SoCalGas Negligence Found to be Cause of Porter Ranch Gas Leak, Study Shows

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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has released a “root-cause analysis” finding Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) failed to properly monitor and maintain the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility for more than 40 years. This failure ultimately led to the worst gas leak in U.S. history and exposed Porter Ranch, surrounding neighborhoods and their residents to more than 100,000 tons of methane gas. Among its findings, The Blade Energy Partners study discovered:

  • There were more than 60 casing leaks at Aliso Canyon before October of 2015 going back over forty years. SoCalGas failed to investigate any of the earlier leaks.
  • Water corrosion of the casing used in well SS25 was the main cause of the blowout on October 23, 2015.
  • SoCalGas performed zero risk assessment focused on the well’s integrity.

“This study shows that SoCal Gas knew about leaks at Aliso Canyon for more than 40 years, but instead of fixing the problem they sat back and let it happen over and over again,” said PARRIS Law Firm attorney R. Rex Parris.

“SoCalGas’ long history of showing a complete disregard not only for the safety of the communities near the defective Aliso Canyon wells, but also for the adverse short and long term impacts on the health of its customers, is shameful,” Panish Shea & Boyle attorney Brian Panish added. “For decades, the utility had full knowledge that the safety of its pipelines had been jeopardized and yet failed to take any steps to prevent the 2015 Porter Ranch Gas Well Blowout or warn the public of the likelihood of a catastrophic event even occurring.”

READ THE ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS REPORT

In a joint statement issued by Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, PARRIS Law Firm and Morgan & Morgan — the law firms representing the families, residents and homeowners impacted by the Porter Ranch Gas Well Blowout — the failure of SoCalGas’ ability to properly maintain its facility and equipment reigns paramount.

“These findings confirm what we knew all along:  SoCalGas failed in its basic responsibilities, SoCalGas failed to warn the public, and SoCalGas failed the people at every turn. Tens-of-thousands of individuals were impacted and suffered as a result of Aliso Canyon catastrophe – they’ve suffered with their health, endured months of displacement from their homes during the holidays, and experienced property loss. The future impact to these communities remains unclear. Questions remain as to the exact chemical nature of the additives in the gas, and with the wells so close to fresh water there is no telling the exact nature of the environmental impact here. One thing is clear – if SoCalGas had simply done it most basic job, this catastrophe would have been avoided.”