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After Almost Four Months, Monster Methane Leak is Capped

It's a temporary cap, but it means that thousands of Porter Ranch, Los Angeles residents can return home. SoCalGas has begun the process of permanently capping the leak of the huge natural gas storage field first detected on Oct. 23.
February 12, 2016, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
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The capping of the 8,000-foot-deep leak in the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Fieldthe largest natural gas storage field west of the Mississippi River, was achieved earlier than predicted.

"A relief well that was drilled toward the base of the leaking well -- beginning Dec. 4 -- finally reached its destination on Thursday (Feb. 11), the utility said," write Melissa Pamer and Kareen Wynter for KTLA5. "That had not been expected till late February."

Our initial post about the leak on December 16 stated that the leak "is not expected to be repaired for months, as incredible as that may sound."

“We have temporarily controlled the natural gas flow from the leaking well and begun the process of sealing the well and permanently stopping the leak,” said Jimmie Cho, SoCalGas senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity, in a statement [PDF].

Porter Ranch residents who relocated -- at the utility's expense -- because of odors from the gas leak were notified that the leak had been halted Tuesday, the Gas Co. said.

The next step is for state regulators with the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to "confirm the leak is halted and the faulty well shut down," write Pamer and Wynter. "[R]esidents will have eight days and seven nights to return to their homes."

Unlike other major leaks, such as the historic Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from April 20 to July 15, 2010 (less than three months) that killed 11 oil workers, spilling almost 5 millions barrels of oil, the SoCalGas leak was not from a production well but from a storage facility.

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Published on Thursday, February 11, 2016 in KTLA5
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