By January 9, 2016 Read More →

Porter Ranch massive gas leak requires ‘tricky technical fix’

Southern California Gas Co. has spent $50 million, doesn’t expect Porter Ranch natural gas leak to be contained until March

A tricky fix is in the works to plug a massive gas leak from an underground storage well that has sickened residents of the Los Angeles neighborhood Porter Ranch for 11 weeks.

Porter Ranch

Photo: Environmental Defense Fund.

Gas company workers are drilling a relief well to intercept a leaking pipe from a natural gas storage field a mile and a half underground. The work could be completed by the end of February.

The leak detected Oct. 23 was in one of 115 wells where Southern California Gas Co., a division of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, stores natural gas in a vacant oil field beneath the Santa Susana Mountains above Porter Ranch. The company injects the fuel when demand is low and pumps it out during colder weather or when it’s needed to fire up natural gas-fueled power plants.

It is the largest natural gas storage facility west of the Mississippi River and can provide energy to all of Southern California for a month.

The leak was initially believed to be minor and coming from the top of the head, but was probably about 500 feet underground.

Porter Ranch

Photo: KTLA.

Pressure averaging 2,700 pounds per square inch prevented plugging the pipe with a mud and brine solution, spraying an oily mist at one point.

The relief well will target the pipe more than a mile below the leak. If successful, mud and brine will be used to plug the leaking well.

Because it’s difficult to hit such a tiny target a mile and a half underground, or in case the muddy solution doesn’t stop the leak, the company plans to begin drilling a second relief well later this month.

The sickening stench from the Porter Ranch natural gas leak has driven thousands of Los Angeles residents from the upscale community.

Southern California Gas Co. has spent $50 million so far and doesn’t expect the leak to be contained until March.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared an emergency last week requiring the gas company to pay the costs and instructing state regulators to protect taxpayers.

Health officials say it doesn’t pose long-term health problems, but the stink is making people ill.

Posted in: News

Comments are closed.