New leaks spring up at Chevron oil operation near McKittrick

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MCKITTRICK, Calif. (KGET) — Just a few weeks after Chevron was fined by the state for oil leaks in the McKittrick area, two new leaks sprung up last weekend. 

According to state records, two new leaks opened up in the Cymric Oil Field on Sunday, spilling nearly 2,000 barrels of material, including 232 barrels of crude oil, into a dry stream bed.

Damming was put into place to prevent the fluid from flowing further downstream and cleanup is underway. The cause of the leak is still under investigation, according to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. 

The leaks come after more than 18,000 barrels worth of oil leaked into the field during steam injection work this summer. 

“It remains our operational goal to prevent seeps consistent with DOGGR’s updated regulations, and we continue to work closely with regulators to address any seeps that occur,” Chevron said in a statement. “We are committed to managing the field and reporting events as required. Safety is our priority and we will continue to conduct activities to comply with agency requirements while protecting people and the environment.”

A plan for preventing more leaks is due to the state by Dec. 13, in addition to five years’ worth of well pressure data. The company said they plan to stop seepage by reducing the amount of steam being injected into the reservoir and balancing fluid withdrawal.

Chevron was fined $2.7 million by the state earlier this month for going through with these operations, which are illegal under new regulations adopted by the state in April. 

The goal of the penalty is to ensure Chevron doesn’t receive any economic benefit from the violations. According to the state, the illegal operations enabled Chevron to sell about 7,129 barrels of oil, with an estimated value of nearly $400,000. 

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