Media Statement On Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility

Dec 7, 2015

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Sempra Energy and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) today released the following update on the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility:

On Oct. 23, SoCalGas crews discovered a leak in one of the company's wells at its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, located in the northern part of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County.  The Aliso Canyon facility, which has been operated by SoCalGas since 1972, is situated in the Santa Susana Mountains.  The leaking well is more than one mile away and 1,200 feet above the closest homes.  It is one of more than 100 injection and withdrawal wells at the storage facility and is not impacting the company's ability to safely and reliably provide natural gas to its customers, which includes electric generators in the region.

SoCalGas has been working closely with several of the world's leading experts to stop the leak and determine the best way to cap emissions from the well site, as well as reduce the impact of the odorant that is required to be added to the natural gas for safety purposes.

On Dec. 4, SoCalGas commenced drilling of a relief well that will be used to intercept the leaking well and stop the leak.  This activity is expected to take three to four months.  SoCalGas continues to withdraw natural gas from the storage facility to serve customers.  These withdrawals reduce the overall pressure in the storage facility, which also should reduce the amount of natural gas that is emitted from the impacted well.

SoCalGas has been providing temporary relocation assistance to some local residents who have been concerned with exposure to the odorant used in the natural gas.

SoCalGas does not believe it is possible at this time to accurately measure the amount of natural gas being lost from the leak.  Once the gas leak is terminated, SoCalGas will conduct a fact-based measurement of natural gas lost from the leak and provide that information to the relevant regulatory bodies. 

At this point, any estimates published in the news media or elsewhere on the potential costs of this incident are premature and purely speculative.  Sempra Energy and SoCalGas are documenting the costs and plan to provide an update in Sempra Energy's Form-10K filing in late February 2016.  

SoCalGas maintains customary third-party insurance for its business activities, including its natural gas storage operations.  The company is working with its insurance carriers on this incident.

SoCalGas' top priority is to safely and expeditiously stop the leak, reduce the amount of natural gas emitting into the environment, and support the impacted customers during this unfortunate situation. The company will continue to work closely with all of the relevant authorities, including California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the agency that has regulatory oversight on this incident.

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, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, California Energy Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, and other regulatory, governmental and environmental bodies in the United States and other countries in which we operate; 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, interest and currency exchange rates; the impact of benchmark interest rates, generally Moody's A-rated utility bond yields, on our California Utilities' cost of capital; the availability of electric power, natural gas and liquefied 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 and the decommissioning of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS); 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; the ability to win competitively bid infrastructure projects against a number of strong competitors willing to aggressively bid for these projects; 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; risks that our partners or counterparties will be unable or unwilling to fulfill their contractual commitments; risks posed by decisions and actions of third parties who control the operations of investments in which we do not have a controlling interest; risks inherent with nuclear power facilities and radioactive materials storage, including the catastrophic release of such materials, the disallowance of the recovery of the investment in, or operating costs of, the nuclear facility due to an extended outage and facility closure, and increased regulatory oversight, including motions to modify settlements; business, regulatory, environmental and legal decisions and requirements; expropriation of assets by foreign governments and title and other property disputes; the impact on reliability of San Diego Gas & Electric Company's (SDG&E) electric transmission and distribution system due to increased amount and variability of power supply from renewable energy sources and increased reliance on natural gas and natural gas transmission systems; the impact on competitive customer rates of the growth in distributed and local power generation and the corresponding decrease in demand for power delivered through SDG&E's electric transmission and distribution system; 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 Sempra Energy has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC's website,, and on the company's website at

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.

Sempra International, LLC, Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, LLC, and Sempra Partners, LP, are not the same companies as the California utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) or Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), and Sempra International, LLC, Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, LLC, and Sempra Partners, LP, are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. Sempra International's underlying entities include Sempra Mexico and Sempra South American Utilities. Sempra U.S. Gas & Power's underlying entities include Sempra Renewables and Sempra Natural Gas.

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SOURCE Sempra Energy

For further information: Media: Javier Mendoza, SoCalGas, (877) 643-2331,; Financial: Kendall Helm, Sempra Energy, (877) 736-7727,