SoCalGas Gets Green Light for Aliso Canyon Energy Storage Facility

Thursday, August 03, 2017

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SoCalGas has completed the steps necessary to safely begin injections at its Aliso Canyon storage facility and has started the process to resume limited injection operations.

The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce opposed Senate Bill 57, which if passed would have continued the prohibition of injecting natural gas into the storage facility. The Aliso Canyon facility is the largest storage facility for natural gas in the Southern California region, and if restricted would expose residents and businesses to potential electric blackouts, in the case of a natural gas shortage. 

Greater Irvine Chamber President and CEO Bryan Starr and Director of Government Affairs Whit Peterson testified during a California Energy Commission Joint Agency workshop in August 2016 and again in May 2017 to help move forward approval of operations at the Aliso Canyon storage facility. The approval comes at great relief and benefit to the thousands of area residents and businesses that rely on a dependable supply of energy.

SoCalGas must begin injections to comply with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) directive to maintain sufficient natural gas inventories at Aliso Canyon to support the reliability of the region’s natural gas and electricity systems.

The CPUC has reported that “delaying the resumption of injections after the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) completed its safety determination may itself pose a continued public safety and reliability risk to the Los Angeles Basin.”

State regulators have confirmed Aliso Canyon is safe to operate. SoCalGas has worked diligently to meet, and in many cases, exceed the requirements of the State’s year-and-a-half-long safety review.

DOGGR reported Aliso Canyon “has undergone more safety and regulatory scrutiny during this period than any of California’s thirteen other underground natural gas storage facilities, and likely more safety scrutiny from a regulatory agency than any other gas storage facility in the United States.”

In support of continued safety, SoCalGas operations at the Aliso Canyon storage facility will be held to what regulators have called the most rigorous monitoring, inspection, and safety requirements in the nation. Ongoing steps to maintain safety and accountability include:

  • Continued testing or abandonment of wells that remain temporarily plugged;
  • Real time pressure monitoring of all wells;
  • Visual inspections of each well four times a day and daily infrared thermal imaging scans; and
  • Continued operation of the fence line methane monitoring system.

A complete list is available here.

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