Unstoppable California Gas Leak Being Called Worst Catastrophe Since BP Spill

December 23, 2015   |   Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish
December 23, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Porter Ranch, CA — Methane gas continues spewing, unchecked, into the air over southern California from a fractured well to an underground storage site — at such an alarming rate that low-flying planes have necessarily been diverted by the FAA, lest internal combustion engines meet highly volatile gas and, well, blow the entire area to hell.  

This is, indeed, the biggest environmental catastrophe since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010; and for now, there is no way to stop it.

This methane disaster is worse than can be sufficiently described in words, because while it’s estimated well over 100,000 pounds of methane spew into the atmosphere every hour, the leak can’t be halted, at least until spring. Even then, that stoppage depends entirely on the efficacy of a proposed fix — which remains a dubiously open question.

According to the California Air Resources Board, methane — a greenhouse gas 72 times more impactful in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide — has been escaping from the Aliso Canyon site with force equivalent “to a volcanic eruption” for about two months now. So far, the total leaked gas measures somewhere around 100,000 tons — adding “approximately one-quarter to the regular statewide methane emissions” during that same time frame.

“The relative magnitude of emissions from the leak compared to other sources of methane in the State underscores the urgency of stopping the gas leak. This comes on top of any problems caused by odor and any potential impacts from exposure,” states the initial report on the Aliso leak by air quality officials.

The enormity of the Aliso Canyon gas leak cannot be overstated. Gas is escaping through a ruptured pipe more than 8,000 feet underground, and it shows no signs of stopping. As the pressure from the weight on top of the pipe causes the gas to diffuse, it only continues to dissipate across a wider and wider area,” explained Erin Brockovich, who spent time in nearby Porter Ranch investigating the leak.

Officials and experts are concerned, and they can’t recall another leak of this magnitude in decades — if ever. “I asked this question of our staff of 30 years,” said Steve Bohlen, who recently left his position as state supervisor of oil and gas. “This is unique in the last three or four decades. This is an unusual event, period.”

Though methane, itself, has no odor, the addition of odorants methyl mercaptan and tetrahydrothiophene — a safety measure to alert people by smell to the presence of natural gas — has made the enormous methane seepage impossible to ignore. Thousands of households have evacuated the area, despite little help, much less information, from the gas company about when they might be able to return. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, SoCalGas spokesperson Michael Mizrahi claimed the company had paid to relocate and house 2,092 households — but that effort is severely lacking, says Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.

Yesterday, the city attorney’s office sought a restraining order to mandate SoCalGas relocate residents in the affected area within 48 hours of their request; and it is also seeking a “special master” to oversee the entire relocation operation, which is currently being handled by the gas company. Not only does the present relocation lack speed and coordination, but a housing crunch has resulted in surrounding areas — in some cases landlords, who prefer year-long leases to shorter terms, have driven rent as high as $8,500 per month. Hotels are operating at capacity, and in “some of those hotel rooms there are not enough beds for the people who are being moved,” explained chief deputy to the city attorney, James P. Clark.

“It’s time Porter Ranch residents had direct and complete answers about all facets of this leak,” Clark continued, “including what caused it, how to stop it, and what will be done to assure it never happens again. They should receive better, quicker, and completely adequate relocation assistance.”

On Thursday, Los Angeles Unified School District board members voted unanimously to close two Porter Ranch schools and relocate their 1,900 students and staff to different locations for the foreseeable future. A local emergency has been declared by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Multiple lawsuits have now been initiated against SoCalGas and/or its parent company, Sempra Energy. A Los Angeles firm representing three of the families, who filed their suit Friday, described in a statement that the well has been “leaking noxious odors, hazardous gases, chemicals, pollutants, and contaminants due to a massive well failure and blowout. However, SoCalGas failed to inform residents of neighboring communities of the disastrous gas leak in a timely manner, putting the health and well-being of thousands of families in jeopardy.” Those suits allege “negligence, strict liability of ultra-hazardous activity, private nuisance, inverse condemnation, and trespass.”

A class-action lawsuit has also been filed on behalf of the Save Porter Ranch group; and City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a civil suit earlier this month due to the leak’s continued threat to residents’ health and damage to the environment, alleging failure by SoCalGas to prevent the leak and further exacerbation of “the effects of that failure by allowing the acute odor and health problems faced by the community to persist for more than one month, to say nothing about the indefinite time it will persist into the future,” state the court documents. “No community should have to endure what the residents of Porter Ranch have suffered from the gas company’s continued failure to stop that leak,” Feuer stated.

SoCalGas insists there will be no long-term health effects resulting from the persistent leak; but as Brockovich pointed out, “no one really knows the potential long-term side effects of benzene and radon, the carcinogens that are commonly found in natural gas.” In an email to the Los Angeles Daily News, SoCalGas stated they were “providing air filters for people’s homes” and “have established a claims process for those who feel they may have suffered harm or injury. And our top priority remains stopping this leak as quickly and safely as possible.

“While the odor added to the leaking gas can cause symptoms for some, the gas is not toxic and county health officials have said the leak does not pose a long-term health risk.”

But what’s making this massive leak so difficult to stop pertains to the storage ‘container,’ itself. “We have the largest natural gas storage system in the world,” boasts Chris McGill, vice president of the American Gas Association. In the United States, old underground oil fields are often put to use as storage vessels for natural gas — because, hey, that geology worked just fine to hold oil for millions of years, so why not natural gas?

In fact, there are some 300 such depleted subterranean oil fields being employed this way around the United States. Aliso Canyon, a natural gas storage site since the 1970s, has one of the largest capacities: 86 billion cubic feet. During the summer, gas earmarked for winter heating is pumped into these underground cavities by SoCalGas — and the process is reversed with the turn of the seasons. However, this year, workers encountered what quickly became evident was anything but a typical hiccup. As Wired reported:

“On October 23, workers noticed the leak at a 40-year-old well in Aliso Canyon. Small leaks are routine, says Bohlen, and SoCalGas did what it routinely does: put fluid down the well to stop the leak and tinker with the well head. It didn’t work. The company tried it five more times, and the gas kept leaking. At this point, it was clear the leak was far from routine, and the problem was deeper underground.”

Beginning December 4th, SoCalGas crews began drilling a relief well to intercept the fissured pipe. Cement will then be poured into both to seal the wells permanently. Of course, for this to work, crews must locate that original pipe, which is a mere seven inches in diameter, thousands of feet underground — without accidentally creating any sparks, whatsoever. Work near the leak site, therefore, has been prohibited after nightfall, when lighting equipment could potentially cause such a spark; though drilling for the relief well is situated far enough away to continue nonstop.

Flaring, or setting a deliberate fire to burn off excess gas, simply isn’t an option. The mammoth scope of this leak means a flare would ultimately complicate matters even further.

“There is no stone being left unturned to get this well closed,” Bohlen stated. “It’s our top priority.”

In the meantime, it will be months without any possibility of halting this disaster-in-motion. Sickened, uprooted, and furious residents can rest assured, though, because even as methane spews nonstop into the air, SoCalGas did have this consolation:

“We are deeply sorry for the frustration.”


This article (Unstoppable California Gas Leak Being Called Worst Catastrophe Since BP Spill) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Tim Evanson. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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109 Comments

  1. All the politicians are too busy slagging each other off and making things up to, put any effort into this…

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  2. yeah.. Dont see this as a potential problem…. nope. not with everyone advertising this opening up a gigantic can of worms with certain individuals poss looking at causing issues within our country. I also agree this really needs to be dealt with asap, but loose lips can still sink ships.

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  3. At least the photo shows them flaring off the gas. I'm not an expert but I don't think that the gas is oderized at that point. Thats why it has to be flared.

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  4. Robert Eilers .. haha maybe north of the boarder where penius size is out ragiously huge.. but south of the boarder its not possible for us mear english men,,,

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  5. What about polution and global warming .. Or do you believe in the American Goverments views that there is no such thing as global warming. And the anti media site is all about advertising such as this .. Or would you rather we didnt hane freedom of speach…

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  6. Hello Robert .. sorry that north of the boarder pun was because I thought you were from Sterlin in Scotland not Collerado… Collerado.. Home of dog the bounty hunter…

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  7. Jon Rigg global warming is bull shit just trying to scare all of us. To those who believe, i have a bridge to sell you.

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  8. Uh, okay, how about this: a huge sheet of PVC plastic covering the leak with a flex hose capturing the methane trapped under the sheet, and pumping it into a condensing tank? Is there something I'm missing, or am I some sort of super genius?

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  9. Forget about pollution and Global warming, what about the potential uses for the methane gas?

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  10. I think Cliff came up with the best solutions, least better than anyone in California, lol too bad no one else has, including me, but like everyone in california, I"m no expert.

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  11. Jon Rigg You'd probably have more credibilty if perhaps you would use spell/grammar check … Never mind, that post is still stupid. And you are English, right?

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  12. The problem is the enormous amount of pressure, so no… That wouldn't work…

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  13. John E. Lemons .. Haha no I don't need a bridge, thank you very much. I have never heard that phrase before and Ilike it..and I disagree .. I think global warming is an issuse .. how ever we are all intiteled to our own opinions and I respect yours .. its a mood subject really and can not be proved either way…so you will have to sell your London bridge to someone else …

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  14. At well over 100,000 pounds of methane spew into the atmosphere every hour. You'd be some sort of super genius to capture and condense that amount and have the tanks to store it.

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  15. John E. Lemons Ah, and you bought and own those bridges, . . . . . . seems you were taken for a ride.

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  16. . . . and dissipating through the earth because of the pressure – from thousands of feet below the surface. So, no, that wouldn't work.

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  17. I think Califorina should be paying the world for all the enviromental damage this is causing. Its only fair the rest of the developed world is paying carbon taxes its about time all those rich movie stars paid there fair share. If it wasnt for all there massive homes that need to be heated in that cesspool of humans in Los Angeles there wouldn't be a need for the massive natural holding tanks. You can pretty much blame hollywood for this. I personally will be posting every single article i can find on this diaster to show the how terrible California is for the enviroment. Certain stars feel its there duty to question other nations eviromental policy maybe they should take a look in there own back yards Leonardo DiCaprio you self righteous hypocrite.

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  18. So, what I'm hearing from those of you responding is NOT that it wouldn't work, but no one thinks the methane is worth enough to do it, since it becomes more a matter of scale, not impossible, just not economically feasible. The only response I DON'T understand is Claire S Bernish's. dissipating through the earth? Thousands of feet? This is gas, not molten lava. Also, NOTHING remains under pressure for long. It is the very nature of pressure that, once released, it decreases, and eventually totally dissipates.

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  19. What? What potential use? We've been using methane for decades we know most of the uses for it. The problem is that its leaking out from a pipe line designed to transport it to be used.

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  20. Working STRICTLY from Google maps, it would appear that the "Southern California gas company" is approximately 1.5 miles from this leak (even if it were 5x that) lines, storage tanks, hell balloons, could contain at least a portion of this gas, thereby alleviating these "devastating effects". My guess is that this is fourth estate hype to sensationalise and sell an otherwise uninteresting story.

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  21. There you have it. Vote Republican and you get less government- including less EPA to regulate and enforce standards. Don't worry Sarah Palin is convinced god will clean up the mess.

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  22. Kenny Rynearson says from a fractured well. Yes, I know methane has uses…that was the point.

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  23. Michael Bo Kjeldsen you clearly don't understand global warming if you're using cooling down currently as a means of disproving it. Do some more research on how it affects the earth before you have an opinion and decide it's worth making public.

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  24. This was my hometown over a decade ago, an old underground gas storage area leaked and travelled to my hometown from about 10 miles away. Now there are gas detectors, and vents allowing the gas out into the air after buildings downtown and a garage a block from my parents home blew up.
    http://www.kansas.com/news/article1071558.html

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  25. Check out how bad china's emissions are then make a valid comment about the world you fuck tard. I'm not from California but I know ignorance when I see it.

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  26. If the leak is in the well, below the surface, why is there methyl mercaptan in the leaking gas? Methyl mercaptan isn't added until the gas comes out of the well.

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  27. I thought that many landfills already resolve this issue with large tarps and channeling the gas to tanks.

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  28. I speak for the earth when I say this. You're stupid. Your brain is lying to you when it says you're a genius. What you need to understand is that they didn't call you to the front lines of this situation for a reason. You're hopelessly useless. Fitting place to find you here – on something just as useless… the Internet!

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  29. Derek Hävittäjä Kimbro NICE ONE! I seriously hope you didn't hurt yourself coming up with that dazzling display of wordsmithing.

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  30. Derek Hävittäjä Kimbro Yeah but you're a cunt and I also speak for the earth that no decent person agrees with your approach.

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  31. Steve Fowler Yes, terrorists are definitely more of an issue than human-caused climate change.
    Despite the fact that a vast majority of massacres and shootings in the US are caused by its own citizens.

    You're a fucking moron.
    Climate change is going to fuck everyone up pretty soon, the science and evidence is there.

    "BUT MUH FOX NEWS, THE TERRORISTS"

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  32. Yes, there's something you're missing: the crippling financial cost.

    Though there is no physical reason it could not be done (despite what commenters without much imagination or understsanding of physics and industrial processes are saying) the engineering requirements would be staggering.

    To capture the gas would require an immense airtight chamber be placed over the entire area from which the gas is escaping. A vast amount of pipework and pumping equipment would be needed to extract the gas from this chamber and feed it to processing equipment. The gas would then have to be purified to remove water vapor, radon, hydrogen sulfide, heavy hydrocarbon fractions and corrosive trace compounds.

    The purified methane would then have to be refridgerated to about -250 degrees fahrenheit using a set of heat exchangers with enormous internal surface area and vast volumetric capacity using a mind boggling amount of energy. Once liquefied the methane would require huge, lavishly insulated and expensive to maintain storage tanks for the forseeable future.

    An average methane liquefaction plant manages a few million tonnes of gas per year (when it doesn't even need to be stored on-site). This leak is releasing 45 tonnes per hour, that's 400000-ish tonnes per year. So you're talking about getting equipment sufficient to match the capacity of a small lng production facility that would usually take years and billions of dollars to build, and jury-rigging it overnight in an area where welding, cutting, artificial lighting all carry great risk of a lethal explosion.

    You can comfortably assume the costs would be at least ten times higher per megatonne-year of capacity under those conditions.

    The whole reason a subterranean cavern is used to store the gas in the first place is the financial infeasibilty of that prospect.

    It would certainly bankrupt the company, so they won't even consider it.

    Hurray for capitalism. :/

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  33. Kevin Clark With a large enough conatinment structure as a buffer, and liquefaction equipment capable of processing fifty tons an hour, it's actually quite feasible from and engineering viewpoint. There are plants which process 20 or 30 times that amount per hour, so as long as the gas is extracted fast enough the average pressure inside the containment structure would be kept within sensible limits.

    It's just too expensive for the company (or, I suspect, the US government) to consider.

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  34. Claire S Bernish If the gas is diffusing sideways as well as upwards over a large area, it simply means the containment structure (or system of boreholes) would have to be even larger.

    Very, very expensive; yes, certainly. Impossible? No, not at all.

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  35. William Rogers Actually you wouldn't have to be a super genius. You'd just have to be familiar with the industrial processes in which we already routinely process that amount of methane.

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  36. While you are factually correct, the way pressure dissipates is by escaping. In this case escape would be an environmental catastrophe.

    It's like saying "all fires eventually burn out" that's correct, but it's irrelevant when your head is the thing on fire.

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  37. Matthew Doctor China is a Country with no Standards. The US Pollutes the world gar enough for its only 250 Million ppl. It really sucks, specially what your Military causes

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  38. Lol vote what ever side you want ,
    Same story . We are all screwed .
    Government is government there is no sides to it. Just accept it .

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  39. lol this guy just blamed "Hollywood" for this. Newsflash, not everybody in California is an ultra rich movie star just like not everybody from Calgary, Alberta Canukistan is a hockey stick wielding, denim jacket wearing hoser. Or did I jump to conclusions?

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  40. SoCal Gas is NOT a government department paid with tax dollars, its a private company (just like BP). So up yours! The public shouldn't have to pay for this, the company should. -someone who only lives 4 miles away

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  41. Free Gas to all the Surrounding States, Pump Tankers Day & Night Would Offset Some of the Gas!

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  42. Michael Taylor thank you for giving me a SOUND reason, not a good one (as you pointed out) but sound.

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  43. William Rogers total leaked gas is 100000 pounds not every hour…read the article

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  44. Why can't they just evacuate the area and ignite it? As catastrophic as that would be for the area wouldn't that save the potential impact to the atmosphere? This is a most distressing problem if true…

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  45. This is the second article I've read where they say that they add an odorant (methyl mercaptan) to the gas. If the gas is escaping directly from an underground reservoir I don't understand exactly how and where they could be adding this. I guess I don't really buy this statement. Maybe I'm missing something. Also, wouldn't they have to add tons and tons of this chemical to the gas to treat such a huge amount?

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  46. Michael Bo Kjeldsen Seriously question. Who is more likely to have an agenda? 10 million scientists or the world's religious and political "leaders." hint: history has answered this question before

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  47. Build a huge electric plant close by and lastly place a huge dome with pipes leading to plant… no I am the genius Cliff

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  48. Matthew Doctor China 27 % of the world total global emissions
    United States 17%
    Chinese population 1.37 billion people
    Untied States population 320 Million
    You fuck tard so based on per capita the united states produces far more emissions. That was a simple search to find those stats so you continue to live your ignorant lifestyle where you continue to point the finger at every other counrty except your own
    My statement was ignorant to blame hollywood but that was the point you meatball because numerous movies stars come to my province(if you know what a province is?) to preach how the oil sands produce far to much emmissions.
    Canada 2% of the worlds total GHG emissions
    Alberta oil sands produce less than 2% of Canadas GHG emissions which is less than .02% of the total world GHG emissions.
    Canadians are being taxed for our emmisions so I just feel that Americans should to its only fair and all that money should go to finding cleaner ways to make energy.

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  49. Or!!
    Or!
    Or!….

    We can just let California blow up. C'mon, it wouldn't be a total loss…

    Las Vegas would become an Ocean-front town. We can rename it San Vegas.

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  50. Nathan Henderson Canada makes up less than one half of one percent of the world's population, but is the world's eighth largest producer of greenhouse gases (702 million tonnes in 2011).

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  51. "Also, NOTHING remains under pressure for long. It is the very nature of pressure that, once released, it decreases, and eventually totally dissipates."
    — While this statement is true, you ignore its means of dissipation. It is still a gas and when it dissipates it has to go somewhere. Be glad this gas isn't hydrogen because it would take more than an underground cave to contain it for long and it wouldn't be nearly as controllable as methane on average.

    Being a gas, it can dissipate between the molecules of the stone surrounding it. There's at least some possibility that the dissipation will be slow enough not to matter in the overall scheme of things. But no matter how deep the cave, the chances of it being air tight is very nearly impossible, especially as this cave once held liquid oil, NOT gaseous methane. The number of quakes over the centuries would almost certainly create cracks through which any lighter than air elements would easily rise and even through capillary action would permit smaller, more mobile molecules to seep through where heavy oil could not. You also can't assume that any remnant of the oil could fully seal the reservoir as considering the fact that the reservoir has been emptied of oil, what is left will almost certainly, if slowly, flow downward, leaving at most a relativley thin coating that again can be fairly easily cracked or even broken by seismic activity. That gas will, eventually, reach the surface. If you're relying on such underground reservoirs for storage of a gas, it had best be short-term because the only limit to its dissipation into the atomosphere will be the size of the molecules of the gas itself.

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  52. Michael Taylor understood, but contained escapement is still escapement, and I can't believe that this is continuing to leak at the same pressure it started at. This thing is being burned off , and has been for some time. Presumably there is an end to the source, otherwise the planet will cave in like a balloon with a slow leak.

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  53. Kristin Richey The gas maybe be natural, but there's nothing natural about the leak.

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  54. Maybe the American do gooders complaining about Canadian oil sands should stop and take a look at their cesspools in California. Leaking methane. Mercury contaminated gold mine areas Clean up your own problems before you worry about the rest of the world.

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  55. To all of those who seemed to think that I was labeling myself "a super genius" please look up the word "sarcasm". My point was, and is, that if a guy with no enigineering background more than changing a tire can come up with a solution (even if it IS cost prohibitive) then the leak isn't unstoppable. This leak can be stopped (controlled or contained) anytime they choose to, but the people selling gas in CA don't want to spend their profits on cleaning up their mess, and apparently your government approves of that business philosophy.

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  56. If the fines are big enough a solution will be found. Capitalism always needs incentives to solve problems, either positive or negative.

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  57. David Fields I understand, and agree completely. This is arguably the WORST idea for gas storage that anyone could devise. Having said that, dealing with THIS leak STILL doesn't seem Herculean in scale. These guys pumped it all in there, and according to the article its "seasonal" which means that it didn't take months or years to accomplish. I'm trying to figure out why (short of cost to them) the gas company can't just pump the remainder back out.

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  58. I'm just going to put this here.

    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    Sempra Energy
    Ticker: SRE
    Headquarters: San Diego CA
    Industry: Electric, Gas, And Sanitary Services

    In 2014, Debra L. Reed received $16,893,225 in total compensation. By comparison, the average worker* made $35,239 in 2013. Debra L. Reed made 479 times the average worker's pay.
    Salary $1,124,600
    Bonus $0
    Value of Stock Awards $5,061,615
    Value of Option Awards $0
    Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation $2,492,900
    Change in Pension Value and Deferred Compensation Earnings $8,036,421
    All Other Compensation $177,689
    Total $16,893,225

    http://www.aflcio.org/Corporate-Watch/Paywatch-2014/CEO-Pay-by-Industry#!/search/SRE

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  59. The writer knows nothing about gas work. They mentioned how they could cause an explosion if sparks were created intercepting the leaking pipe. News flash; gas, like any other combustible needs oxygen to explode or burn and there isn't a lot of oxygen 8000 feet down. Gas workers routinely work on live mains gas and arc welding without blowing up.

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  60. Lol. Just speeding up our inevitable demise at this point. Global warming is now in Runaway mode, or abrupt climate change. Might as well just get this ****ing thing done with shall we?

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  61. Good article. Thanks. Too much garbage advertising on this site though. Tone it down.

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  62. this is just horrible! People HAVE To CHANGE the way we live our lives. No more Methane or radiation or any of these things that are so easily able to kill us. OUr poor planet suffers while we stand idly by. For now all we can do is stop driving gas run cars and never eat beef products again. And VOTE of course. BERNIE SANDERS ALL THE WAY!!!

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  63. It looks like California has better schools. Your grammar is horrible.

    Have you been to Los Angeles? I wish it was all rich people living in massive homes. But it is packed with poor people just trying to get by. And the housing situation is pretty terrible. It is hard to afford even a 400 square foot studio in the worst part of town. Yes, we DO have bad parts of town and a lot of poor people. It doesn't get too cold here, either. So we don't heat our little homes that often. And most of us are liberal and know how to go green to save energy and costs. We are trying to get the rest of the country to get on board to GO GREEN! It is the liberals (predominantly here in California and especially Los Angeles) that want to find and implement cleaner energy. So please don't bash us. We care about the environment and the species living in it. It's the conservatives who want to get rich and live in their massive houses and don't care how they do it or what it costs the planet. Get your facts straight.

    You want to look at polution? Check out Australia.

    Maybe if we had a little more government regulation and less privitaization, big companies wouldn't make so many costly mistakes.

    I'm sorry we voted down building your pipeline across our country so that your country could sell oil and not risk the hazards of any incidents along the pipeline. Maybe your country will build your dangerous pipeline across your own country and put your own country at risk instead of trying to shove it off on us.

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  64. Nathan Henderson Sorry, couldn't hear your ignorance over the sound of my Ferrari's exhaust blaring along with the loud moans coming from my supermodel girlfriend. Would love to stick around and chat, but I've got to head on down to the studio, filming my next big action hit.

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  65. Nathan Henderson Sorry, couldn't hear your ignorance over the sound of my Ferrari's exhaust blaring along with the loud moans coming from my supermodel girlfriend. Would love to stick around and chat, but I've got to head on down to the studio, filming my next big action hit.

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  66. "Fractured" well? LOL. Just can't resist trying to tie this in to fracturing. So predictable. Guess what? The media completely blew the fracking story. It was old technology, and the reporters didn't comprehend the new tech involved using sliding sleeves in a horizontal bore, not hydraulic fracturing. You all get can't over it. You blew it. Deal with it.

    This well is used for underground storage, it is not a production well. Reading between the lines, it seems like cracked casing and possibly poor cement. There are definitely grounds to sue, I suspect. Perhaps they were lazy with their corrosion protection program.

    Anyhow, sealing the well with cement is not particularly difficult with modern rigs. The main hold up is the safety concern for the men. Still, I'd be surprised if this goes beyond February. As far as catastrophic environmental damage, there will be none. Enjoy the scare porn, but don't get too worked up by it. 

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  67. Well…. chit hapens…. There is absoluting NOTHING without risk. We could huddle in cold dark caves… but you know… electricity and a nice warm ash/soot free fire is a lot nicer. But I know…. one "ah chit" distroys a thusand attaboys (can we look at this from the point of how many billions (trillions) of cubic feet of has has been stored without incident?

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  68. I'm not related to the issue, but I don't believe the density of the escaped gas is high enough to ignite. That quantity of methane only exists near where the gas is evacuating from. The gas that has already escaped is not sticking around either. It's diffusing throughout the atmosphere.

    It might be possible to burn it every few seconds, with a well controlled setup timed to do that.

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  69. It will be interesting if the poor cementing was done by Halliburton of the Deepwater Horizon, and Iraq profiteering.

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  70. Shelby DePrisco Hahahahaha I was pretty nervous the first time I saw a hot tap.

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  71. Same observation I had Cliff, but I was thinking steel.. You would think they would want to save their precious gas.

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  72. James Chandler they do, but there's no profit in it at that point, so let it go ahead and destroy the planet.

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  73. my f n law was killed when a welder started work on a line that had a bit of gas still in it.

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  74. I earn 25 dollars every 30 minutes. It sounds unbelievable but it's true. check it out this link for details.

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  75. William Shuck Either all air or all gas is no problem it's when they get mixed together that it becomes explosive. The mixture has to be between 5-15% gas to air mix to be explosive.

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  76. So, am I the last one to know about this? true i don t have a tv.. but do do social media… so where was this bit or news before?

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  77. Worst leak? Evidenlly the author of this peice is unaware of the Apache Company disaster in Wheeler County, TX around 1980.

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  78. methane is a byproduct of shit,why would you store methane,except to run machinery to run a turd farm,which basically feeds itself with its own energy,,strange story,need much more info

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  79. Giovanni Hernandez "not everybody in California is an ultra rich movie star just like not everybody from Calgary, Alberta Canukistan is a hockey stick wielding, denim jacket wearing hoser." Although I agree with you that not everybody in California is an ultra rich movie star…it' s a bad analogy because based on my experience (Michigander) everyone in Canada IS wielding a hockey stick though Im not sure where the denim jackets fit in (SNL- are you really going by SNL?!) and I dont think they are ashamed of it, in fact they would probably be proud of it!

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