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Oil splinter off the CA coast could be from natural seeps or abandoned wells


Oil shimmer on the ocean off part of the southern California coast is consistent with oil from local natural seeps, but old abandoned oil wells could be a factor, authorities said Saturday.

The flares have been observed off Summerland Beach in Santa Barbara County since earlier this month and have been investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and state and local agencies under a Unified Command.

Laboratory tests at several offshore and onshore locations have shown the oil to be compatible with oil from highly active natural seeps in the area, a command statement said.

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Oil spill on a Southern California beach is under investigation. Authorities are trying to identify the source.
(FoxNews)

But there are also around 200 “legacy wells” near the beach that were drilled in the late 1800s and early 1900s and have not been properly abandoned.

The wells are believed to be relatively shallow compared to modern wells and this makes their oil almost indistinguishable from oil released by natural seeps, so one or more of these wells could be a factor, the command said.

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Extreme weather conditions and tidal activity could also be a factor. An extraordinary storm surge over the past few weeks has eroded large amounts of sand at Summerland Beach.

Going forward, the State Land Commission’s Coastal Hazards and Legacy Well Remediation Program will examine whether a well is releasing oil, and crews will continue to monitor shoreline impacts. The unified command will demobilize.

Fox Gt

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