Aliso Canyon Gas Leak -- Incident Update -- January 25, 2016
Provided by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Fire Department and South California Gas Company under Unified Command
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Southern California Gas Company Update
SoCalGas Enters Final Phase in Stopping the Leak
Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) announces that operations have entered the fifth and final phase in efforts to stop the leak at its Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility. Although the completion date is anticipated to be by late February, or possibly sooner, the drilling operations can still encounter delays.
"Our team of experts has been working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since we started the relief well operations, and we're very pleased with the progress we've made so far," said Jimmie Cho, SVP of Gas Operations and System Integrity. "Our top priority remains the safety of those working on the site and the residents of the community. We have developed various contingency plans in case we encounter unexpected developments in the relief well drilling process that could slow our current progress. Our current schedule to control and stop the leak in February is consistent with the plan we have submitted to DOGGR [the State regulating agency, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources]."
The relief well reached a measured depth of about 8,400 feet and is approximately 200 feet away from where it is intended to intercept the target well. Although close in terms of distance, the objective of this phase is to close that distance while precisely aligning the relief well with the target well so the drill bit is in the best position to drill through and create the entry point for the pumping attempts. This final phase requires precision and accuracy which takes time.
Once the drill bit reaches the target well, the crew will transition from drilling operations to pumping heavy fluids and drilling mud into the target well to stop the flow of gas.
Once the flow of gas has been stopped, the crew will pump in enough cement to displace the fluids and mud and leave an initial seal of cement that will effectively cut off the target well from the reservoir, thus stopping the leak at its source. SoCalGas will work with the DOGGR to confirm the well is sealed.
Once the well has been sealed, gas will no longer be entering the well from the reservoir, and any remaining odors associated with the leak are expected to quickly dissipate, allowing residents to return to their homes.
At that point SoCalGas will begin efforts to conduct a root-cause analysis in an effort to identify the reason for the leak. SoCalGas will work with regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with all regulations.
For information on the Phases of the Relief Well Operations, and a video, visit:
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Public Health Works to Review Sampling Data and Monitor Health Effects
At this time, air sampling data continue to indicate that residents in nearby areas are not at increased risk for long-term health effects associated with exposure to the chemicals being released.
The smell from the leak may cause recurrent, short-term symptoms for persons who live near the Aliso Canyon site. Some individuals may be more sensitive than others, and the symptoms will generally go away once the odor exposure has stopped. Symptoms may include eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and nasal congestion, shortness of breath, nausea, stomach discomfort, dizziness, or headaches. Public Health encourages residents with symptoms to consider taking advantage of the voluntary relocation assistance.
Public Health continues to monitor potential health effects and is implementing an Expanded Air Monitoring Plan. This will increase the length of time of air samples from 10 minutes to 12-24 hours, and will also test for more chemicals. Public Health reviews and analyzes the air sampling data to determine whether results indicate an increased risk for harmful health effects. Results from the expanded air monitoring will be posted on Public Health's website, along with interpretations of these results.
As this incident continues to evolve, the Expanded Air Monitoring Plan allows for adjustments to sampling frequency and locations in response to changing environmental conditions and requests from the community and other agencies. A more complete picture of potential health risks in the affected community will be available with the expanded air monitoring data.
For more information, visit: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/gasleak/
Los Angeles County Fire Department
LACoFD Strives to Meet Incident Objectives
The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) has been actively involved with this incident since notification of the gas leak. With the implementation of the Unified Command on Friday, January 22, 2016, LACoFD is striving to meet the incident objectives which include providing for the safety and security of the public and those involved with the incident and limiting the effects of the natural gas leak to the community and the environment. LACoFD also establishes and maintains positive relationships with the public, regulatory and cooperating agencies and provides timely and accurate incident information to the public, stakeholders, and the media. The LACoFD will continue to assess health risks through environmental data collection and analysis and to monitor potential community health effects.
About Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about the LA County Department of Public Health and the work they do, visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov, and follow Public Health on social media at twitter.com/LAPublicHealth, facebook.com/LAPublicHealth, and youtube.com/LAPublicHealth.
About The Los Angeles County Fire Department
The Los Angeles County Fire Department is committed to protecting lives, the environment, and property by providing prompt, skillful, and cost-effective fire protection and life safety services.
LACoFD's ability to develop new techniques and equipment to fight fires of all kinds has benefited not only the residents we serve, but the fire service in general, both nationally and internationally. LACoFD's Health Hazardous Materials Division protects the public health and the environment throughout Los Angeles County from accidental releases and improper handling, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes through coordinated efforts of inspections, emergency response, enforcement, and site mitigation oversight.
About Southern California Gas Company
Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.4 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.
This press release contains statements that are not historical fact and constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements can be identified by words like "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "plans," "estimates," "projects," "forecasts," "contemplates," "intends," "depends," "should," "could," "would," "will," "confident," "may," "potential," "possible," "proposed," "target," "pursue," "goals," "outlook," "maintain" or similar expressions, or discussions of guidance, strategies, plans, goals, opportunities, projections, initiatives, objectives or intentions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Future results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon various assumptions involving judgments with respect to the future and other risks, including, among others: local, regional, national and international economic, competitive, political, legislative and regulatory conditions and developments; actions and the timing of actions, including issuances of permits to construct and licenses for operation, by the California Public Utilities Commission, California State Legislature, U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, California Energy Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, and other regulatory, governmental and environmental bodies in the United States; the timing and success of business development efforts and construction, maintenance and capital projects, including risks in obtaining, maintaining or extending permits, licenses, certificates and other authorizations on a timely basis and risks in obtaining adequate and competitive financing for such projects; energy markets, including the timing and extent of changes and volatility in commodity prices, and the impact of any protracted reduction in oil and natural gas prices from historical averages; the impact on the value of our natural gas storage assets from low natural gas prices, low volatility of natural gas prices and the inability to procure favorable long-term contracts for natural gas storage services; delays in the timing of costs incurred and the timing of the regulatory agency authorization to recover such costs in rates from customers; deviations from regulatory precedent or practice that result in a reallocation of benefits or burdens among shareholders and ratepayers; capital markets conditions, including the availability of credit and the liquidity of our investments; inflation and interest rates; the availability of electric power and natural gas, and natural gas pipeline and storage capacity, including disruptions caused by failures in the North American transmission grid, pipeline explosions and equipment failures; cybersecurity threats to the energy grid, natural gas storage and pipeline infrastructure, the information and systems used to operate our businesses and the confidentiality of our proprietary information and the personal information of our customers, terrorist attacks that threaten system operations and critical infrastructure, and wars; weather conditions, conservation efforts, natural disasters, catastrophic accidents, and other events that may disrupt our operations, damage our facilities and systems, and subject us to third-party liability for property damage or personal injuries some of which may or may not be covered by insurance; risks that our partners or counterparties will be unable or unwilling to fulfill their contractual commitments; business, regulatory, environmental and legal decisions and requirements; the inability or determination not to enter into long-term supply and sales agreements or long-term firm capacity agreements due to insufficient market interest, unattractive pricing or other factors; the resolution of litigation; and other uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that the company has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC's website, www.sec.gov. Investors should not rely unduly on any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise these forecasts or projections or other forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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SOURCE Southern California Gas Company