SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Plains All American Pipeline has received a portion of the lab results from an analysis of tarballs collected from California beaches following the May 19 accidental crude oil release from its Line 901 in Santa Barbara County. More than 50 samples were collected along the shoreline from as far west as Gaviota and as far south as far south as San Clemente Beach. In addition, samples were taken from seeps in the area known to be sources of shoreline oiling and from oil released from Line 901.
Analysis of initial samples suggests that some of the Line 901 released oil appears to have migrated over time to beaches in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties along with oil from other sources, some of which has been confirmed to be from natural oil seeps.
Following the report of tarballs on Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County, tarball samples from nine locations in that area were collected on May 27 by the United States Coast Guard and shared with Plains.
Lab results from six samples have been received to date. The results indicate that two of the samples are consistent with the oil from the Line 901 release and the other four samples are consistent with samples from natural seeps in the Santa Barbara region. Results for the remaining three samples are pending.
Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the University of California, Santa Barbara used analytical techniques to provide chemical “fingerprints” of the tarballs, seeps and Line 901 oil. Oil fingerprinting is used to determine the source of shoreline oiling by industry, researchers and government/regulatory entities.
Once the lab analyses for all samples collected during the Line 901 response are complete, sampling results will be posted at www.plainsline901response.com.