Dec 1 California agencies expect to complete
their safety review of Southern California Gas' (SoCalGas) Aliso
Canyon in early 2017, preventing the utility from injecting
natural gas into the Los Angeles storage facility for at least
the first half of winter.
SoCalGas shut the facility in October 2015 after a massive
leak forced the evacuation of thousands in the Porter Ranch area
of Los Angeles.
In past years, the facility, which is the largest in the
state, provided much of the fuel used to keep the region's homes
and businesses warm in the winter and fuel power generators and
The California Department of Conservation's Division of Oil,
Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) said its review of
SoCalGas' safety tests at the facility required "significant
time, effort, and additional data from (the utility), and will
not be complete before the end of 2016."
"With safety as our top priority," DOGGR said it will set a
meeting once it completed the safety review sometime in early
2017. The division said it will give interested parties at least
15 days notice of the meeting.
Several local groups have called for the facility to be
Officials at Sempra Energy, which owns SoCalGas,
were not immediately available for comment.
SoCalGas sought state permission to re-inject gas into Aliso
Canyon on Nov. 1.
DOGGR said on its website that 31 of the 114 wells at the
site passed all of the state's safety tests, making them fit for
gas re-injection if the agency grants permission. The balance
remain temporarily sealed.
Before the leak, Aliso Canyon was able to deliver almost 1.9
billion cubic feet (bcf) per day. SoCalGas has not said how much
gas it may be able to withdraw from the wells that passed the
SoCalGas cannot inject fuel into the field until DOGGR and
the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) confirm the
field is safe.
The leak was discovered on Oct. 23, 2015, and not plugged
until February. The California Air Resources Board said last
month it was the biggest methane leak in state history.
The state required SoCalGas to keep 15 bcf of gas in the
86-bcf facility to minimize risk of gas shortages that could
result in electricity outages. The PUC required the utility to
be able to withdraw 207 million cubic feet per day of gas for
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)