HUNTINGTON BEACH — The amount of crude oil spilled in an offshore pipeline leak in Southern California is believed to be close to 25,000 gallons, or only about one-fifth of what officials initially feared, a Coast Guard official said Thursday.
The leak off the coast of Orange County was previously estimated to be at least 25,000 gallons and no more than 132,000 gallons. The final count for the spill will likely be closer to the lower figure, which correlates with the amount of oiling seen on the California shore, Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore said.
“We have a high degree of confidence that the spill amount is approximately 588 barrels,” she told reporters in Newport Beach. “That number may potentially adjust a small degree.”
The spill off Huntington Beach was confirmed Oct. 2, a day after residents reported a petroleum smell in the area.
Coast Guard officials said it came from a leak in a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp. that shuttles crude from offshore platforms to the coast. Officials said the cause of the leak remains under investigation, but the pipeline was likely damaged by a ship’s anchor several months to a year before it ruptured.
The shorelines in Huntington Beach, which is known as “Surf City USA,” and neighboring Newport Beach were shut down until Monday. Coastal shops have taken a hit, and environmental advocates have voiced concerns about the long-term impact of the spill on sensitive wetland areas and wildlife.
More than four dozen animals, mostly birds and fish, have been found dead since the spill, though not all were visibly oiled, according to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.