Sunday/ fixing a natural gas disaster

The B.P. oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, is the worst environmental disaster in U.S history. In July 2015, B.P. agreed to pay about $18.7 billion in damages for water pollution caused by the spill, after being found ‘grossly negligent’ for its role in the oil spill.   Well – since October of last year now, there is a natural gas leak in Porter Ranch, California that threatens to rival the B.P. oil spill with its environmental impact.  By all accounts, the company (Southern California Gas), followed all the rules and regulations to maintain control of the massive gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon, its volume about one cubic mile, and a mile and a half below ground.  The problem is that the rules are too soft, and undemanding, and does not take into account the ageing infrastructure of many of these storage facilities.  All attempts so far to ‘kill the well’ has failed.  The company has spent $50 million on the repairs and the relocation of 2,500 families.  The current plan is to drill a relief well alongside the existing leaking well – a project that is estimated to fix the leak sometime in March.   The LA Weekly reports : The Aliso Canyon leak has increased the state’s methane emissions by 21 percent. As of now, 2.3 percent of the state’s entire carbon footprint is coming from one hole in the ground above Porter Ranch.

A report from the LA Times shows that as of Jan 5, the relief well had been drilled to a depth of 5,435 ft.
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A page from this week’s TIME magazine, reporting on the Porter Ranch natural gas leak.
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There are lots and lots of similar gas storage facilities in the USA.


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