Chevron spills 800,000 gallons of oil and water in Kern County canyon

California authorities said Friday that crews are beginning to clean up a massive oil spill that dumped nearly 800,000 gallons of oil and water into a Kern County canyon, making it larger — if less devastating — than the state’s last two major oil spills.

The seep, which has been flowing off and on since May, has again stopped, said Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua, with the last flow Tuesday.

She and California officials said the spill is not near any waterway and has not significantly affected wildlife.

Chevron reported that 794,000 gallons of oil and water have leaked out of the ground where it uses steam injection to extract oil in the large Cymric Oil Field about 35 miles west of Bakersfield. The steam softens the thick crude so it can flow more readily — a different process from fracking, which breaks up underground layers of rock.

About 70% of the leaked fluid is water, Chevron said, meaning about 240,000 gallons of the mixture is oil.

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Chevron spills 800,000 gallons of oil and water in Kern County canyon, by Associated Press Staff, The Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2019.

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