Los Angeles

Report on Largest US Methane Leak Cites Maintenance Failures Before 2015 Blowout

The blowout lasted nearly four months and was blamed for sickening thousands of Los Angeles residents

California Gas Leak
Javier Mendoza/SoCalGas via AP

An investigation into the cause of the largest-known release of methane in the U.S. faults a California utility for the way it maintained its natural gas storage field before the massive 2015 blowout.

The report released Friday by the California Public Utilities Commission says Southern California Gas Co. didn't assess its wells for disaster potential and didn't investigate previous ruptures. Specifically, the leak's direct cause was a rupture of the well due to microbial corrosion from the outside that resulted from contact with groundwater, the report states. 

The report says the highly pressurized corroded pipe ruptured Oct. 23, 2015, and caused the blowout.

The report by Blade Energy Partners says the blowout that lasted nearly four months and was blamed for sickening thousands of residents in the Porter Ranch area northwest of Los Angeles could have been plugged sooner.

SoCalGas in a press release highlighted a report finding that said new state regulations and practices by the company address most, if not all, of the causes of the leak.

"Aliso Canyon is safe to operate and Blade's report indicates the industry leading safety enhancements and new regulations put in place after the leak should prevent this type of incident from occurring again," the company said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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