Texas Energy Company and Subsidiaries Indicted for Negligence During Oil Leak that Damaged SoCal Coastline

Amplify Energy faces charges in connection to Huntington Beach spill

By Sam Catanzaro

A Houston-based energy company and its subsidiaries face federal negligence charges in connection to the Huntington Beach oil spill that resulted in 25,000 gallons of crude oil being deposited in coastal waters. 

A federal grand jury Wednesday accused Amplify Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries of illegally discharging oil during a pipeline break in early October by acting negligently in at least six ways, including failing to properly respond to eight separate leak alarms over the span of more than 13 hours and improperly restarting the pipeline that had been shut down following the leak alarms. 

The indictment filed charges the companies that own and operate the 17-mile-long San Pedro Bay Pipeline with one misdemeanor count of negligent discharge of oil. The charged defendants are Amplify Energy Corp., Beta Operating Co. LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amplify doing business as Beta Offshore) and San Pedro Bay Pipeline Co. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Amplify).

The pipeline, which was used to transfer crude oil from several offshore facilities to a processing plant in Long Beach, began leaking on the afternoon of October 1, but the defendants allegedly continued to operate the damaged pipeline, on and off, until the next morning, according to the indictment. 

“As a result of the allegedly negligent conduct, what is estimated to be about 25,000 gallons of crude oil were discharged from a point approximately 4.7 miles west of Huntington Beach from a crack in the 16-inch pipeline,” the Department of Justice said in a press release. 

The indictment alleges that the defendants acted negligently in numerous instances. 

At the top of the list is failing to properly respond to eight alarms from an automated leak detection system that were activated between 4:10 p.m. on October 1 until the final alarm at 5:28 a.m. the following day. In addition, the indictment accuses Amplify Energy of shutting down and then restarting the pipeline five times after the first five alarms were triggered on October 1, resulting in oil flowing through the damaged pipeline for a cumulative period of more than three hours. Furthermore, prosecutors say despite the sixth and seventh alarms, the company continued pumping oil for three additional hours late on October 1 into the early morning hours of October 2 while a manual leak test was performed. In addition, despite the eighth alarm, the incident says Amplify Energy continued to run the pipeline for around an hour in the predawn hours of October 2 after a boat they contacted failed to see discharged oil in the middle of the night. 

The indictment also charges Amplify Energy of operating the pipeline with crewmembers who had not been sufficiently trained on the automated leak detection system and also with an understaffed and fatigued crew.

The company has not released a statement in the wake of the indictment. In a press release following the spill, however, Amplify Energy noted that it was complying with federal and state investigations. 

“Offshore energy development and maritime traffic can and have coexisted in this region for decades and we are committed to working with maritime stakeholders to investigate this incident and ensure something like this does not happen again,” the company said. “We will work closely and cooperate with all regulatory and governmental bodies.”

in Crime, News
Related Posts

Tsunami Advisory Issued for Pacific Palisades

January 15, 2022

January 15, 2022

No damage expected for Santa Monica Bay beaches By Sam Catanzaro A tsunami advisory remains in effect for Pacific Palisades...

Baseball Star Christian Yelich Sells Palisades-Area Property for $6.5 Million

January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

SoCal native planning to develop another Malibu property By Dolores Quintana Christian Yelich, All-Star player for the Milwaukee Brewers has...

NYC-Based Developer Finalizes Acquisition of Westside Residential Development Site

January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

Tishman Speyer to begin construction in late 2022 on its first LA-area residential project By Sam Catanzaro An NYC-based developer...

Bel Air Megamansion ‘The One’ Is Finally Being Put up for Sale

January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

$295 million asking price for infamous property By Dolores Quintana The One, the most famous of all the megamansions and...

Pacific Palisades Woman Murdered in Hancock Park Furniture Store

January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

Stabbing of Brianna Kupfer under investigation By Sam Catanzaro Police say a homeless man murdered a Pacific Palisades woman who...

Palisades Resident Pleads Guilty to Federal Extortion Charges

January 13, 2022

January 13, 2022

Thomas H. Peters, former Los Angeles City Attorney’s Official in charge of civil litigation faces up to 20 years in...

Bonin One of Two Councilmembers to Vote Against Anti-Camping Enforcement

January 13, 2022

January 13, 2022

City Council votives to enforce its anti-camping ordinance at 58 new locations By Sam Catanzaro Councilmember Mike Bonin was one...

Palisades Village Shop Sew Chateau is Closing

January 11, 2022

January 11, 2022

Shop closing after five year run By Dolores Quintana After five years, Sew Chateau is saying so long to the...

Local Mountain Lions Show First Reproductive Effects of Inbreeding

January 11, 2022

January 11, 2022

“It’s quite severe,” says the lead researcher in UCLA study  By Sam Catanzaro UCLA scientists tracking two local mountain lion...

Cedars-Sinai Urges Blood Donations

January 11, 2022

January 11, 2022

As 2022 begins, Cedars-Sinai is facing a critical blood shortage and is encouraging prospective donors to give blood as soon...

Annual Homeless Count Seeks Volunteers Through PPTFH: Palisades Today – January 10th, 2022

January 10, 2022

January 10, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Annual Homeless Count Seeks Volunteers Through PPTFH* Beloved Gerry Blanck’s Dojo Closes...

Massage Chair Mogul’s Mandeville Canyon “Fortress Estate” Sells for $56.55 Million

January 7, 2022

January 7, 2022

Matt Wollman sells estate  By Dolores Quintana A Mandeville Canyon “fortress estate” has been sold for over $55 million.  Matt...

Drop in Santa Monica Mountains Monarch Butterfly Numbers ‘Deeply Concerning’

January 5, 2022

January 5, 2022

By Dolores Quintana There are 18 critically endangered species of butterflies and moths in the state of California and the...

Interview: Westside Food Bank Adapting to Challenges of the Pandemic

January 4, 2022

January 4, 2022

An interview with Bruce Rankin, Executive Director of The Westside Food Bank By Dolores Quintana We spoke to Bruce Rankin,...

Arnold Schwarzenegger Donates 25 Tiny Homes for Veterans at West Los Angeles VA

January 4, 2022

January 4, 2022

$25k donation facilitates purchasing and building of 25 tiny homes Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently donated 25 tiny homes...