A sheen spotted off the coast of Huntington Beach on Saturday may have been residue from the damaged pipeline that spewed tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the ocean last month, state officials said.
The approximately 30-foot-by-70-foot sheen was first reported just before 9 a.m. on Saturday, according a database of oil spill reports maintained by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
Dive teams performing a regular inspection of the San Pedro Bay pipeline later found “small droplets of oil coming from the damaged section of the pipeline,” said Eric Laughlin, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The droplets were seen around a specially designed wrap that was placed around the pipeline after the rupture was discovered on Oct. 2. The divers replaced the wrap.
The sheen spotted Saturday prompted U.S. Coast Guard flyovers to look for more evidence of a spill. Laughlin said flights in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday morning did not turn up any more evidence of an oil sheen.
The damaged pipeline previously connected the Elly and Ellen oil platforms to an onshore facility. It has been shut down since the Oct. 2 spill.
The ruptured pipeline spewed about 26,000 gallons of oil into the ocean, leading to a massive oil slick that came ashore from Huntington Beach to Dana Point. Beaches were closed for about a month following the spill for clean-up efforts.
Houston-based Amplify Energy, which owns the pipeline and the two oil platforms, made the initial reports Saturday of a sheen spotted on the water.
The report was sent to the Coast Guard from Witt O’Briens, an emergency consulting firm hired by Amplify to run communications for the company’s response to oil spills.
A spokesman for Amplify was not immediately available to comment on the reports of the sheen Saturday.
California officials said no wildlife was affected by the sheen seen Saturday, and that they believe it dissipated.