The source of the spill that spewed up to 144,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean likely came down to a 13-inch split found in a 4,000-foot section of the pipe that had been pulled about 105 feet to the side, authorities said.
“The pipeline has essentially been pulled like a bow string. And so at its widest point is about 105 feet away from where it was. So, it is kind of an almost a semicircle,” Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher said at a news conference Tuesday.
The discovery may provide insight into the source of the leak, but not the cause. Authorities are still investigating what precipitated the displacement and split in the pipe.
The 17-mile long, 41-year-old pipeline is about 98 feet under water. About 16-inches in diameter, the steel pipe is encased in concrete as it lays along the ocean floor.
A preliminary report indicates the partial tear could have been caused by an anchor that hooked the pipeline, the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in a notice to Amplify Energy, the owner of the ruptured pipeline.
There is no confirmation of a vessel above the site of the spill, but a response team is working with other agencies to determine whether a ship was in the area, said Capt. Rebecca Ore, the commanding officer at US Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach.
In the transportation department’s “corrective action order,” Amplify Energy is directed to shut down the affected pipeline entirely, provide maintenance and inspection records, and complete a root cause failure analysis, among other requirements. Only then can it submit a plan to resume operation.
Investigation into the timeline
Authorities investigating the leak also sought Tuesday to clarify the timeline of when authorities and the pipeline company learned about the spill and what they did in response.
The Unified Command said the National Response Center first received a report of an unknown sheen of unknown source Friday…
Source : cnn