Firm restarting oil pipeline involved in California spill

LOS ANGELES (AP) – An offshore pipeline involved in a 2021 oil spill that fouled Southern California beaches is being put back in service, the operator said.

Amplify Energy Corp. said Monday that it received approval from federal regulatory agencies to restart operations and last weekend began the process of filling the pipeline, which is expected to take about two weeks.

“Following the line fill process, the pipeline will be operated in accordance with the restart procedures that were reviewed and approved by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration,” the Houston-based company said in a press release.

The pipeline carries oil to shore from platforms in San Pedro Bay, near the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors.

Amplify Energy recently announced a settlement with companies associated with two ships it accused of dragging anchors and striking the pipeline during a January 2021 storm, leading to the spill of 25,000 gallons (94,600 liters) of crude oil months later.

“The approval from federal regulatory agencies and the receipt of $85 million in net proceeds from the vessels that struck and damaged our pipeline substantially concludes a very challenging last 18 months for the Company,” Amplify said.

While less severe than initially feared, the oil spill created a miles-wide sheen in the ocean and sent blobs of crude ashore, primarily impacting the cities of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. It further shuttered beaches for a week and fisheries for more than a month, oiled birds and threatened area wetlands.

Southern California fishermen, tourism companies and property owners sued Amplify and the shipping vessels seeking compensation for their losses. Amplify agreed to pay $50 million and the vessel companies agreed to pay $45 million to settle those lawsuits.

Amplify also reached a plea deal with federal authorities for negligently discharging crude.

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