Oil seeps, which may discharge into bodies of water such as an ocean, are naturally occurring discharges from petroleum and natural gas deposits. They are common in areas with substantial petroleum deposits such as Alaska, near Santa Barbara off the coast of California, the Caspian Sea, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and near Borneo.
The seep at Coal Oil Point near Santa Barbara has been intensively studied by scientists at the University of California which manages adjacent beach areas as a nature reserveWebpage Coal Oil Point Nature Reserve. Volume of the seep has decreased a oil and gas have been produced from the underlying formation. Some methane and petroleum are captured by seep tents, steel structures which trap the product which rises in plumes from vents in the ocean floor.
- "Natural Sources of Hydrocarbon Pollution" Black-Tides.Com
- "Beach Tar Study" Coal Oil Point
- "Decrease in natural marine hydrocarbon seepage near Coal Oil Point, California, associated with offshore oil production"
- "Submarine Oil Seep Study" Southern Santa Maria Basin and Western Santa Barbara Channel, Jointly funded by: MMS, USGS, County of Santa Barbara