Southern California Gas Aliso Canyon Progress Update
Relief Well Operations Advancing On-Schedule into Fourth of Five Phases; Efforts to Alleviate Community Concerns, Reduce Emissions Continue
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) continues to work as quickly and safely as possible to stop the natural gas leak at its Aliso Canyon Storage Facility while reducing the odor reaching the community. The update below covers events and activities for the time period January 4-13, 2016. More information on the topics below is available by calling the media hotline at (877) 643-2331 or visiting www.AlisoUpdates.com.
Resident Relocations Continue
As of Jan. 13, SoCalGas has relocated 2,479 households and is continuing to work with 1,581 households in different stages of finalizing arrangements. SoCalGas is also offering pet boarding upon request for relocated families, and families who chose not to relocate but remain in the Porter Ranch 91326 zip code.
Progress on the Stopping the Leak—Relief Well in Phase 4
The relief well efforts are now in Phase 4, the "Follow" phase, and drilling is occurring at more than 7,600 feet as of Jan. 13. The objective of this phase is to maintain the proper distance and angle to the target well, while following it down to below 8,000 feet of measured depth using active magnetic ranging. This phase will put the relief well into position for the final phase of intercepting the target well. This phase will be one of the longer phases because the drilling crew has to gradually work its way down to below 8,000 feet of measured depth by alternating between drilling and ranging. This effort requires the drilling equipment to be retracted and exchanged with the ranging equipment, which can take a day for each process. Ultimately the relief well will intercept the leaking well at more than 8,500 feet below the surface. Fluids will be pumped in to stop gas flow, followed by cement, which should permanently seal the leaking well off from the natural gas reservoir.
The relief well process is scheduled to be complete sometime between late-February and late-March. A fact sheet on the relief well can be found on the SoCalGas newsroom: https://www.socalgas.com/newsroom. All work continues in conjunction with multiple agencies including: Los Angeles County and City Fire, California Office of Emergency Services, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Research (DOGGR), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CalOSHA), to oversee the operation and worker safety.
Sen. Fran Pavley's Legislative Proposals
The initiative announced this week by Sen. Pavley and other legislators, represents the start of a legislative process.
SoCalGas appreciates the legislators' interest in the topic and looks forward to participating in the public discussion. As we have since this incident began, SoCalGas stands willing and ready to cooperate with the Governor's office, all state and local officials, and regulatory agencies.
Air Quality and Public Health Information
The most recent Aliso Canyon preliminary methane emissions estimates by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) were posted Jan. 11, showing updated rough estimates of the volume of gas leaking from the well that indicate emissions have decreased from CARB's initial preliminary estimates, SoCalGas announced yesterday. This new posting represents an estimated 60-percent reduction in CARB emissions estimates since the Nov. 28 data, according to the latest CARB monitoring data, and an approximate 20-percent reduction in emissions estimates since the most recent Dec. 23 preliminary estimate by CARB.
SoCalGas continues to conduct twice daily air sampling both at the leak site and within the community. Results are posted on its website.
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has completed its review of the available data and has noted that "...the available Porter Ranch neighborhood air sample data does not indicate that an acute toxicity health hazard exists in the Porter Ranch neighborhood due to the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak." More information can be found on the OEHHA website.
Also, according to the Los Angeles County of Department of Public Health, (LA County DPH) Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Health Fact Sheet, Mercaptans, the odorant in the gas emitting from Aliso Canyon, may cause eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and nasal congestion, shortness of breath, nausea, stomach discomfort, dizziness and headaches. A number of the residents of Porter Ranch have reported experiencing one or more of these symptoms. However, according to the LA County DPH, this odorant is not associated with long-term health effects, though symptoms may recur on a daily basis as long as the odors remain.
Schools Back in Session
SoCalGas is committed to minimizing the burden on Porter Ranch residents and will work with LAUSD to provide support where needed. Porter Ranch residents who have been temporarily relocated can consider the following school transportation options for their children: bus transportation, mileage reimbursement or alternative transportation. For details, visit https://www.alisoupdates.com/need-assistance
SoCalGas Appears at Jan. 9 AQMD Hearing
SoCalGas appeared at the Jan. 9 hearing before the South Coast Air Quality Management District Hearing Board and has agreed to the stipulated abatement order that the Hearing Board will consider on Jan. 16. SoCalGas stands ready to implement its requirements just as soon as the Hearing Board takes final action. Among other directives, the order requires SoCalGas to collect and treat gas leaking from the well to the extent that it can be done safely. It also orders SoCalGas to fund additional air monitoring, to further enhance well inspections and fund an independent health study.
SoCalGas recognizes that expert public agency involvement and oversight is essential to assuring neighbors, customers and the general public that this accident is being addressed as safely and expeditiously as possible. This is SoCalGas' highest priority.
About Southern California Gas Co.
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.com (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 Co.