State Regulators Confirm Aliso Canyon Well is Permanently Sealed

Feb 18, 2016

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) today confirmed that the well that had been leaking at the Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon storage facility has been permanently sealed and taken out of service, SoCalGas announced.

On Dec. 4, 2015, SoCalGas commenced drilling a relief well to stop the natural gas leak by plugging the leaking well at its base. On Feb. 11, 2016, the company pumped in heavy fluids and successfully controlled the flow of gas out of the leaking well. On Feb. 12, SoCalGas began to pump cement from the relief well into the base of the well, completing the process on Feb. 18. 

"We are pleased that DOGGR has confirmed that the well has been permanently sealed," said Dennis V. Arriola, chairman, president and CEO of SoCalGas. "While the leak has been stopped and the well permanently sealed, we have much work to do, partnering with state and local agencies to help the local community and impacted residents return to normal. We've already started inspecting all of the other wells at Aliso Canyon and will work closely with DOGGR to verify that the wells can be operated safely in the future."

"We recognize the disruption the gas leak has caused to local residents. We are committed to earning back their trust and confidence over time through our actions, not our words," said Arriola.

"Now that DOGGR has confirmed that the well is permanently sealed, the operations focus will shift to investigating the cause of the leak," Arriola said. "We will continue to cooperate with state regulators and an independent investigator as they work to investigate the cause of the leak."

As part of their independent responsibilities, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District have been monitoring on an hourly basis methane levels in the community.  Both agencies have reported an abrupt decline of methane levels in the community, consistent with the temporary control of the flow of gas on Feb. 11. View AQMD data here:  http://www.aqmd.gov/home/regulations/compliance/aliso-canyon-update/air-sampling/air-montoring-activities/continuous-methane-monitoring-data

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, "mercaptans and other odorants have not been associated with long-term health effects and short-term symptoms will go away once the odor exposure has diminished."  Now that the well is permanently sealed, there is no longer any gas or odorant being released from the well.  As a result, residents should no longer experience short term health symptoms related to the release of odorants from the gas well. 

Residents in Porter Ranch who temporarily relocated because of the gas leak have been notified of this important milestone in the process, as have other residents of Porter Ranch and the surrounding communities. Residents who have temporarily relocated to short-term housing, such as hotels, will have up to eight days/seven nights to transition back home, and residents who have been placed in rental housing will have through the agreed term of their leases to return home.  Specific information on return home process and exceptions for special circumstances can be found at:  www.alisoupdates.com/acu-return-home-faq

About Southern California Gas Co: Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego

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, California Energy Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, and other regulatory, governmental and environmental bodies in the United States; 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 and interest rates; the availability of electric power and 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; 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; 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 some of which may or may not be covered by insurance; risks that our partners or counterparties will be unable or unwilling to fulfill their contractual commitments; business, regulatory, environmental and legal decisions and requirements; 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 the company has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 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.

Southern California Gas Co. is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.9 million consumers through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy. (PRNewsFoto/Southern California Gas Company)

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SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

For further information: Media Inquiries: SoCalGas 24-Hour Media Hotline - 877-643-2331