The Region

All workers but those essential to maintenance were evacuated when natural gas bubbles began to surface near Texaco's "Platform Harvest," 3 1/2 miles off Point Arguello, and a diver who plunged 160 feet below the surface found a pencil-thin stream of bubbles gurgling up from the ocean floor. Some of the workers evacuated from the oil platform 40 miles west of Santa Barbara were permitted to return when the bubbling subsided as mysteriously as it had begun--but the company still wants to know what caused the incident. "Now the concern is finding out what caused the bubbles," said John Aucott, a spokesman for Texaco. Another Texaco spokesman, Bob Hammond, denied that the seepage constituted a major danger, but admitted it was "not a commonplace occurrence."

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