At about 3:20 a.m. on Monday, June 22, employees at the Venoco-operated Platform Holly reported that they had spilled a barrel of crude oil into the ocean about two miles off the coast of Santa Barbara. At this time, there is no official report on how the spill happened. Venoco Vice President Michael Edwards said that the platform has been shut down in order to investigate the cause of the spill, and won’t open again until all environmental regulations are met.
The crew at Platform Holly responded to the spill with an oil containment boom, a device that surrounds the area of the spill and prevents the oil from spreading. The nonprofit organization Clean Seas began cleanup this morning, and Edwards said it was completed around noon. However, he was unsure how much of the oil was recovered.
Investigators with UCSB’s geology department estimate that about 150 barrels of oil seep naturally in the area each day. Although this spill was less than one barrel, or 42 gallons, Edwards said that even a small amount could impact wildlife, so the investigation into the cause of the spill and the cleanup process are being taken very seriously.