In California, natural gas availability still an issue 3 years after major leak
In 2015, one of 115 natural gas storage wells at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Southern California started leaking methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas. The leak took months to seal, becoming the second largest methane leak in US history but likely the most environmentally damaging methane leak in US history due to the fact that none of the methane combusted before being released to the atmosphere.
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.