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Well Kill Imminent
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The relief well is in a position to intercept the leaking well as early as Monday, February 8, according to Wade Crowfoot, Deputy Cabinet Secretary of the California Office of Emergency Services during his remarks at the Porter Ranch Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) on Thursday, February 4. There are variables that could cause that date to slip and in fact SoCal Gas is still reporting their objective is to kill the well later in February.

Crowfoot went on to explain that once the well is intercepted, there are quite a few steps before the well would be considered dead, including pumping mud, confirming that the mud is stable and has stopped the leak, pumping cement, curing the cement, and finally an assessment by the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources that the well is sealed. These steps could require five days or more. Any number of problems could occur including not intercepting the well, mud and fluids could take a long time to pump in, the mud might not control the leak, and more.

48 Hour Return Window

Forty-eight hours after the leak is officially stopped, SoCal Gas is no longer required by injunction to pay for relocation services. PRCAC President Paula Cracium shared that with the well kill imminent, relocated residents are concerned about the 48 hour return to home time. Residents need time to return to their homes and the logistics of returning 4,300 families during the same 48 hour period are untenable. The Governor’s Office stated that they do not have the purview to extend the 48 window but they would try to honor her request to provide real time progress reports on the well kill as the public is likely to be on pins and needles awaiting the conclusion of this leak. There was some indication that SoCal Gas is in discussions with the City Attorney about a possible change to the 48 hour timeframe, which they may be ready to announce in the next few days.

County Supervisor Antonovich’s Office announced that the return home was an agendized topic at their upcoming meeting on Tuesday, February 9. County Public Health, the AQMD and SoCal Gas will be part of that discussion.

The PRCAC received questions from Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council stakeholders expressing concern about how to know if it is safe to return. Cracium suggested that perhaps an agency should inspect 100 houses in the leak area to confirm that they are in fact safe. Evaluations should be made not only of odorants but of oily residue. Crowfoot is checking into the possibility of doing that kind of testing on the spot and sharing the information so that people can return home in confidence.

Safety Review

The facility may not be refilled until there has been a comprehensive safety review of the other 114 wells. This is expected to require several months. The PRCAC has asked for more specifics about what a comprehensive safety review includes so that residents will be confident about the findings.

Reliability Briefing

Larger image available in the powerpoint

Ed Randolph of the California Public Utilities Commission provided an update on the remaining gas in the Aliso Canyon Facility and the planned reliability in the coming months (View Aliso Canyon Gas Delivery Reliability Briefing Powerpoint). Normally at this time of year Aliso Canyon would have 80 billion cubic feet (bcf). It currently has 15 bcf. No gas has been injected since the end of October and gas has been provided from Aliso before drawing from the pipeline, in order to draw down the well. The 15 bcf number was selected to be able to provide possibly 5 bcf of gas in the winter during a cold snap when the pipeline might not be sufficient. The remaining amount may be needed during hot weather in the summer for power generation. However, gas delivery during the summer could be insufficient depending upon the winter gas usage and summer weather. Without new gas injections to Aliso Canyon winter 2016-2017 reliability is "unclear".

In the winter 60% the gas goes to core customers, meaning households, 20% to power generation, 20% to other. In the summer, 60% goes to power generation, 20% to households and 20% to other. SoCal Gas would not want to curtail delivery of gas to households, as that would results in a long recovery time to inspect and relight pilot lights across the affected areas.

Several factors affect the ability to rely on gas delivery from the pipeline and discontinue reliance on Aliso Canyon: Pipeline capacity and gas speed. Gas only travels at 30 mph in the pipeline. Several of the power plants that Aliso Canyon feeds are too far from other storage facilities. And those storage facilities are significantly smaller. There was further discussion on why Aliso was not emptied entirely and wouldn't that have reduced the amount leaking out. The estimate is that the amount leaking out is 5.3 bcf. Drawing Aliso to zero would reduce that number to 5.2 bcf, which was deemed not worth it.

View the meeting video on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/154271130

Meeting notes provided by PRCAC

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The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council is an organization that is officially certified by the City of Los Angeles to increase our influence with City lawmakers and departments to improve our community.

The PRNC came about as a result of Los Angeles City Charter Reform and interested stakeholders in our community. The Board is elected by stakeholders and holds monthly meetings, usually on the first Wednesday of the month. The agenda is emailed to those who subscribe (see the green box in the upper corner), on our website here and posted at 11280 Corbin Avenue, Northridge, CA 91326 on a bulletin board facing Corbin street.

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