortified a debris catch basin near the beach to stop the flow of oil. Crude has coated rocks, brush and creek beds but officials do not expect significant damage nor public health impacts.
Authorities were concerned that the spill, which went about a half-mile down a Hall Canyon barranca before being contained, might reach a beach near Sanjon Road and Highway 101. A clean-up effort is underway.
There is an ongoing investigation by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office and the U.S. Coast Guard, among others.
Aera Energy is owned by Shell and Exxon Mobil. Crimson Pipeline is a privately owned company.
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