Platform Holly has been a mainstay off Goleta, part of the Ellwood Oilfield. The wells are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even if
they have been out of service since 2015.

State authorities are investigating a four-mile-long, two-mile-wide oil burst near Platform Holly off Goleta.

The splinter was first spotted late Friday and crews responded to the area at dawn Saturday.

The California State Lands Commission, Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response and the US Coast Guard believe the oil came from natural seepage.

Teams took samples from the shard and well for analysis and rushed to order; results are expected within a week.

“There are well-known active natural seeps under and around the Holly Shelf, which typically increase due to significant weather events like the one we’re experiencing this week,” a State Lands Commission spokesperson told News-Press. “Nevertheless, responders are taking every precaution and thoroughly investigating the incident.

“An investigation in and around the Holly rig over the weekend revealed no unusual conditions or release of oil from the rig or associated well plug and abandonment operations.”

Platform Holly, an orphan well, has been out of service since the Refugio oil spill in 2015 but is monitored 24/7. It is owned by the State Lands Commission after former owner Venoco filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

The State Land Commission and the City of Goleta held a virtual town hall, where they announced capping had resumed at Platform Holly. No well work has taken place since last Tuesday, the State Lands Commission emailed.

“The shard spins in a circular motion and will most likely dissipate quickly due to the recent storm,” he said.

State Senator Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, is aware of the outburst.

“Over the weekend I was informed by constituents of an oil spill spotted off Santa Barbara. I have and continue to be in contact with the California State Lands Commission and the Office of Spill Prevention and Response,” she told News-Press in a statement. “Agencies are actively investigating the matter to understand what caused the outburst and how to move forward.”

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