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SoCalGas provides update on Aliso Canyon

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has provided an update on the latest infrastructure, technology, and safety enhancements at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in California.

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has provided an update on comprehensive infrastructure, technology and safety enhancements made at its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. The company continues to make significant progress towards completing the comprehensive safety review required by California's division of oil, gas, and geothermal resources (DOGGR). In addition, the inner tubing of every approved well has been replaced. In total, more than 40 miles of new steel piping has been installed. Once SoCalGas has met all of the requirements of the Comprehensive Safety Review, the company will request regulatory approval to begin replenishing the supply of natural gas at the facility to support regional energy reliability.

Well inspections

To date, 27 storage wells at the facility have passed all of the tests required under DOGGR's Comprehensive Safety Review. The remaining wells either have been temporarily and mechanically sealed off from the storage reservoir until further testing is completed or have been permanently plugged and taken out of service, in compliance with regulations and state law.

In addition to being mechanically sealed from the pressure in the field, the wells are also filled with fluid that provides additional protection. Daily observation of these temporarily sealed wells will continue and they are also being monitored in real time for pressure changes.

Infrastructure upgrades

In accordance with new regulations and state laws, withdrawal and injection of natural gas now will occur only through newly installed inner tubing of wells approved for use by DOGGR. Physical barriers, or casings, around the new inner tubing will provide a secondary layer of protection against potential leaks.

As noted above, SoCalGas has replaced the inner tubing of every DOGGR-approved storage well with new pipe. In total, more than 40 miles of new steel piping has been installed.

Technology and safety enhancements

In addition to the Comprehensive Safety Review of storage wells, SoCalGas is introducing a number of new enhancements to further promote safety at the facility, including:

  • An infrared fence-line methane detection system with eight pairs of infrared methane monitors.
  • Around-the-clock pressure monitoring of all wells.
  • Twice daily patrols to visually examine every well.
  • Daily scanning of each well using sensitive infrared thermal imaging cameras that can detect leaks.
  • An air quality notification system that provides residents the opportunity to receive prompt information via phone call, text message and/or email, in the event of a reportable release of natural gas. Community members can register for notifications via the SoCalGas website.


Strengthening communications with the community

To strengthen communications with the Porter Ranch community, SoCalGas has formed a new Aliso Canyon Community Advisory Committee that consists of residents, business owners, and community leaders from various constituencies throughout the Porter Ranch area, as well as representatives from faith-based organisations, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, and other stakeholders.

Well inspection process

The protocol for storage well inspections was established by DOGGR in consultation with the Lawrence Livermore and Berkeley National Laboratories and in compliance with state laws.

The Comprehensive Safety Review includes temperature and noise tests, ultrasonic imaging, cement bond tests, magnetic flux leakage tests, multi-arm caliper tests, and hydro-pressure tests of both the wells' casings and of the steel tubing within the wells.

Root cause analysis

SoCalGas continues to work in support of the CPUC Safety and Enforcement Division's and DOGGR's ongoing investigation of the root cause of the leak at Aliso Canyon. The investigation is now expected to be completed during the first half of 2017, but the timing is under the control of the CPUC Safety Enforcement Division and DOGGR.

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