Orange County oil spill: Ruptured pipe did not have a fully functioning leak detection system, report says

Huntington Beach, California-The Associated Press reported that the ruptured offshore pipeline, which spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil from the Southern California coast this fall, had a fully functional leak detection system at the time. There was no. ..

This report was edited and submitted to federal regulators by pipeline operator Beta Offshore, a subsidiary of Houston-based Amplify Energy. It reveals that Amplify is investigating whether a personnel or control room problem was the cause of the accident, but does not explain what was wrong with the detection system.

A report submitted last week and released to AP at the request of public records on the possibility of an anchor strike in the pipeline from a cargo ship suspected to be responsible for the spill of approximately 25,000 gallons (112,000 liters). Does not provide new details. .. Coast Guard investigators suspect that the pipeline may have begun to leak long after it was caught on a freighter drifting during a strong January wind.

It is not clear why it took so long for the 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) steel wire to leak, or whether another anchor strike or other incident led to a rupture or spill. However, according to experts, a properly functioning leak detection system may have been able to detect the problem before the leak was found with a glossy surface of oil.

“The fact that they weren’t working with the leak detection system is amazing,” said Ramanan Krishnamurti, a pipeline expert at the University of Houston, who seems to be inconsistent in the accounting of the accident company. Said that. “For an experienced hand with this, when you have such a leak, you would have seen a sign of it in pressure drop and flow rate.”
The spill landed on Huntington Beach, forcing the city’s beaches and other beaches along the Orange County coast to close for about a week. Fishing in the affected areas resumed only last week after it was confirmed that the fish were free of dangerous levels of oil toxins.

Beta said in the report that the pipeline’s leak detection system isn’t fully functional, but it’s still helpful in detecting and confirming leaks. Federal agents have previously stated that a low-voltage alarm sounded at 2:30 am on October 2, indicating a possible failure.

However, the company reported that the leak was not found until 8 am that day, and a third-party contractor reported an offshore slick and notified a nearby beta oil platform representative. The spill was not reported to authorities until more than an hour later.

Amplify Energy spokesman Amy Conway refused to answer questions from APs about leak detection systems, citing an ongoing investigation.

“Amplify continues to work with regulators investigating this event,” she said.

Accident reports filed with the US Pipeline and the Dangerous Goods Safety Control Agency require companies to disclose the pressure of pipeline failures. Beta said the line did not exceed maximum pressure, but did not answer what the pressure was when the line leaked. When determining the exact time of the accident, he said it would supplement the response.

According to the report, pipe breaks running along the seabed 100 feet (30.5 meters) underwater were less than one-hundredth inch (0.2 mm) wide and more than 20 inches (50 centimeters) long. According to Krishnamoorti and second expert pipeline accident consultant Richard Kuprewicz, this means that the line could have been leaking for hours or days.

“It’s not like a wide open burst, but it will move some oil,” Kuprewitz said. He added that the report left unresolved questions about the spill and the company’s response.

“I don’t know how their leak detection system is set up. People think they should be able to see the pressure drop, but sometimes the pressure drop doesn’t show up even if the pipeline bursts a lot. “He said.

As of November 11, spill cleanup cost more than $ 17 million. It also lost up to about $ 45,000 in oil, based on an estimated 588 barrels lost at a price of $ 76 each.

Damaged parts of the pipeline will be removed under an order from the pipeline safety authorities that requires a metallurgical analysis of why the line failed within 45 days of receiving the order on October 4th. It was expected. But that’s not happening.

Amplify’s lawyer said in a civil lawsuit related to the spill, the company is awaiting approval of a repair plan filed with federal authorities on November 19.

The U.S. Navy called the diving team to work in the Persian Gulf, so repairs will be earliest on December 15, likely next February, the company’s lawyer said in a report. I am. The federal court filed last week.

Copyright © 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved.

Orange County oil spill: Ruptured pipe did not have a fully functioning leak detection system, report says Source link Orange County oil spill: Ruptured pipe did not have a fully functioning leak detection system, report says

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