The 2015 Refugio oil spill, which dumped 143,000 gallons of heavy crude on the Gaviota coastline, was from a burst onshore pipeline (Line 901). The pipeline transported oil from offshore platforms up the Gaviota Coast to the Sisquoc pump station (map below).
Since the 2015 pipeline rupture, all oil platforms feeding the pipeline have been shut down. That includes Platform Holly, which used to be owned by Veneco and is being decommissioned. There are three other offshore platforms that have been shutdown too – Platform Hondo, Platform Harmony, and Platform Heritage, all owned by Exxon.
Exxon wants to get oil flowing from their offshore platforms again – via pipeline or trucking.
Plains All American, a texas-based petroleum (oil) transporting and storage company, was responsible for line 901, and was found legally liable for the pipeline’s failure, guilty of one felony and eight misdemeanor counts. The convictions included killing marine mammals, killing protected seabirds, discharging oil onto land, and failure to maintain proper equipment. Plains also failed to notify the California Office of Emergency Services and the National Response Center of the oil spill when it initially occurred. They were ultimately fined only $3.3 million out of the $1.2 billion asked for.
Now they want to rebuild. They will be proposing two pipelines – lines 901R and 903R (R = replacement). Line 901R would follow the same route as the old 901, while 903 would carry the oil from Sisquoc to Pentland Delivery Point in Kern County.
Keep an eye out for next steps. See more about the project proposal at the County’s website here.
As these permits could take years to be approved, Exxon (proud owner of the remaining offshore platforms) has applied for permits to truck offshore oil along that stretch of coastline.