A petroleum reservoir or oil and gas reservoir is a subsurface pool of hydrocarbons contained in porous or fractured rock formations. Petroleum reservoirs are broadly classified as unconventional reservoirs. In case of conventional reservoirs, the occurring hydrocarbons, such as crude oil or natural gas, are trapped by overlying rock formations with lower permeability. While in unconventional reservoirs the rocks have high porosity and low permeability which keeps the hydrocarbons trapped in place, therefore not requiring a cap rock. Reservoirs are found using hydrocarbon exploration methods. A region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground; because the oil reservoirs extend over a large area several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area. In addition, there may be exploratory wells probing the edges, pipelines to transport the oil elsewhere, support facilities; because an oil field may be remote from civilization, establishing a field is an complicated exercise in logistics.
This goes beyond requirements for drilling. For instance, workers require housing to allow them to work onsite for years. In turn and equipment require electricity and water. In cold regions, pipelines may need to be heated. Excess natural gas may be burned off if there is no way to make use of it—which requires a furnace and pipes to carry it from the well to the furnace. Thus, the typical oil field resembles a small, self-contained town in the midst of a landscape dotted with drilling rigs or the pump jacks, which are known as "nodding donkeys" because of their bobbing arm. Several companies, such as Hill International, Esso, Weatherford International, Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes and Halliburton, have organizations that specialize in the large-scale construction of the infrastructure and providing specialized services required to operate a field profitably. More than 40,000 oil fields are scattered around the globe, on land and offshore; the largest are the Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia and the Burgan Field in Kuwait, with more than 60 billion barrels estimated in each.
Most oil fields are much smaller. According to the US Department of Energy, as of 2003 the US alone had over 30,000 oil fields. In the modern age, the location of oil fields with proven oil reserves is a key underlying factor in many geopolitical conflicts; the term "oilfield" is used as a shorthand to refer to the entire petroleum industry. However, it is more accurate to divide the oil industry into three sectors: upstream and downstream. Natural gas originates by the same geological thermal cracking process that converts kerogen to petroleum; as a consequence and natural gas are found together. In common usage, deposits rich in oil are known as oil fields, deposits rich in natural gas are called natural gas fields. In general, organic sediments buried in depths of 1,000 m to 6,000 m generate oil, while sediments buried deeper and at higher temperatures generate natural gas; the deeper the source, the "drier" the gas. Because both oil and natural gas are lighter than water, they tend to rise from their sources until they either seep to the surface or are trapped by a non-permeable stratigraphic trap.
They can be extracted from the trap by drilling. The largest natural gas field is South Pars/Asalouyeh gas field, shared between Iran and Qatar; the second largest natural gas field is the Urengoy gas field, the third largest is the Yamburg gas field, both in Russia. Like oil, natural gas is found underwater in offshore gas fields such as the North Sea, Corrib Gas Field off Ireland, near Sable Island; the technology to extract and transport offshore natural gas is different from land-based fields. It uses a few large offshore drilling rigs, due to the cost and logistical difficulties in working over water. Rising gas prices in the early 21st century encouraged drillers to revisit fields that were not considered economically viable. For example, in 2008 McMoran Exploration passed a drilling depth of over 32,000 feet at the Blackbeard site in the Gulf of Mexico. Exxon Mobil's drill rig there had reached 30,000 feet by 2006 without finding gas, before it abandoned the site. Crude oil is found in all oil reservoirs formed in the Earth's crust from the remains of once-living things.
Evidence indicates that millions of years of heat and pressure changed the remains of microscopic plant and animal into oil and natural gas. Roy Nurmi, an interpretation adviser for Schlumberger oil field services company, described the process as follows: Plankton and algae and the life that's floating in the sea, as it dies, falls to the bottom, these organisms are going to be the source of our oil and gas; when they're buried with the accumulating sediment and reach an adequate temperature, something above 50 to 70 °C they start to cook. This transformation, this change, changes them into the liquid hydrocarbons that move and migrate, will become our oil and gas reservoir. In addition to the aquatic environment, a sea, but might be a river, coral reef or algal mat, the formation of an oil or gas reservoir requires a sedimentary basin that passes through four steps: Deep burial under sand and mud. Pressure cooking. Hydrocarbon migration from the sou
Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae known as eucalypts. Plants in the genus Eucalyptus have bark, smooth, fibrous or stringy, leaves with oil glands, sepals and petals that are fused to form a "cap" or operculum over the stamens; the fruit is a woody capsule referred to as a "gumnut". Australia is covered by 92,000,000 hectares of eucalypt forest, comprising three quarters of the area covered by native forest. There most are native to Australia. One species, Eucalyptus deglupta, ranges as far north as the Philippines. Of the 15 species found outside Australia, just nine are non-Australian. Species of eucalyptus are cultivated in the tropical and temperate world, including the Americas, Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. However, the range over which many eucalypts can be planted in the temperate zone is constrained by their limited cold tolerance. On warm days, eucalyptus forests are sometimes shrouded in a smog-like mist of vaporised volatile organic compounds.
Eucalypts vary in habit from shrubs to tall trees. Trees have a single main stem or trunk but many eucalypts are mallees that are multistemmed from ground level and taller than 10 metres. There is no clear distinction between a mallee and a shrub but in eucalypts, a shrub is a mature plant less than 1 metre tall and growing in an extreme environment. E. vernicosa in the Tasmanian highlands, E. yalatensis on the Nullarbor and E. surgens growing on coastal cliffs in Western Australia are examples of eucalypt shrubs. The terms "mallet" and "marlock" are only applied to Western Australian eucalypts. A mallet is a tree with a single thin trunk with a steeply branching habit but lacks both a lignotuber and epicormic buds. E. astringens is an example of a mallet. A marlock is a shrub or small tree with a single, short trunk, that lacks a lignotuber and has spreading, densely leafy branches that reach to the ground. E. platypus is an example of a marlock. Eucalyptus trees, including mallees and marlocks, are single-stemmed and include Eucalyptus regnans, the tallest known flowering plant on Earth.
The term "morrell" is somewhat obscure in origin and appears to apply to trees of the western Australian wheatbelt and goldfields which have a long, straight trunk rough-barked. It is now used for E. longicornis and E. melanoxylon. Tree sizes follow the convention of: Small: to 10 m in height Medium-sized: 10–30 m Tall: 30–60 m Very tall: over 60 m All eucalypts add a layer of bark every year and the outermost layer dies. In about half of the species, the dead bark is shed exposing a new layer of living bark; the dead bark may be shed in ribbons or in small flakes. These species are known as "smooth barks" and include E. sheathiana, E. diversicolor, E. cosmophylla and E. cladocalyx. The remaining species retain the dead bark which accumulates. In some of these species, the fibres in the bark are loosely intertwined or more adherent. In some species the rough bark is infused with gum resin. Many species are ‘half-barks’ or ‘blackbutts’ in which the dead bark is retained in the lower half of the trunks or stems — for example, E. brachycalyx, E. ochrophloia, E. occidentalis — or only in a thick, black accumulation at the base, as in E. clelandii.
In some species in this category, for example E. youngiana and E. viminalis, the rough basal bark is ribbony at the top, where it gives way to the smooth upper stems. The smooth upper bark of the half-barks and that of the smooth-barked trees and mallees can produce remarkable colour and interest, for example E. deglupta. E. Globulus bark cells are able to photosynthesize in the absence of foliage, conferring an "increased capacity to re-fix internal CO2 following partial defoliation"; this allows the tree to grow in less-than-ideal climates, in addition to providing a better chance of recovery from damage sustained to its leaves in an event such as a fire. Different recognised types of bark include: Stringybark — consists of long fibres and can be pulled off in long pieces, it is thick with a spongy texture. Ironbark — is hard and furrowed, it is impregnated with dried kino which gives a dark red or black colour. Tessellated — bark is broken up into many distinct flakes, they can flake off. Box — has short fibres.
Some show tessellation. Ribbon -- is still loosely attached in some places, they can be firmer strips, or twisted curls. Nearly all eucalyptus are evergreen, but some tropical species lose their leaves at the end of the dry season; as in other members of the myrtle family, eucalyptus leaves are covered with oil glands. The copious oils produced are an important feature of the genus. Although mature eucalyptus trees may be towering and leafed, their shade is characteristically patchy because the leaves hang downwards; the leaves on a mature eucalyptus plant are lanceolate, petiolate alternate and waxy or glossy green. In contrast, the leaves of seedlings are opposite and glaucous, but many exceptions to this pattern exist. Many species
Opuntia called prickly pear, is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae. Prickly pears are known as tuna, nopal from the Nahuatl word nōpalli for the pads, or nostle, from the Nahuatl word nōchtli for the fruit; the genus is named for the Ancient Greek city of Opus, according to Theophrastus, an edible plant grew and could be propagated by rooting its leaves. The most common culinary species is the Indian fig opuntia. O. ficus-indica is a large trunk-forming segmented cactus which may grow to 5–7 metres with a crown of 3 metres in diameter and a trunk diameter of 1 metre. Cladodes may be spineless. Prickly pears grow with flat, rounded cladodes containing large, fixed spines and small, hairlike prickles called glochids that adhere to skin or hair detach from the plant; the flowers are large, solitary and epiperigynous, with a perianth consisting of distinct, spirally arranged tepals and a hypanthium. The stamens are numerous and in spiral or whorled clusters, the gynoecium has numerous inferior ovaries per carpel.
Placentation is parietal, the fruit is a berry with arillate seeds. Prickly pear species can vary in habit. O. ficus-indica thrives in regions with mild winters having a prolonged dry spell followed by hot summers with occasional rain and low humidity. A mean annual rainfall of 350–500 millimetres provides good growth rates. O. ficus-indica proliferates in various soils ranging from sub-acid to sub-alkaline, with clay content not exceeding 15-20% and the soil well-drained. The shallow root system enables the plant to grow in shallow, loose soils, such as on mountain slopes. Opuntia spreads into large clonal colonies, which contribute to its being considered a noxious weed in some places. Animals that eat Opuntia include Cyclura rock iguanas; the fruit are relished by many arid land animals, chiefly birds, which thus help distribute the seeds. Opuntia pathogens include the sac fungus Sammons' Opuntia virus; the ant Crematogaster opuntiae and the spider Theridion opuntia are named because of their association with prickly pear cacti.
Like most true cactus species, prickly pears are native only to the Americas. Through human actions, they have since been introduced to many other areas of the world. Prickly pear species are found in abundance in Mexico in the central and western regions, in the Caribbean islands. In the United States, prickly pears are native to many areas of the arid, semi-arid, drought-prone Western and South Central United States, including the lower elevations of the Rocky Mountains and southern Great Plains, where species such as Opuntia phaeacantha and Opuntia polyacantha become dominant, to the desert Southwest, where several types are endemic. Prickly pear cactus is native to sandy coastal beach scrub environments of the East Coast from Florida to southern Connecticut. Opuntia species are the most cold-tolerant of the lowland cacti, extending into western and southern Canada. Prickly pears produce a fruit eaten in Mexico and in the Mediterranean region, known as tuna; the fruit can be wine-red, green, or yellow-orange.
In the Galápagos Islands, six different species are found: O. echios, O. galapageia, O. helleri, O. insularis, O. saxicola, O. megasperma. These species are divided into 14 different varieties. For this reason, they have been described as "an excellent example of adaptive radiation". On the whole, islands with tall, trunked varieties have giant tortoises, islands lacking tortoises have low or prostrate forms of Opuntia. Prickly pears are a prime source of food for the common giant tortoises in the Galápagos islands so they are important in the food web. Charles Darwin was the first to note that these cacti have thigmotactic anthers: when the anthers are touched, they curl over, depositing their pollen; this movement can be seen by poking the anthers of an open Opuntia flower. The same trait has evolved convergently in other cacti; the first introduction of prickly pears into Australia is ascribed to Governor Philip and the earliest colonists in 1788. Brought from Brazil to Sydney, prickly pear grew in Sydney, New South Wales, where they were rediscovered in a farmer's garden in 1839.
They appear to have spread from New South Wales and caused great ecological damage in the eastern states. They are found in the Mediterranean region of Northern Africa in Tunisia, where they grow all over the countryside, in parts of southern Europe Spain, where they grow in the east, south-east and south of the country, in Malta, where they grow all over the islands, they can be found in enormous numbers in parts of South Africa, where they were introduced from South America. Prickly pears are considered an invasive species in Australia, South Africa, Hawaii, among other locations. Prickly pears were imported into Europe during the 1500s and Australia in the 18th century for gardens, were used as a natural agricultural fencing and in an attempt to establish a cochineal dye industry. They
Atlantic Richfield Company is an American oil company with operations in the United States, the North Sea, the South China Sea, Mexico. It has more than 1,300 gas stations in the western part of the United States, five gas stations at northwestern Mexico. ARCO was formed by the merger of East Coast–based Atlantic Refining and California-based Richfield Oil Corporation in 1966. A merger in 1969 brought in Sinclair Oil Corporation, it became a subsidiary of UK-based BP plc in 2000 through its BP West Coast Products LLC affiliate. On August 13, 2012, it was announced that Tesoro would purchase ARCO and its refinery for $2.5 billion. However, the deal came under fire due to increasing fuel prices. Many activists urged state and federal regulators to block the sale due to concerns that it would reduce competition and could lead to higher fuel prices at ARCO stations. On June 3, 2013, BP sold the Carson Refinery to Tesoro for $2.5 billion. BP sold its Southern California terminals to Tesoro Logistics LP, including the Carson Storage Facility.
BP will continue to own the ampm brand and sell it to Tesoro for Southern California and Nevada. BP licensed the ARCO rights from Tesoro for Northern California and Washington. ARCO is known for its low-priced gasoline compared to other national brands due to an early 1980s decision to emphasize cost cutting and alternative sources of income. ARCO is headquartered in California. Tesoro was renamed Andeavor in 2017, was acquired by Marathon Petroleum in 2018. Following the acquisition, Marathon hinted at keeping the ARCO brand name in Mexico as well as select US markets will rebranding the rest either as standard Marathon stations or Speedway locations; the Atlantic Petroleum Storage Company's heritage dates back to 1866. It became part of the Standard Oil trust in 1874, but achieved independence again when Standard Oil was broken up in 1911. In 1915, Atlantic opens its first gas station on Baum Boulevard in Pennsylvania. In 1917, First Richfield Oil Company of California gas station at Slauson and Central Avenues in Los Angeles, California.
Richfield Oil Company of California logo is an Eagle trademark. The Atlantic Refining Company was headquartered in Pennsylvania. In 1921, Sinclair Oil Company opens first modern service station in Chicago called "Greasing Palace No. 1". Sinclair gets into trouble with Teapot Dome scandal. In 1966, Atlantic merges with the Richfield Oil Company of California; the first CEO was Robert Orville Anderson. The new company boasts a new trademark, a red diamond shape called the ARCO Spark designed by Bauhaus artist and architect Herbert Bayer. Commercial oil exploration started in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in the 1960s and the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field, North America's largest oil field, was discovered on March 12, 1968, by Atlantic Richfield Company and Exxon with the well Prudhoe Bay State #1. Key employees with ARCO Alaska were Marvin Mangus John M. Sweet, William D. Leake, chief project engineer for the Alaska pipeline; the Richfield Oil Company of California had purchased the drilling rights to the land where the discovery well was located.
British Petroleum had drilling rights near the discovery well. ARCO acquired Sinclair Oil Corporation in 1969, but divested certain Sinclair assets during the mid-1970s, resulting in Sinclair returning as a private company. In 1978, ARCO opened the first of its AMPM convenience stores in Southern California. ARCO once had a presence in the Southwestern U. S.—a stretch of Texas State Highway 225 east of Loop 610 in Houston, had an oil tank farm once painted with the ARCO logo. Lyondell-Citgo would rebrand the oil tanks in the 1980s. ARCO's global corporate headquarters were in the ARCO Plaza in Los Angeles at the corner of 5th and Flower Streets, the site of Richfield's former headquarters. ARCO's Oil & Gas division headquarters were in downtown Texas; the headquarters' building was a 46-story office building designed by architect I. M. Pei, the ARCO Tower. ARCO sold the building in the mid-1980s. Today, ARCO operates about 1,100 stations in five Western states: California, Oregon and Arizona. ARCO merged with Anaconda Copper Mining Company of Montana in 1977.
Anaconda's holdings included the Anaconda, Montana Smelter. ARCO founder Robert Orville Anderson stated "he hoped Anaconda's resources and expertise would help him launch a major shale-oil venture, but that the world oil glut and the declining price of petroleum made shale oil moot"; the purchase turned out to be a regrettable decision for ARCO. A lack of experience with hard-rock mining and a sudden drop in the price of copper to below seventy cents a pound, the lowest in years, caused ARCO to suspend all operations in Butte, Montana. By 1983, only six years after acquiring rights to the "Richest Hill on Earth", the Berkeley Pit was idle. By 1986, some ARCO properties were sold to billionaire industrialist Dennis Washington, whose company, Montana Resources, operates a much smaller open-pit mine east of the defunct Berkeley Pit. In 1985, the Atlantic brand was spun off for ARCO's East Coast stations as Atlantic Petroleum. Atlantic was acquired by Dutch trader John Deuss, who sold it in 1988 to Sunoco.
The ARCO brand is now used on the West Coast. ARCO specializes in discount gas by removing many frills, among them forcing prepayment for fuel, not
14 cm/40 11th Year Type naval gun
The 14 cm/40 11th Year Type naval gun was the standard surface battery for Japanese submarine cruisers of World War II. Most carried single guns. Japanese submarines I-7 and I-8 carried an unusual twin mounting capable of elevating to 40°; the appended designation 11th year type" refers to the horizontal sliding breech block on these guns. Breech block design began in 1922, or the eleventh year of the Taishō period in the Japanese calendar; the gun fired a projectile 14 centimeters in diameter, the barrel was 40 calibers long. This gun was the weapon used by I-17 to sink SS Emidio and to shell the Ellwood Oil Field near Santa Barbara, California, it was used by I-25 for the Bombardment of Fort Stevens in Oregon near the mouth of the Columbia River and by I-26 to shell the Estevan Point lighthouse in British Columbia. A longer-barreled 14 cm/50 3rd Year Type naval gun was used aboard surface ships and for coastal defense. The.40 caliber/11th Year Type guns were intended for use against destroyers, fired base-fuzed projectiles with thinner shell walls allowing a larger bursting charge than the.50 caliber/3rd Year Type guns for potential use against armored ships.
The lower velocity.40 caliber gun had a useful life expectancy of 800 to 1000 effective full charges per barrel. Campbell, John. Naval Weapons of World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4. Fairfield, A. P.. Naval Ordnance; the Lord Baltimore Press. Webber, Bert. Retaliation: Japanese Attacks and Allied Countermeasures on the Pacific Coast in World War II. Oregon State University Press
The Monterey Formation is an extensive Miocene oil-rich geological sedimentary formation in California, with outcrops of the formation in parts of the California Coast Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, on some of California's off-shore islands. The type locality is near the city of California; the Monterey Formation is the major source-rock for 37 to 38 billion barrels of oil in conventional traps such as sandstones. This is most of California's known oil resources; the Monterey has been extensively investigated and mapped for petroleum potential, is of major importance for understanding the complex geological history of California. Its rocks are highly siliceous strata that vary in composition and tectono-stratigraphic history; the US Energy Information Administration estimated in 2014 that the 1,750 square mile Monterey Formation could yield about 600 million barrels of oil, from tight oil contained in the formation, down from their 2011 estimate of a potential 15.4 billion barrels. An independent review by the California Council on Science and Technology found both of these estimates to be "highly uncertain."
Despite intense industry efforts, there has been little success to date in producing Monterey-hosted tight oil/shale oil, except in places where it is naturally fractured, it may be many years, if before the Monterey becomes a significant producer of shale oil. The Monterey Formation strata vary, its lower Miocene members show indications of weak coastal upwelling, with fossil assemblages and calcareous-siliceous rocks formed from diatoms and coccolithophorids. Its middle and upper Miocene upwelling-rich assemblages, its unique siliceous rocks from diatom-rich plankton, became diatomites and banded cherts; the Monterey formation has long been recognized as the primary source of the oil produced from other formations in Southern California. Since 2011, the possibility that hydraulic fracturing might make the Monterey Shale productive over large areas has gained widespread public attention. According to the US Energy Information Administration in 2011, the 1,750-square-mile Monterey Shale Formation contained more than half of the United States’s total estimated technically recoverable shale oil resource, about 15.4 billion barrels.
In 2012, the EIA revised its recoverable volume downward, to 13.7 billion barrels. As of 2013 advances in hydraulic fracturing called "fracking," and the high price of oil resulted in spirited bidding by oil companies for leases. Occidental Petroleum and Venoco were reported to have been major players; the deposit lies 15,000 feet below the surface. A cited March 2013 study released by the University of Southern California estimated that if extensive resource-play development of the Monterey through hydraulic fracturing were successful, it could generate as many as 2.8 million jobs and as much as $24.6 billion in state and local taxes. However, observers have pointed out that as of 2012, however large its theoretical potential, no one as yet has succeeded in making the Monterey Shale economic through hydraulic fracturing. Richard Behl, a geology professor who heads the "Monterey And Related Sediments" consortium at California State University Long Beach, said that "The numbers were overblown, but it was a simple method and had an essence of truth."
Compared to other shale oil plays, the Monterey formation is much thicker and more laterally extensive, but much more geologically complex and deformed. See the linked photos from a field trip to Monterey outcrops at Vandenberg Air Force Base. "To say California geology is complex is an understatement.... The Monterey play is no slam-dunk." In 2013, Bakken shale-oil pioneer Harold Hamm said the Monterey "might have a lot of potential, but there are reasons why it’s not being produced." J. David Hughes, a Canadian geoscientist and Fellow of Post Carbon Institute, published a report in December 2013 analyzing the assumptions behind the EIA's forecast of Monterey tight oil production and the USC's forecast of resulting job and tax revenue growth, he found the EIA report's assumptions on prospective well productivity to be "extremely optimistic," and the total estimate of 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil "highly overstated." He found the USC study's assumption that development of the Monterey shale could increase California oil production as much as seven-fold to be "unfounded," and the economic projections regarding jobs and tax revenue to be "extremely suspect."
The Monterey Formation is considered the source of 84% of the oil in known fields of the San Joaquin Basin, a total of 12.2 billion barrels of oil. Of this, 112 million barrels of oil in known fields is produced from the Monterey itself; the Monterey formation is the source for such giant oilfields as the Kern River, Elk Hills, Midway-Sunset Oil Field, probable source for the overlying North and South Belridge Oil Fields. Monterey Formation oil was discovered at the Orcutt Oil Field in the Santa Maria Basin of Santa Barbara County in 1901; this was followed by other Monterey discoveries nearby, including the Cat Canyon Oil Field and Lompoc Oil Field. Each of these early Monterey discoveries depended on natural fractures in the Monterey; the Monterey Formation is one of the reservoirs in the Elk Hills Oil Field of Kern County. Major Monterey production was discovered in offshore oil fields, such as the South Ellwood Oil Field in the Santa Barbara Channel, the Poi
Refugio oil spill
The Refugio oil spill on May 19, 2015, deposited 142,800 U. S. gallons of crude oil onto one of the most biologically diverse coastlines of the West Coast of the United States. The corroded pipeline blamed for the spill has been closed indefinitely, resulting in financial impacts to the county estimated as high as $74 million if it and a related pipeline remain out of service for three years; the cost of the cleanup was estimated by the company to be $96 million with overall expenses including expected legal claims and potential settlements to be around $257 million. The oil spill, located north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, originated in a 2 feet diameter underground pipeline named Line 901 owned by Plains All American Pipeline. Crude oil produced by offshore platforms was transported from onshore receiving plants to another pipeline that transported the oil inland for processing; the oil pipeline operators in Midland, Texas had turned off an alarm that would have notified them of the leak as they were dealing with a separate problem with a pump.
The 28-year-old pipeline was not equipped with an automatic shut-off valve and was shut down by control operators when they were notified of the leak from parties who visually located the spill. Hundreds of animals along the coast were coated with the thick crude oil and many died. State parks and beaches located along the coastline were temporarily closed. While much smaller than the oil rig blowout that resulted in the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, this spill may have greater long term effects due to its potential impact on four state marine protected areas. Due to the unique characteristics of the area, it is one of the most studied marine environments in the United States; the area was one of the earliest locations in California developed for offshore oil and gas production. Crude oil and natural gas produced by offshore platforms is processed at onshore receiving plants before being transported to distant refineries; the source of the spill was a 10.6-mile pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline.
The 24-inch buried line was constructed in 1987 along the Gaviota coast to service the crude oil produced by offshore drilling. The pipeline can transport 2,000,000 U. S. gallons a day and the contents are heated to as high as 120 °F. Santa Barbara area pipelines are not heated but they are insulated to retain the oil's heat during transit; the viscous oil is blended with natural gas liquids to allow it to flow more through the pipeline. Truck transportation of oil was phased out in Santa Barbara County in the 1970s because pipelines were considered a safer option. Before the spill, an inspection of the 28-year-old Line 901 pipeline found extensive corrosion problems resulting in thinning pipeline walls; the pipeline did not have an automatic shut-off valve that would have been required on an intrastate pipeline as Line 901 is categorized as an interstate pipeline. Officials from Plains All American Pipeline claimed that installing a new valve would present other potential dangers; the line underwent a comprehensive internal inspection in July 2012 and since the area where the pipe broke had been repaired at least three times.
Line 903 is a much longer pipeline that transports the oil from Line 901 inland to gathering facilities and refineries. LIne 903 was found to be corroded though not as seriously. Exxon Mobil owns three offshore platforms, Hondo and Heritage, that transport their oil to onshore tanks at its Santa Ynez Unit in Las Flores Canyon, they depend on Line 901 to transport the oil from Las Flores to a pump station in a coastal canyon near Gaviota. The crude oil, known as Las Flores Canyon OCS flows into Line 903 as it is transported inland 128 miles to gathering facilities in Kern County and on to refineries throughout Southern California. Venoco’s Platform Holly located in the South Ellwood Offshore Oil Field depends on Lines 901 and 903; the Holly platform is about 2-mile offshore from the Coal Oil Point where about 4,000 U. S. gallons a day comes from natural seeps. Line 903 is used to move the production from platforms Hidalgo and Hermosa of Point Arguello Unit owned by Freeport-McMoRan to the ConocoPhillips refinery in Santa Maria.
The narrow coastal terrace where the spill took place is used for recreation and cattle grazing. Local land use agencies have kept oil processing facilities to a minimum along the populated Gaviota coast where much of the land is held in agricultural preserves under the Williamson Act and used for avocado and lemon tree orchards; the parks and agricultural areas on this narrow coastal terrace are situated between a rugged coastline and the Santa Ynez Mountains of the Los Padres National Forest. The nearest city is Goleta, about 11-mile down the coast. US 101 and the main coastal railroad line both parallel the coastline and the Hondo and Harmony oil rigs can be seen offshore in the Santa Barbara Channel from the highway or railroad; the Gaviota coast with its Mediterranean climate is considered unique for the biodiversity of ocean life. The unusual species found here are the result of the cold water from the north meeting the warm water from the south; the annual migration of about 19,000 Gray whales through the Santa Barbara Channel was in progress at the time of the spill.
They may come as close as 100-foot from the shoreline. On May 19, 2015, the pipeline operators in Midland, Texas remotely detected pressure anomalies and shut down Line 901 at 11:30 am; the Santa Barbara County Fire Department responded around 11:40 am to a report of a strong smell coming from the area. Fi