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.

2 minute read

February 12, 2016, 9:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid


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.

Thursday, February 11, 2016 in KTLA5

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.