SoCalGas Announces New Video Demonstrating Well-Testing Process Being Performed to Safely Bring Aliso Canyon Back Online in Compliance with New Regulations

Thorough testing protocol provides assurance that facility critical to region's energy reliability is safe to operate

LOS ANGELES, July 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) released a new video today that shows the eight-step Safety Review Testing Regime established by the state's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). The protocol was established in consultation with the Lawrence Livermore and Berkeley National Laboratories. The video demonstrates the types of testing for each of the storage wells intended for operations at the Aliso Canyon storage facility.  Every well at Aliso Canyon will either pass a battery of tests (demonstrated in the video) or be taken out of operation and isolated from the underground gas reservoir before gas injection can resume at the facility.

SoCalGas has been working in compliance with the protocol to test all wells at the field since just after the leak was sealed five months ago.  As of July 15, all of the 114 active wells have completed Phase 1 inspections, which include temperature and noise tests, and 93 wells (or 82 percent) have moved on to Phase 2 of the inspection protocol.  Eighteen wells have completed all diagnostics, and 15 wells have received final DOGGR approval.

"This thorough testing is an important part of regaining people's trust and confidence that our Aliso Canyon facility is safe to operate," said SoCalGas Chief Operating Officer Bret Lane. "We are diligently following all new state guidelines, and we aim to receive authorization to partially restore operations at the field by late summer. We realize this is important to meeting Southern California's energy needs this summer and during next winter's heating season."

The eight tests include:

  1. A temperature test, which runs a thermometer throughout the well to check for changes in temperature that could indicate a leak.
  2. A noise test, which uses a sensitive microphone to record and listen for sound frequency changes that might indicate a leak.
  3. An ultrasonic imaging test which measures the thickness of the well's casing and cement quality using sound waves.
  4. A cement bond test, which also uses sound waves, and measures the quality of the adhesion between the casing and the cement, as well as the cement and the surrounding rock formation.
  5. A magnetic flux leakage test that creates a magnetic field to measure for any pitting in the steel casing and the thickness of the steel. 
  6. A multi-arm caliper test to measure the internal diameter of the steel casing while searching for changes in the wall integrity. 
  7. A hydro pressure test of the well's casing.
  8. A hydro pressure test of the tubing within the well.

In addition to the testing protocol, all Aliso Canyon facility wells are monitored for pressure changes and scanned daily with an infrared camera. This multi-stage well testing and ongoing monitoring provide a sound approach to assuring the integrity of wells at the Aliso Canyon facility. Animation of a well's components and demonstrations of the eight tests are shown in the video.

SoCalGas provides updates on the status of testing every two weeks to DOGGR, which posts them on its website. The next report will be submitted on Friday, July 29.  

About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. 

About Southern California Gas Co.: Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

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SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

SoCalGas 24-Hour Media Hotline: 877.643.2331 | socalgas.com/newsroom | @SoCalGasNews

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Southern California Gas Company , Sempra Energy