Amplify Energy Corp., Houston, reached an agreement with the US government to resolve all federal criminal matters involving the company and its subsidiaries stemming from the October 2021 Southern California pipeline incident (OGJ Online, Oct. 4, 2021).
A broken pipeline off the coast of Huntington Beach, Calif., caused an oil spill, according to city officials at the time. Amplify Energy subsidiary Beta Offshore Operating Co. LLC notified the US Coast Guard of the oil sheen on Oct. 2. Beta’s holdings include San Pedro Bay Pipeline Co., which owns and operates a 16-in. OD subsea pipeline extending 17.5 miles from one of its platforms to an onshore pump station, metering, and tankage at the Port of Long Beach.
As part of the resolution, which is subject to court review and approval, Amplify agreed to plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor negligent discharge of oil in violation of the Clean Water Act. If approved by the court, Amplify will pay a fine of about $7.1 million over a period of 3 years, serve a term of 4 years' probation, and reimburse governmental agencies about $5.8 million for their response to the incident.
Amplify also agreed to implement compliance measures including installation of a new leak detection system and increased remote operated vehicle inspections of the pipeline.
Separately, the company noted an agreement in principle reached with plaintiffs in a class action to resolve all civil claims against Amplify and its subsidiaries. The settlement, the value of which was not disclosed, will be funded under the company’s insurance policies if approved by the court.
In February, Amplify filed a complaint against two shipping companies whose anchors struck the San Pedro Bay pipeline, damaging it and causing the oil release, the company said. Claims were also filed against the Marine Exhange of Southern California, which failed to notify Amplify of the anchor strikes, the company said in March.
Cleanup operations in all impacted counties were concluded in late December 2021.