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Plains Pipeline, L.P.

[Information up to date as of 09/21/2017]


What's New

  • On January 9, 2017 a follow-on Coastal Development Permit with Hearing to Plainsí Emergency Permit was approved by the Zoning Administrator. Emergency response and clean-up activities have been completed; biological restoration and monitoring is on-going. Plains Line 901 and 903 stopped operating on May 19, 2017 have remained shut down.
  • On May 20, 2015 the Director of Planning and Development gave verbal and email authorization to Plans to conduct emergency response operations and issued an subsequent Emergency Permit on July 3, 2015. Emergency response and cleanup operations were immediately initiated under the direction of a Unified Command led by the USCG and the EPA, in consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Plains. Emergency response operations to date have included: excavation of contaminated materials at the spill site and along the coastal bluff top; excavation, removal and repair of the damaged section of pipeline; cleaning of culverts; excavation and repair of four pipeline anomalies located west of the spill site; removal of contaminated sand from beaches; cleaning of rocks and coastal cliffs; and, on-water operations for oil containment and removal.
  • On May 19, 2015 Line 901 released an estimated 2,960 barrels of crude oil.

Description

The Plains Pipeline is comprised of two pipeline segments which traverse Santa Barbara County, Line 901 along the Gaviota Coast and Line 903 which extended inland to Kern County. Line 903, a steel 30-inch pipeline, became operation in 1991 with a throughput capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. Line 903 transported crude oil approximately 113.4 miles from the Gaviota Pump Station north to the Sisquoc Pump Station located east of the Santa Maria River, and through the Los Padres National Forest and Cuyama Valley to the Pentland Delivery Point located in Kern County. Line 901, a shorter a 10-mile, 24-inch steel pipeline became operational in 1994 and served to connect the Las Flores Pump Station to Line 903 via the Gaviota Pump Station. The Plains pipeline system was originally constructed with the intent to transport sale quality crude oil from Santa Barbara County to various other pipeline and refineries with the final end destination in Texas.

All-American Pipeline Relocation Efforts at Gaviota Creek

Plains - All American Relocation Efforts at Gaviota Creek

Location

Within Santa Barbara County, the Plains Pipeline originates in the Las Flores Canyon Oil & Gas Processing Facility, extends west to the Gaviota Pump Station and courses north to the Sisquoc Pump Station, before turning east past the Hallador facility and onward into San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties.

Pipeline Map

All American Pipeline Map

Onshore Facilities

  • 24-inch diameter, 10-mile long coastal branch
    • Transports oil from the Las Flores Canyon Processing Facility to the main All American Pipeline system at Gaviota
    • 150,000 barrel per day design capacity

  • 30-inch diameter, 130-mile-long mainline
  • Pump stations at three locations in Santa Barbara County
    • Las Flores Pump Station
    • Gaviota Pump Station
    • Sisquoc Pump Station

  • Pipeline Isolation Block Valves/Remote Terminal Units at five locations in Santa Barbara County. Valves and RTU's communicate with Plains remote operator control room and allow the valves to be closed at sensitive habitat locations should an oil flow anomaly be detected
    • Refugio Creek
    • Gaviota Creek
    • Santa Ynez River
    • Sisquoc River
    • Cuyama River

Product Distribution

Crude Oil

Product Destination:

  • From Sisquoc Pump Station to the Santa Maria Refinery or the Pentland Pump Station in Kern County.
  • From Pentland Pump Station to other pipeline systems and on to Bakersfield, Los Angeles, or San Francisco


Past Activities

  • In 2016 the County issued zoning clearances for anomaly digs along Line 901 and 903.
  • In 2015 the County issued zoning clearances for anomaly digs along Line 901 and 903.
  • A Supplemental Site Assessment Report was completed in May 2012 (a Soil Sampling Site Assessment Report was completed in August 2010), which included the Plains Pipeline site as well as areas owned by adjacent operators, Gaviota Terminal Company and ARCO Alegria.  This information will be used to determine the extent of site contamination for development of a site remedial action plan for all three company sites.  Once a remedial plan is identified, additional environmental review will be conducted and the Demolition and Restoration (D&R) permit issued for the Plains Pipeline.
  • November 2011, more than 12 truckloads of organic topsoil were delivered and spread in a layer more than six inches deep.  Additionally, hydroseeding was completed over the entire area affected by recent remedial activities.
  • October 2011, removal of all pumps, piping, electrical connections, foundations and other ancillary equipment was completed at the site.
  • In March 2008, Plains Pipeline received County Permits to perform two anomaly digs on coastal and inland sections of their 24-inch diameter oil pipeline. Plains also received approval in April 2008 to perform 11 additional anomaly digs on coastal and inland sections of their 24-inch diameter oil pipeline, under a Repair and Maintenance Permit Exemption to investigate the need for pipeline repairs.  Depending upon the inspection results, certain portions of the oil pipeline will be repaired, replaced or left in place. The anomaly investigations began in early August 2008.
  • In January 2006, the Director of Planning & Development issued Plains Pipeline, L.P. a Demolition and Reclamation Permit to remove its Gaviota Booster Pump Station. This pump station is located on the Gaviota Terminal facility. Prior to decommissioning of the facility, the pump station served to pump crude oil stored at the Gaviota Terminal to the Plains Gaviota Pump Station on the north side of Highway 101 for pipeline transportation to refinery destinations.
  • The County approved a change in ownership of the Plains Pipeline on June 3, 2003. The action transfered ownership from All American Pipeline Company (a corporation) to Plains Pipeline, L.P. (a limited partnership).
  • Plains project's revegetation bond has been reduced due to the company's success in restoring grassland, shrubland, and riparian areas along the pipeline's 70-mile right-of-way. The Energy Division will continue to work with Plains to develop restoration approaches for areas of the pipeline project where impacts to habitat are still visible.
  • Plains is proceeding with the operation of pipeline monitoring wells at its three active pipeline pump stations within Santa Barbara County:
    • Gaviota Pump Station
    • Las Flores Canyon Pump Station, and
    • Sisquoc Pump Station


    These monitoring wells aid in the detection of oil spills.
    Monitoring wells at the Gaviota Pump Station and the Gaviota Booster Station were installed in October 2001, while wells at the Sisquoc Pump Station and the Las Flores Canyon Pump Station were installed in January 2002 following the County's approval of the project.

  • Plains tests each monitoring well weekly, by inserting a probe that measures Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). An increase in VOC levels may be an indication of an underground pipeline flange leak.
  • The Planning Commission approved Santa Barbara County's portion of the Plains Pipeline project in 1985 citing the environmental benefits of crude oil transport via pipeline.
  • Construction of the 30-inch-diameter mainline, extending from Gaviota to McCamey, Texas, began in 1986.
  • Construction of pump stations and pipeline components continued for four years.
  • Pipeline operations began on June 28, 1991. Infrastructure additions to the pipeline included:
    • Construction of the 24-inch diameter coastal segment linking Exxon's Las Flores Canyon processing facility with the Plains mainline at Gaviota in 1990.
    • Construction of the Las Flores Canyon Pump Station in 1994.
  • Since operations began in 1991, there have been only four minor spills from the Plains Pipeline System. These spills occurred at pump stations and were completely contained.
  • An underground pipeline flange leak occurred in March 2000 at the Sisquoc Pump Station spilling an estimated 47 barrels of crude oil before being detected at the surface. Spill cleanup required removal of approximately 150 cubic yards of contaminated soil.
  • Plains Pipeline once transported oil to McCamey, Texas for distribution to facilities in west Texas, the Gulf States, and the Midwest; however, that segment of the pipeline between Emidio, California and McCamey, Texas was idled and subsequently sold in the late 1990s to El Paso Natural Gas Company.
  • In September 2005, Plains conducted annual visual inspections of the Santa Ynez, Sisquoc and Cuyama River pipeline crossings, pursuant to Final Development Plan Condition E-2. The inspections revealed no channel degradation or conditions that could potentially reduce the cover over the pipeline at these crossings. The plan was review by the County’s Environmental Quality Assurance Program monitor and recommendations were made.

 
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