Oil firm told state officials spill ‘unlikely’

Oil Firm

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A Texas oil firm whose ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years had assured the government that a break in the line while possible was “extremely unlikely” and state-of-the-art monitoring could quickly detect possible leaks and alert operators, documents show.

Nearly 1,200 pages of records, filed with state regulators by Plains All American Pipeline, detail a range of defenses the company established to guard against crude oil spills and, at the same time, prepare for the worst should a spill occur.

The company acknowledged the potential for oil to leak from the 24-inch, 10.6mile pipeline west of Santa Barbara. A team of experts organized by the company assessed that risk as remote, according to the records, known as a spill response plan, released under the state’s public records act.

“The pipeline and its operation are state-of-the-art,” stated the analysis submitted to the state. “Spills are still possible, though extremely unlikely.”

On May 19, a 6-inch breach along a badly corroded section of the line.