With the cost of the May 2015 Santa Barbara pipeline rupture already estimated at $150 Million, the future of Santa Barbara County offshore oil production in the South County is in question as there is still no estimate for when – and if – the pipeline will be given the OK to restart operations. The pipeline owner has to pay for the response — $150 million so far, according to a statement — as well as claims regarding losses from the spill. 

Exactly one year ago, on May 19, 2015, a 24-inch pipeline ruptured on the mountain side of Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach, and up to 142,800 gallons of crude oil flowed down the hill, through a culvert under the highway, onto the beach and into the ocean. 

The clean-up response covered beaches all over southern Santa Barbara County, and oil from the spill was found as far south as Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Hundreds of dead and injured birds and marine mammals were found during the response. 

The fact that investigators found a wall thickness of 1/16 of an inch at the rupture site while earlier recent inspections indicated it was much thicker shows that these inspections cannot be trusted as the only line of defense against a rupture.   

This pipeline was operated for another 35 minutes after the rupture occurred.  It should be possible to detect a pipeline rupture within seconds to a couple of minutes. 

Source:   https://www.noozhawk.com/article/pipeline-safety_questions_still_unanswered_year_after_refugio_oil_spill 

By: Atmos International
Date: 11 October 2019