Federal Task Force Recommends Increase in Safety Requirements for Underground Gas Wells

Aerial view of the Aliso Canyon gas leak, two months after the incident began. Earthworks (Aliso Canyon methane leak credit: Earthworks) [CC by 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Aerial view of the Aliso Canyon gas leak, two months after the incident began. Earthworks (Aliso Canyon methane leak credit: Earthworks) [CC by 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A federal interagency is increasing safety requirements for the 400 underground natural gas storage wells in America after the largest-known gas leak in Los Angeles spewed an estimated 107,000 tons of methane last year.

The Associated Press received a copy of the report early, which contains 44 recommendations to regulators to prevent future gas leaks and minimize the impacts of leaks that may occur. Further, the report recommends that gas-storage facility operators conduct strict risk assessments and come up with robust safety procedures, which includes developing backup systems for wells to contain gas if a leak occurs.

Gas contained at Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon well was dependent upon a single barrier, which failed in October last year and leaked methane for nearly four months and caused the evacuation of roughly 8,000 families from their homes.

As a result of the methane leak, SoCalGas spent an estimated $717 million in costs related to the leak, which does not include possible damage from pending lawsuits related to the leak or future violations brought on by ongoing official investigations.

The White House task force released a statement saying that natural gas infrastructure must be strong enough to “maintain energy reliability, protect public health, and preserve [the] environment.” They continued to say that operators should adopt the recommendations written in the report immediately in order to prevent future leaks.

View the full report here.

Source:
PHMSA
PennEnergy