OC oil spill likely 25,000 gallons; FBI joins investigation
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - The FBI is joining the investigation to determine what caused a massive oil spill off the coast of Orange County.
The FBI is one of the many federal agencies investigating the spill.
The amount of crude oil spilled into the is believed to be close to about 25,000 gallons, or only about one-fifth of what officials estimated, the Coast Guard announced Thursday.
The leak was initially estimated at 126,000 gallons, however, authorities were bracing for a worst-case scenario.
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 Thursday.
"We have a high degree of confidence that the spill amount is approximately 588 barrels," she stated. "That number may potentially adjust a small degree."
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4,000-foot section of pipeline split, dragged out of place by up to 105 feet
Workers in protective gear continue to comb the sand for oil washing ashore.
Roy Kim, an environmental scientist with California’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, said the size of tar balls being collected on coastal beaches has diminished from the early days after the spill. He said teams have been dispatched from Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach to La Jolla in San Diego County.
The spill off Huntington Beach was confirmed on Oct. 2, a day after residents reported a petroleum smell in the area.
Coast Guard officials said it came from a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy that shuttles crude from offshore platforms to the coast.
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Divers confirmed that a 4,000-foot section of the pipeline was "displaced," or moved laterally by 105 feet, and they spotted a 13-inch split in the line. Ore said that split is the "likely source" of the leak.
Officials have said the cause remains under investigation, but they believe the pipeline was likely damaged by a ship’s anchor several months to a year before it ruptured.
Huntington city and state beaches as well as the shoreline in neighboring Newport Beach were shut down until Monday.
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