12/15/2019

In California, natural gas availability still an issue 3 years after major leak

After the well at Aliso Canyon was sealed, the state of California prohibited Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) from filling the storage facility, a series of underground caverns made of depleted former oil wells, to capacity. SoCalGas also may not draw gas from Aliso Canyon unless other options have been exhausted. The result is that California is entering the third summer in a row where SoCalGas has warned that there might not be enough natural gas to feed Southern California’s needs through both the summer and the winter.

Besides regulatory restrictions on filling Aliso Canyon up to capacity, a number of pipeline outages have also kept the amount of natural gas in the Southern California area low. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), three pipelines in particular are out of commission with no completion date anticipated in the near future.

The result is that natural gas pipeline capacity and non-Aliso Canyon storage is projected to be 0.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) lower than it was last summer.

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