LOS ANGELES, CA – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has announced that its relief well project to stop the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak is proceeding ahead of schedule and the company expects to stop the leak by late February, if not sooner.
The relief well drilling began Dec. 4, 2015, and is expected to reach the bottom of the well at a depth of about 8,500 feet below the surface next month. Once the well is sealed, it will be taken out of service permanently.
Jimmie Cho, senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity for SoCalGas said in a statement: “Our team of experts has been working around the clock since we started relief well operations in early December and we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made thus far; our top priority remains the safety of those working on the site and of the nearby community”.
The most recent Aliso Canyon preliminary emissions estimates by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) were posted Jan. 12, showing estimated emissions have decreased more than 60 percent since CARB’s peak estimates on Nov. 28, according to the latest CARB monitoring data. The estimated cumulative emissions released as a result of the leak are less than 1 percent of the state’s annual total.
CARB releases rough estimates of the volume of gas leaking from the well based on data collected during periodic flights using monitors to measure methane. The flyover data provide an estimated emission rate at the time the flights are conducted, and are used to develop a rough estimate of the total methane leaked to date. As CARB also acknowledges, a more refined estimate of the actual emissions will be conducted once the leak is stopped and additional data is collected and reviewed.
SoCalGas has said it intends to mitigate the environmental impact of the actual amount of natural gas released from the leak.
Meantime, legal actions against SoCalGas claim negligence, hazardous activity, nuisance and trespass and seek compensation for emotional and physical injuries, as well as for diminished property values.
So far, the possible long-term health effects of the chemical compounds in the leaking natural gas remain unknown, and real estate agents say the troubled well’s effect on property values won’t become clear for several months.