LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced the company achieved a milestone in its methane capture initiative, passing the one million cubic foot mark. This innovative process allows for gas that would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere during pipeline replacement work to be saved and reinjected into its pipeline system for later use.
Since SoCalGas began capturing methane during pipeline replacement projects in August, 2016, the company has captured approximately 1.2 million cubic feet of natural gas - the equivalent to about what 6,200 homes use each day on average in the U.S.
"Emissions from natural gas distribution systems represent less than 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, but we're always looking for ways to improve," said Rick Phillips, senior director of SoCalGas' Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan. "SoCalGas is making every effort to help reduce emissions as much as possible. We are committed to making investments to meet California's ambitious environmental goals and using this methane capture technology when possible is just one way we are achieving these goals."
"Atascadero and San Luis Obispo County are beneficiaries of multiple ongoing SoCalGas projects. We appreciate that this company is investing millions of dollars in the natural gas pipeline infrastructure in our area," said Tom O'Malley, mayor of Atascadero, Calif. "They have always focused on safety first and excellent customer service but have also been diligent stewards of our environment. The current effort to reduce impacts as they work in our communities, such as 'methane capture' that reduces noise and emissions, is welcomed and should be commended."
When crews perform work on a pipeline, natural gas inside the pipe must be purged for safety. By capturing this natural gas, SoCalGas is reducing emissions. SoCalGas compressed most of this captured gas and then pumped it into large tanks to be put back into SoCalGas' system and used by customers.
On Aug. 16, SoCalGas crews completed 11 hours of methane capture work near the Sepulveda Dam in Los Angeles. This project captured about 260,500 cubic feet of natural gas from a transmission pipeline that was removed from service as part of a pipeline replacement initiative and pushed SoCalGas over the 1 million cubic foot benchmark. Once the captured gas was cooled, it was injected back into the SoCalGas pipeline system.
The methane capture technique is being used as part of SoCalGas' Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan (PSEP), a multi-billion-dollar program that identifies various high pressure pipeline sections throughout SoCalGas' system and schedules them to be pressure-tested or replaced. PSEP also includes provisions to upgrade, replace or retrofit hundreds of mainline valves in the system with technology that allows them to be opened or closed remotely by system operators from a central control location, or that automatically shuts off the flow of natural gas in the event of a large drop in pressure.
SoCalGas dedicates significant resources to improving the safety and integrity of its more than 101,000 miles of natural gas pipelines. In 2017, the company plans to spend approximately $1.2 billion for improvements to distribution, transmission and storage systems and for pipeline safety.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States, providing clean, safe, affordable and reliable natural gas service to 21.7 million customers in Central and Southern California. Its service territory spans 22,000 square miles from Fresno to the Mexican border, reaching more than 550 communities through 5.9 million meters and 101,000 miles of pipeline. More than 90 percent of Southern California single-family home residents use natural gas for home heat and hot water. In addition, natural gas plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.
SoCalGas has served communities in California for 150 years and is committed to being a leader in the region's clean energy future. The company has committed to spending $6 billion over the next five years to modernize and upgrade its gas infrastructure, while also reducing methane emissions. SoCalGas is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas, a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative fuel created by capturing and conditioning greenhouse gas emissions from farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. The company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.
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SOURCE Southern California Gas Company