Public Input Sought On Proposal To Put Aliso Canyon Back In Limited Service

WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA.com) — The first of two meetings to gather public input on a proposal to allow Southern California Gas Co. to resume injecting natural gas into the Aliso Canyon public storage facility will be held Wednesday in Woodland Hills.

Wednesday’s hearing, which will take place in the Trillium Room of the Hilton Woodland Hills at 5:30 p.m., will discuss the recommendation by state regulators that injections at the facility resume, but at reduced amounts and lower pressure levels than those requested by SoCalGas.

The state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources concluded in a letter sent to SoCalGas in mid-January that the utility has either completed or was on track to complete the steps required by state law and the governor’s office before natural gas injections can resume at the Porter Ranch facility – site of a four-month gas leak from October 2015 to February 2016 that spewed 109,000 metric tons of methane into the air.

“We want to hear the public’s thoughts on the testing and inspections, and the steps being taken to ensure public health, safety and environmental protection,” Ken Harris, the state’s oil and gas supervisor and director of DOGGR, said when the conclusions were reached.

“We are responsible for ensuring that if the facility reopens, the wells are safe. The entire facility has undergone extensive inspection and each well has been thoroughly tested with stringent standards that were developed with experts at the Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories.”

According to state regulators, 34 of the 114 wells at the facility had passed a series of safety tests by mid-January, indicating they can be safely used to again inject natural gas into the storage facility. The other wells have been taken out of service, and they must pass all safety tests within one year or be plugged. One of them was already being tested.

The proposal by the state calls for gas storage in the facility to be limited to 29 billion cubic feet. The facility has a capacity of 83 billion cubic feet. Regulators want the storage field to have a minimum of 15.4 billion cubic feet in storage at any given time to ensure there is a gas reserve “during an extreme weather event.”

The state is also proposing a maximum pressure level of 2,926 pounds per square inch — below the 3,595 psi proposed by SoCalGas. Regulators concluded that the lower-pressure recommendation “provides an important margin for well control and safety at this point in the well-evaluation regime.”

“Once the isolated wells have been plugged and abandoned or completed all testing and remediation…the division would consider a renewed proposal by SoCalGas to inject at a higher operating pressure,” according to state officials.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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