March 1, 2013
Kimberly Rivers, OVN correspondent
A leaking natural gas line was found at an oil field in Upper Ojai between Summit Elementary School and the Camp Bartlett property Thursday afternoon.
“Five engines reported to the scene and officers found the broken gas pipeline coming from an oil well,” said VCFD public information officer Bill Nash. “There was concern due to flaring operations and dry brush in the immediate area. The valve was shut off and the flow of product was stopped. The gas did not ignite. It now becomes the responsibility of the oil company.”
Because there were no residences in the immediate area, no evacuations were ordered according to Nash.
No oil company employees were on site when the VCFD arrived, but firefighters were able to contact Vintage Oil Co. personnel who assisted with shutting off the valve.
“The pipe was damaged due to construction of a new pad for a tank. Thompson Oil was doing the construction,” said Santa Paula Battalion Chief Kevin Fildes. “We were able to contact Vintage Petroleum Co. who are very familiar with the area, they assisted us in shutting off the valve.”
“Once the initial work [of shutting off the valve] was complete, DOGGR staff met with representatives of the Thompson Oil Company and also with nearby residents,” said Don Drysdale, public affairs spokesperson for the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), the state regulatory body for oil and gas operations.. “DOGGR’s main concern is that the problem be corrected. The oil company fixed the line that had broken and DOGGR officials witnessed a pressure test to ensure the issue was resolved in accordance with our requirements.” He indicated that the field staff at the Ventura office are creating a report of occurrence regarding the incident.
Thompson Oil Company could not be reached for comment.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with additional quotes March 5, 2013 at 7:51 a.m.