Gas leak Aliso mega impact

Gas leak Aliso mega impact

According to the researcher, the gas leak will have a substantial impact on the emission targets of the State of California. The effect of the emitted methane will continue for years.

According tot researchers in Science, the gas leak in the gas storage plant in Aliso Canyon (Los Angeles – USA) lost as much methane as an average EU country’s annual emissions like the Netherlands.

It’s the largest methane leak in the history of the US.

This leak can be compared with the environmental disaster of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon.

Climate change

Repairing the leak in an underground gas storage facility in the Aliso Canyon took 112 days. Since October 2015, 97,100 tons of methane was released into the atmosphere. According to the researchers, methane is a greenhouse gas that has a major negative impact on climate change.

Gas emissions extremely high levels

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) and the University of California gathered data on methane emissions during thirteen research flights. Initially investigator Stephen Conley could not believe the extremely high levels, according to the Guardian.

From a message in the Guardian
‘(…) “It became obvious that there wasn’t anything wrong with the instruments,” he said. “This was just a huge event.”
Tom Ryerson, a Noaa scientist who was co-lead on the study, said: “Our finding means that the Aliso Canyon leak was the largest accidental release of methane in the history of the US.” (…)’

Emissions targets

The manager of the Southern California Gas Company, told the media that the leak was repaired last February 18.

According to the researcher, the leak will have a substantial impact on the emission targets of the State of California. The effect of the emitted methane will continue for years.

The cumulative methane emissions from the Aliso Canyon facility have the greenhouse gas equivalent on the Earth’s atmosphere of burning nearly 800 million gallons of gasoline, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

Closure of well

By the end of November 2015 SoCal Gas had attempted six procedures to stop the flow by pumping a mixture of mud and brine down the well, the last being on November 25. The attempts failed because of ice formation and a high upward pressure averaging 2,700 pounds per square inch.

  • On December 4, 2015 SoCal started drilling a relief well to the caprock, 8,000 feet down, with the help of a subsidiary of Halliburton. The relief well is similar to the relief well BP’s engineers drilled to stop oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The plan was to pump liquid and cement into the main well once the relief well could vent the gas safely. SoCal estimated the first relief well would be completed by February 24, 2016.SoCal Gas planned to drill a secondary relief well, estimating the leak repair to take up until the end of March 2016.
  • After the seventh effort to plug the leak with slurry starting December 22 had created a 25-feet-deep crater around the wellhead, the danger of a blow out increased. The well needed to be stabilized with tension cables and further attempts to plug the well from above were halted. State regulators became more concerned about the wellhead’s stability.
  • In January SoCal sought permission to capture the natural gas and possibly incinerate it, but state regulators voted against it, worried about safety.
  • On February 11, 2016, the relief well intercepted the base of the leaking well and the company began pumping heavy fluids to control the flow of gas out of the leaking well. On February 18, 2016, state officials announced that the leak was permanently plugged.


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