LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ —
Southern California Gas Company Update
SoCalGas Enters Final Phase in Stopping the Leak
Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) announces that operations have entered the fifth and final phase in efforts to stop the leak at its Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility. Although the completion date is anticipated to be by late February, or possibly sooner, the drilling operations can still encounter delays.
“Our team of experts has been working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since we started the relief well operations, and we’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made so far,” said Jimmie Cho, SVP of Gas Operations and System Integrity. “Our top priority remains the safety of those working on the site and the residents of the community. We have developed various contingency plans in case we encounter unexpected developments in the relief well drilling process that could slow our current progress. Our current schedule to control and stop the leak in February is consistent with the plan we have submitted to DOGGR [the State regulating agency, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources].”
The relief well reached a measured depth of about 8,400 feet and is approximately 200 feet away from where it is intended to intercept the target well. Although close in terms of distance, the objective of this phase is to close that distance while precisely aligning the relief well with the target well so the drill bit is in the best position to drill through and create the entry point for the pumping attempts. This final phase requires precision and accuracy which takes time.
Once the drill bit reaches the target well, the crew will transition from drilling operations to pumping heavy fluids and drilling mud into the target well to stop the flow of gas.
Once the flow of gas has been stopped, the crew will pump in enough cement to displace the fluids and mud and leave an initial seal of cement that will effectively cut off the target well from the reservoir, thus stopping the leak at its source. SoCalGas will work with the DOGGR to confirm the well is sealed.
Once the well has been sealed, gas will no longer be entering the well from the reservoir, and any remaining odors associated with the leak are expected to quickly dissipate, allowing residents to return to their homes.
At that point SoCalGas will begin efforts to conduct a root-cause analysis in an effort to identify the reason for the leak. SoCalGas will work with regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with all regulations.
For information on the Phases of the Relief Well Operations, and a video, visit:
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Public Health Works to Review Sampling Data and Monitor Health Effects
At this time, air sampling data continue to indicate that residents in nearby areas are not at increased risk for long-term health effects associated with exposure to the chemicals being released.
The smell from the leak may cause recurrent, short-term symptoms for persons who live near the Aliso Canyon site. Some individuals may be more sensitive than others, and the symptoms will generally go away once the odor exposure has stopped. Symptoms may include eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and nasal congestion, shortness of breath, nausea, stomach discomfort, dizziness, or headaches. Public Health encourages residents with symptoms to consider taking advantage of the voluntary relocation assistance.
Public Health continues to monitor potential health effects and is implementing an Expanded Air Monitoring Plan. This will increase the length of time of air samples from 10 minutes to 12-24 hours, and will also test for more chemicals. Public Health reviews and analyzes the air sampling data to determine whether results indicate an increased risk for harmful health effects. Results from the expanded air monitoring will be posted on Public Health’s website, along with interpretations of these results.
As this incident continues to evolve, the Expanded Air Monitoring Plan allows for adjustments to sampling frequency and locations in response to changing environmental conditions and requests from the community and other agencies. A more complete picture of potential health risks in the affected community will be available with the expanded air monitoring data.
For more information, visit: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/gasleak/