Huge Southern California gas leak pumping out 1,200 tons of methane each day

  • 8 years ago
PORTER RANCH, CALIFORNIA — A natural gas leak in Southern California that has been pumping 1,200 tons of methane into the atmosphere each day and sickening nearby residents is still weeks from being resolved, the company responsible has said.

Southern California Gas Co. said the leak at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility in Porter Ranch, which began on Oct. 23, is unlikely to be fixed until late March.

The leak from the 60-year old well has raised concerns about the general state of the U.S.' energy infrastructure.

According to a report in the LA Weekly, the gas is leaking through a breach in the well's 7-inch casing at a depth of around 470 feet, allowing the gas to travel down to the bottom of the well's outer casing at 990 feet and then through the surrounding rock formations and up to the surface.

One estimate has said the amount of gas leaking from the facility is the equivalent to the exhaust emissions of 2.3 million cars.

Several attempts to plug the leak by pumping fluids into the well to stop the flow of gas have been unsuccessful.

The company says it is now in the process of drilling a relief well to intercept the leaking well at a depth of 8,000 feet, although according to a report in the Los Angeles Times the company told state regulators this will not be finished until Feb. 24.

Once the relief well is complete, mud and heavy fluids will be injected into the well to stop the gas before cement is pumped into permanently seal the leaking well.

Residents living nearby have blamed the leak for an increase in health problems including nausea, headaches, nosebleeds and dizziness.

The company has so far paid for more than 2,000 residents to be relocated and is processing several thousand more requests.


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