Oct 10 Southern California Gas Co is waiting for
final safety test results from fewer than 10 wells at its Aliso
Canyon natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles before state
agencies can allow the company to inject fuel into the field,
according to a report posted Monday.
SoCalGas shut Aliso Canyon in October 2015 due to a massive
methane leak that was not plugged until February.
Under state law, the gas utility cannot inject fuel into the
field until the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal
Resources (DOGGR) approves the company's testing of the 114
wells at the facility to ensure their safety.
SoCalGas is owned by California energy company Sempra Energy
. Aliso Canyon is the biggest of its four storage fields.
It supplies gas to homes and businesses in Southern California,
including power plants and refineries.
According to its latest report on Oct. 7, SoCalGas said 27
wells passed all safety tests, nine awaited results and 78 were
temporarily out of operation.
All wells must either pass all tests or be taken out of
service before DOGGR can call a public meeting. Since DOGGR must
give the public 15 days notice before a meeting, SoCalGas could
not start injecting gas into Aliso Canyon until some time in
late October at the earliest.
In addition to DOGGR, the California Public Utilities
Commission must also determine the field is safe to operate.
The state required SoCalGas to keep 15 billion cubic feet of
gas in the 86-bcf facility to minimize the risk of gas shortages
that could result in electricity outages.
Once enough wells have passed all tests and received DOGGR
approval to meet the PUC's withdrawal requirements, SoCalGas
said it will temporarily plug the remaining wells and take them
out of service.
The PUC in late September reduced the required minimum
withdrawal capability SoCalGas must maintain from 420 million
cubic feet per day to 207 mmcfd, which the utility said would
likley enable it to speed up the testing process.
Once those wells have been plugged and isolated from the
reservoir, SoCalGas can request authority to resume injections.
The company has not said when it planned to make that request.
At that point, DOGGR and the PUC would be able to undertake
their review and certification process, which will include a
public hearing, as provided by state Senate Bill 380, prior to
SoCalGas resuming injections.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Alan Crosby)