An Offshore Oil Well Blows Out Near Santa Barbara, California (Great Events from History II: Business and Commerce Series)
Article abstract: An offshore oil well blew out near Santa Barbara, California, covering the coast with oil and raising concern over the environmental dangers of developing offshore oil resources.
Summary of Event
Large-scale drilling for oil along the outer continental shelf (OCS) of the United States was still a developing industry when the Union Oil Company’s well six miles at sea off California’s coast blew out on January 28, 1969. Although pierside drilling had been done in that area as early as 1896, when drilling at the Summerfield, California, field was extended into the Pacific Ocean by drilling from a wooden pier, the yield had been small—a barrel or two a day. Underwater drilling was used mostly in lakes and other inland areas.
It was not until the early twentieth century that exploration for and development of underwater oil deposits first occurred on a large scale, and even then it was basically in America’s quieter waters, initially in Louisiana lakes and then, in the 1930’s, in the Gulf waters immediately off the Texas and Louisiana shorelines. The pioneering work of one of the once lesser-known American petroleum independents, Oklahoma-based Kerr-McGee, developed the technology necessary to permit the drilling for oil beyond the three-mile limit on the outer continental shelf of the United States and the safe delivery of that oil to onshore users.
It was not until the...
(The entire section is 1938 words.)
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Offshore Oil Well Blows near Santa Barbara, California (Great Events from History II: Ecology and the Environment Series)
Article abstract: An offshore oil well blowout in the Santa Barbara Channel triggered a massive oil spill that focused national attention on the problem of oil in the marine environment.
Summary of Event
In 1969, the Santa Barbara Channel became the site of one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history. An offshore oil-well blowout triggered a massive oil spill that focused national attention on oil pollution and the environment.
The Santa Barbara Channel contained twelve offshore-drilling platforms by 1969. Eight were in state waters within three miles of shore, while four were in federal waters three to twelve miles from shore. Two of the platforms in federal waters were owned by the Union Oil company. One of these, Platform A, was located 5.5 miles offshore Santa Barbara, California.
On January 28, 1969, during the drilling of Well A-21 on Platform A, a blowout occurred as the crew withdrew pipe to replace a worn drill bit. Oil escaped for ten days at an estimated rate of 250,000 gallons per day. The flow was finally stopped on February 7 by pumping large amounts of heavy drilling mud into the well and topping the mud with a cement cap. Although this stopped oil escape from the well, oil continued to leak from the bottom at a rate of eight thousand gallons per day. The total volume of oil released during the first ten days was estimated at 2.3 million gallons. After one hundred days, the total...
(The entire section is 1956 words.)