LOS ANGELES, CA — The California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has confirmed that the well that had been leaking at the Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon storage facility has been permanently sealed and taken out of service, SoCalGas announced.
On Dec. 4, 2015, SoCalGas commenced drilling a relief well to stop the natural gas leak by plugging the leaking well at its base. On Feb. 11, 2016, the company pumped in heavy fluids and successfully controlled the flow of gas out of the leaking well. On Feb. 12, SoCalGas began to pump cement from the relief well into the base of the well, completing the process on Feb. 18.
In a statement, Dennis V. Arriola, chairman, president and CEO of SoCalGas said: “We are pleased that DOGGR has confirmed that the well has been permanently sealed. While the leak has been stopped and the well permanently sealed, we have much work to do, partnering with state and local agencies to help the local community and impacted residents return to normal. We’ve already started inspecting all of the other wells at Aliso Canyon and will work closely with DOGGR to verify that the wells can be operated safely in the future.”
“We recognize the disruption the gas leak has caused to local residents. We are committed to earning back their trust and confidence over time through our actions, not our words,” said Arriola.
“Now that DOGGR has confirmed that the well is permanently sealed, the operations focus will shift to investigating the cause of the leak,” Arriola said. “We will continue to cooperate with state regulators and an independent investigator as they work to investigate the cause of the leak.”
As part of their independent responsibilities, the California Air Resources Board, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District have been monitoring on an hourly basis methane levels in the community.
Both agencies have reported an abrupt decline of methane levels in the community, consistent with the temporary control of the flow of gas on Feb. 11.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, “mercaptans and other odorants have not been associated with long-term health effects and short-term symptoms will go away once the odor exposure has diminished.” Now that the well is permanently sealed, there is no longer any gas or odorant being released from the well. As a result, residents should no longer experience short-term health symptoms related to the release of odorants from the gas well.
Residents in Porter Ranch who temporarily relocated because of the gas leak have been notified of this important milestone in the process, as have other residents of Porter Ranch and the surrounding communities.
Residents who have temporarily relocated to short-term housing, such as hotels, will have up to eight days/seven nights to transition back home, and residents who have been placed in rental housing will have through the agreed term of their leases to return home.