OREANDA-NEWS. August 25, 2016. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today released a new video demonstrating several operational enhancements and tools to monitor field operations at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, including daily and weekly safety and equipment checks, daily infrared video scanning, and continuous pressure monitoring.  The safety enhancements, required by the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), are in addition to the ongoing and rigorous well inspection procedures underway at the facility. 

"We are diligently following all regulations and state laws, and we aim to receive authorization to partially restore operations at the field by late summer," said SoCalGas chief operating officer Bret Lane. "As the joint agency Action Plan to Preserve Southern California Energy Reliability This Winter concludes, Aliso Canyon is critical to meeting Southern California's energy needs during the coming winter's heating season when natural gas use is highest."

New operational enhancements include:

  • Around-the-clock pressure monitoring of the tubing, production casing, and surface casing of every well - Continuous pressure data is transmitted 24/7 and can be reviewed by engineers and technicians. Any anomalies identified will initiate action and will be immediately reported to DOGGR.
  • Daily patrols to visually examine every well at Aliso Canyon - This includes an assessment of the wellhead, the well cellar, and the surrounding area. Specialized technology will assist inspectors as they "look, listen, and smell" for any potential leaks.
  • Daily scanning of each well using sensitive infrared thermal imaging cameras that can detect even the smallest leaks.
  • Withdrawal and injection only through each well's tubing – The well's tubing is the inner pipe that is surrounded by an outer casing. This physical barrier provides another layer in the well to protect against leaks.

Before gas injection can resume at Aliso Canyon, every well must either pass a battery of eight tests established by DOGGR, be temporarily taken out of operation and isolated from the underground gas reservoir, or be permanently abandoned. SoCalGas has been working to test all wells at the field since just after the leak was sealed six months ago. 

As of August 19, all of the 114 active wells have completed the first phase of testing required by new regulations and state law. In the process, many wells have been temporarily isolated from the gas reservoir in a safe condition until phase two testing can be completed. This step is required by DOGGR and does not mean these wells are unsafe or will not pass future inspections. Twenty-one wells have completed all diagnostics, and 18 wells have received final DOGGR approval.  SoCalGas provides updates to DOGGR on the status of testing on the first and third Friday of every month, which are then posted on the Division's website. The next report will be submitted on Friday, September 2.  

About Southern California Gas Co.

Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.