LOS ANGELES, Aug. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced the company has entered into a settlement agreement with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, the County of Los Angeles, the California Office of the Attorney General, and the California Air Resources Board to resolve all outstanding claims by those government bodies against the company related to the 2015-2016 natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. Under the terms of the $119.5 million settlement agreement, SoCalGas will, among other things, reimburse city, county and state governments for costs associated with their response to the leak; establish a program with the California Air Resources Board to mitigate the methane emissions from the leak; and fund local environmental benefit projects to be administered by the government parties.
"SoCalGas is delivering on our commitment to the Governor and the people of California to fully mitigate the methane emissions from the leak at our Aliso Canyon facility," said Bret Lane, president and chief operating officer for SoCalGas. "The settlement will also help California meet its ambitious climate goals by advancing projects that capture methane from dairy farms and waste and convert that energy into renewable natural gas for use in transportation. SoCalGas is pleased to have worked with the Attorney General's Office, the Air Resources Board, the Los Angeles City Attorney and the County of Los Angeles to resolve these matters for the people of California."
Building on the comprehensive safety enhancements that have been introduced at the field, SoCalGas also agreed to continue its fence line methane monitoring program and hire an independent ombudsman to monitor and report on safety at the facility.
Most Comprehensive Safety Review in the Nation
On Jul. 19, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) cleared SoCalGas to resume limited injections at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility as described here. State regulators and independent experts at the National Labs have called the safety review conducted at Aliso Canyon the most comprehensive in the nation.
Under new regulations, gas will only flow through newly installed and pressure-tested inner steel tubing. The outer casing of wells will serve only as a secondary layer of protection. At the state's direction, the field also will be operated at a reduced pressure, providing an added margin of safety.
Additionally, SoCalGas has introduced industry-leading technology and practices at Aliso Canyon, including:
- Around-the-clock pressure monitoring of all wells in a 24-hour operations center;
- Daily patrols to visually examine every well four times each day;
- Daily scanning of each well, using sensitive infrared thermal imaging cameras that can detect leaks; and
- Enhanced training for our employees and contractors.
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 21.8 million customers in Central and Southern California. Its service territory spans 24,000 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 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. SoCalGas 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.
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 such as "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "plans," "estimates," "projects," "forecasts," "contemplates," "assumes," "depends," "should," "could," "would," "will," "confident," "may," "can," "potential," "possible," "proposed," "target," "pursue," "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.
Factors, among others, that could cause our actual results and future actions to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties relating to: actions and the timing of actions, including decisions, new regulations, and issuances of permits and other authorizations by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), U.S. Department of Energy, California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, states, cities and counties, and other regulatory and governmental bodies in the United States; the timing and success of business development efforts and construction projects, including risks in obtaining or maintaining permits and other authorizations on a timely basis, risks in completing construction projects on schedule and on budget; the resolution of civil and criminal litigation and regulatory investigations; deviations from regulatory precedent or practice that result in a reallocation of benefits or burdens among shareholders and ratepayers; denial of approvals of proposed settlements or modifications of settlements; delays in, or disallowance or denial of, regulatory agency authorizations to recover costs in rates from customers or regulatory agency approval for projects required to enhance safety and reliability, any of which may raise our cost of capital and materially impair our ability to finance our operations; the availability of electric power and natural gas, and natural gas pipeline and storage capacity, including disruptions caused by failures in the transmission grid, moratoriums or limitations on the withdrawal or injection of natural gas from or into storage facilities, and equipment failures; changes in energy markets; volatility in commodity prices; moves to reduce or eliminate reliance on natural gas; the impact on the value of our investments in natural gas storage and related assets from low natural gas prices, low volatility of natural gas prices and the inability to procure favorable long-term contracts for storage services; risks that our counterparties will be unable or unwilling to fulfill their contractual commitments; weather conditions, natural disasters, accidents, equipment failures, computer system outages, explosions, terrorist attacks and other events that disrupt our operations, damage our facilities and systems, cause the release of greenhouse gases and harmful emissions, and subject us to third-party liability for property damage or personal injuries, fines and penalties, some of which may not be covered by insurance (including costs in excess of applicable policy limits), may be disputed by insurers or may otherwise not be recoverable through regulatory mechanisms or may impact our ability to obtain satisfactory levels of insurance, to the extent that such insurance is available or not prohibitively expensive; cybersecurity threats to the energy grid, 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 and employees; capital markets and economic conditions, including the availability of credit and the liquidity of our investments; and fluctuations in inflation and interest rates and our ability to effectively hedge the risk of such fluctuations; the impact of recent federal tax reform and uncertainty as to how it may be applied, and our ability to mitigate adverse impacts; actions by credit rating agencies to downgrade our credit ratings or to place those ratings on negative outlook; the ability to win competitively bid infrastructure projects against a number of strong and aggressive competitors; and other uncertainties, some of which may be difficult to predict and are beyond our control.
These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that Sempra Energy has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 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.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Company