Five CA platforms shut down after oil sheen discovered : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Five platforms shut down after oil sheen discovered


Torch Operating Co. has shut down five platforms off the northern Ventura County shoreline after an employee discovered an oil sheen on the water, likely from a naturally occurring seep, officials say.

The company -- the operator of the A, B, C, Henry and Hillhouse platforms for Nuevo Energy -- shut down operations immediately after the Wednesday discovery and tested its pipeline but found no problems, said Torch spokesman Jim Bray.

"We're not sure where it came from, if it's a natural seep or whatever," he said.

Federal officials estimate about five to six barrels created the 150-yard-long sheen on the water, said U.S. Minerals Management spokesman John Romero.

"It could be natural oil seepage, but at this point we just don't know," said Romero, referring to the oil seeps found offshore of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. "There have been what we call 'orphan spills' -- sheens on the water at various places that are just naturally occurring seeps."

Clean Seas dispatched two boats to the area, and Torch had prepared a dive team in case they were needed to inspect pipelines, Romero said.

"Torch was very proactive with this," Romero said. "Torch has gone above and beyond, but you need to do that."

The five platforms were built offshore in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Platform A was the site of the infamous 1969 blowout.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 22, 2000

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