Ruptured oil pipeline badly corroded

June 3, 2015

oil pipelineThe pipeline that ruptured near Refugio State Beach in the early afternoon on May 19 had extensive external corrosion, according to a government report released June 3.

Investigators with the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration found a 6 inch rupture at the bottom quadrant of the pipe that leaked between 21,000 to 105,000 gallons of oil. After leaking from the pipeline, the oil flowed into a culvert that runs under Highway 101 and then into a ditch that drains into the ocean.

Metallurgists estimate in the area of the rupture, the pipe wall thickness was 1/16 of an inch.

After further investigating the ruptured oil pipeline, on June 3, the federal government issued an amendment to a May 21 corrective action order. The Plains All American Pipeline company is required to take additional corrective actions that may include testing, repair, replacement or other actions, according to the order.

Plains line 903 is a 30 inch diameter pipe that runs 128 miles from Gaviota to Kern County. Plains voluntarily shut down the pipeline on May 19, restarted it on May 29 and shut it down again on May 30.



  1. unlisted says:

    This is unbelievable! I thought Plains “inspected” the line just a week before the rupture. What could have possible caused the pipe to go from A-OK to a thickness of only 1/16 of an inch in just one week?

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      If your question is not rhetorical, possible answers could be that the employees who did the testing didn’t do their jobs or that the testing process itself was insufficient.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • Slowerfaster says:

      Objectivists and Libertarians insist on ‘self-policing’.
      See how good that works ?

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. Pelican1 says:

    Hmmm…sounds eerily similar to the San Bruno scenario. Who’s monitoring these companies to insure our safety and that of the environment?

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • unlisted says:

      It’s cheaper for corporations to pay fines and civil settlements than to actually fix problems before they become disasters and kill people.

      CEOs and board chairmen should be thrown in jail whenever their decisions maim and kill people.

      (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
  3. Rich in MB says:

    That’s bad news….how many other sections of pipe are ready to blow at any time?
    The pipeline needs to stay shut down until its pressure tested and verified safe or we will have another pipe break….not if….when.

    (17) 21 Total Votes - 19 up - 2 down
    • 805code4 says:

      This is the petro companies we are talking about. They dont give a damn about anything but profit. They wont change anything over a few EPA fines, they will just hike the price of crude oil up and let the consumer take the hit.

      (3) 21 Total Votes - 12 up - 9 down
      • LameCommenter says:

        Let’s keep our perspective.
        No oil company wants this mega expense and grief. Plains just didn’t do their homework and a moderate, quick to clean up significant spill happened.

        Such breaks are rare and are a small price to pay for warm homes and mobile autos for the millions. Just go after Plains, tighten up their ship and whack them hard with fines and exposure, and MOVE ON with a prosperous lifestyle.

        (-2) 18 Total Votes - 8 up - 10 down
        • Francesca Bolognini says:

          I would call that perspective ” A BLIND EYE”. Such occurances are NOT rare, nor are they insignificant. The so called “regulators” are bought and paid for. As long as we rely on fossil fuels for our futuer energy needs, we will be financing this same behavior.

          There are many other ways of generating energy, most of which, were they getting a fraction of the perks and subsidies that the dirty fuels get, would be far cheaper and obviously cleaner. To select the green route would be truely moving forward into sustainability AND prosperity.

          (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
          • OnTheOtherHand says:

            I don’t think that you have taken a very hard look at the drawbacks of various “green energy” sources. They all have drawbacks, some with significant environmental impacts. And most couldn’t be scaled up quickly enough to replace fossil fuels within the next decade or two. I do agree that they should be receive subsidies on the scale of and instead of the fossil fuel industry. But don’t fool yourself into dreaming that will help much in the short term.

            (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down

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