Coast Guard Identifies Source of Huntington Beach Oil Sheen: Local Crude Oil

The US Coast Guard revealed on Monday that the mysterious oil sheen spotted in the Southern California waters of Huntington Beach last week was determined to be “lightly weathered crude oil,” dismissing initial concerns of gasoline or diesel contamination.

Initially observed on Thursday, cleanup efforts ensued over the weekend, retrieving approximately 85 gallons of oil product from the coastal waters, along with 1,050 pounds of oily waste, sand, and tar balls from the shoreline. By Saturday, local officials conducting a helicopter flyover noted no visible oil sheen, indicating progress in containment.

Although definitive identification of the oil’s source remains pending, preliminary analysis suggests it aligns with locally produced crude oil rather than imported varieties. This finding contrasts with typical natural seepage, pointing to a singular incident rather than an ongoing issue.

Huntington Beach authorities remain vigilant, with continued monitoring for any resurgence of “tarball conditions” along the coastline. Nearby cities including Newport Beach, Long Beach, and Laguna Beach also stand alert for potential impacts.

The recent incident echoes memories of a significant oil spill two years ago, which saw beaches closed for nearly a week after a massive discharge of up to 131,000 gallons of oil. However, Amplify Energy, linked to the 2021 spill, has asserted no connection to the current sheen, citing disparities in the observed characteristics.

As investigations continue, cooperation between Amplify Energy and authorities remains paramount, underscoring efforts to ensure swift resolution and environmental protection in the Huntington Beach area.