Here’s Why One Of The Biggest Environmental Disasters In US History Won’t Be Contained Any Time Soon


Scientists and engineers are finding it difficult to contain the largest natural gas leak ever recorded – since late October, an estimated 73,000 tons of methane, a highly flammable gas 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, has escaped from an energy facility in Aliso Canyon, California; and there is no immediate end in sight.

Aliso Canyon Well Diagrams1

According to Anne Silva, spokesperson for the Southern California Gas Company or SoCalGas the company that owns the facility, since the base of the well sits 8,000 feet underground, efforts to stop the flow of gas by pumping fluids directly down the well have not yet been successful. Therefore, the company is now constructing a relief well that will connect to the leaking well.

In a letter to the community affected by the leak, which came after Governor Brown directed DOGGR and CPUC to launch investigations into the cause of the leak and whether any violations have taken place, CEO Dennis Arriola said:

“We are making good progress on drilling a relief well to stop the leak and are on schedule to complete it by late-February to late-March. The relief well will intercept the leaking well at more than 8,000 feet below ground and the operation is continuing around the clock, 24 hours, 7 days a week. As of December 19, we have drilled about 3,300 feet and are in our second of five phases of the drilling process. Once the relief well intercepts the leaking well, we will pump fluids and cement into the bottom of the well to stop the flow of gas and permanently seal it.”

The Environmental Defense Fund recently released footage of the leak that shows climate-damaging methane gases escaping from a massive natural gas leak at a storage facility in California’s Aliso Canyon, with the San Fernando Valley pictured in the background. The giant methane plumes were made visible by a specialized infrared camera operated by an Earthworks ITC-certified thermographer.

What you can’t see is easy to ignore. That’s why communities that suffer from pollution from oil and gas development are often dismissed by industry and regulators. Making invisible pollution visible shows the world what people in Porter Ranch have been living with every day for months,” conservation organization Earthworks spokesman Alan Septoff said.

California officials have confirmed the rupture is venting gas at a rate of up to 110,000 pounds per hour – more than 150 million pounds of methane has been poured into the atmosphere so far; officials fear pollutants released in the accident could have long-term consequences far beyond the region. The counter below estimates in real time just how much pollution is being emitted from the environmental disaster.

The 20-year warming impact is said to exceed that of all the state’s oil refineries combined, or of burning 300 million gallons of gasoline. The EDF states:

Methane – the main component of natural gas – is a powerful short-term climate forcer, with over 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it is released. Methane is estimated to be leaking out of the Aliso Canyon site at a rate of about 62 million standard cubic feet, per day. That’s the same short-term greenhouse gas impact as the emissions from 7 million cars.

Tim O’Connor, the California climate director for the Environment Defense Fund, told Mashable the leak is dumping the equivalent of eight or nine coal plants worth of methane into the atmosphere. He told The Washington Post, “It’s one of the biggest leaks we’ve ever seen reported. It is coming out with force, in incredible volumes. And it is absolutely uncontained.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to relocate nearly 1,900 students from schools near the leak, citing disruption from absenteeism and several visits to the health office. SoCalGas has placed 2,258 families in temporary housing, while 111 others staying with family or friends are being compensated. More than 3,000 others are in the process of being relocated.


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    • LOL This kid ^
      Why do you think they evacuated people and made it a no fly zone , its pumping out uncontrollably you can’t set it alight without risking a fully blown explosion of millions of tonnes of gas . Hence : ” If the Porter Ranch methane leak should ignite and explode, the nearby homes will jump 70 ft off of their foundation. ”
      just light it up … HAHAHAHA

    • I wonder if they set fire to it if it would IMMEDIATELY EXPLODE, rather than waiting until it is sealed which will then cause it to EXPLODE now that SoCal has disturbed it’s “natural site!” And will ONE of these explosions set off the largest earthquake that the state of California, or the United States, has to date, ever experienced!!!

    • i actually agree with this comment belive it or not more damage to our planet will be caused fuck houses they can be rebuilt try fixing the ozone now thats a impossible mission vacate an boom the sucker save the planet fuck the houses

    • They tryed lighting one in the past, thought it would burn out in a week. It’s been burning for fourty years. “top ten straingest holes on Earth”….. light it up, really.

  1. From someone who does this for a living, this should be easily contained. It’s up to the state regulators to force the energy companies to move their asses. Drilling a relief well in Texas would take 2-3 weeks even if it were 10 miles away from the original Wellhead. That little calculator up tip sure is hilarious ?, y’all try soooo hard to scare everyone. Haven’t heard much about FUKUSHIMA lately??? Millions of cubic feet of Methane into the atmosphere to cause so much accelerated global warming that California may dissappear in 10 years. We could be so lucky ?.. But seriously, drilling the relief well and plugging and abandoning the other well could be done within a month IF they wanted too. Look into Bayou Coryn (sp) Sinkhole in Louisiana, that thing is swallowing houses and it’s getting zero media attention. It’s all relative to energy companies and the state pushing regulations that are already on the books.

    • If the state would start fining the responsible company $500,000 a day, they would have that well drilled and functioning in one week. The state did the same thing in Oakland about 10 years ago after a truck plowed into a pillar and shut down one of the major freeways. Initially they said it was going to be 2 months before it would be repaired. The incentive of receiving half a million dollars a day in fines, accelerated that process and they had the freeway repaired and running again in 8 days.

    • So you’re claiming you can still the relief well in a week? Yet you have no idea what the semismic is, sand formation is, duration of the cap rock, porosity or reservoir structure? No actual “wellhead specialist” would make lofty claims like these…

  2. I seriously don’t believe tinkering with the results of indiscriminate fracking poisoning the atmosphere will do anything but make the problem worse – the obvious solution is not trying to replace the millions of tonnes of earth and rock that originally contained this vast subterranean lake of methane with a concrete plug. Try using your finger to stop air escaping from a punctured tyre!
    The most logical solution is to try to cap the well and its leak at ground level with a vented vanadium dome, and to tap the gas venting through

  3. Sorry, there has to be some way to deal with this at the surface, capping it with some plumbing to route the methane to a flare a safe distance away from the well, or to pump it back into the pipeline network.

  4. What I find amusing is how the uneducated public will start thinking that carbon dioxide is harming the environment. Every living thing that breaths air on this planet exhales carbon dioxide. Carbon MONOXIDE is the gas that is deadly. Idiots.

    • Yes, Carbon monoxide is the ‘DEADLY gas’ but carbon dioxide binds to your blood cells and weighs them down so they have trouble bringing themselves back up to circulate around your body. It’s what kills smokers if cancer doesn’t… So a massive influx of carbon dioxide that drastically alters the balance in the air poses a deadly risk to all animal kind. Plants would flourish. We would not. Idiot.

    • There’s so much more carbon dioxide now it can in no way be absorbed by all the plants. That is way the oceans are becoming acidic. Genius

    • Nunya You are the idiot. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased markedly since I was teaching chemistry. You are the perfect example of a little knowledge ( very little, in your case ) being a dangerous thing.

  5. The problem is They can’t control it anymore as same as the oil leak in the Ocean.

    Shame on you !

    It’s all about money, environment doesn’t count. Nature doesn’t count.

    Freaking oil – getting oil by chemicals , Same as Shell ( yes I’m dutch and ashamed about this company) in Nigeria.

  6. Kids in nearby schools have been relocated because of reports of health problems. This is California, I’m sure they have a vaccine for that.

  7. why cant it be put back in the ground,drill another hole beside the leak and bend the leaky pipe into that hole so it goes back into where it came out of.

  8. Hi anonymous, just to ask you if the page created in fb in peru with your logo comes from you because they offering services ass hack persons, hack phones for money?

  9. This really pisses me off. There is a picture I saw on the internet and the quote is “When we have run the oil reserves dry, drained the oceans, and eaten all the food, only then will we realize we can’t eat money” This runs so true, but nooo it doesn’t matter to the rich even though they are killing our world. I am 21 years old, the world will probably die off before I turn 60 at this rate. Half the world will be under water and the world will die. This really angers me knowing that I cannot and will not have children because of these greedy fucks. Ever seen the TV show Jericho? Yeah lets do what they did and send america and china into the stone age, seeing as Americans and China are the biggest pollutants in the world.

  10. This is all bullshit! Take the cost of one F35 stupid little single seat aeroplane and give it to some clever, REAL, engineers and this problem will be solved in a week.
    This is all part of the chaos strategy to keep the goyim occupied with shit.

  11. methane is the fucking WORSE. id hate to be anywhere near that. when our pipes in the basement had started to crack a few months ago we were so sick for nearly a month. headaches, puking, its horrible. and we got a dump site at the corner by the railroad tracks where they bury house debris with methane pipes sticking out of the ground. they built a entire shopping plaza on a old dump site by us and within a year had to shut almost every store down because the workers were all getting migraines all day. i cant even imagine 73,000 tons of that shit. the smell of that stuff is horrific. we ended up redoing our entire plumming in our basement and resealing every single spot possible under every sink, tub, toilet, everything. and even after it was all fixed the smell lingered in the house its almost impossible to get rid of. we had fans blowing outside 24-7 and everything

    • What is so hard is explaining anything beyond NASCAR to totally ignorant boobs such as you. Read the article, paying particular attention to the rate at which the gas is flowing. Oh wait, my mistake. Get a progressive third grader to read the article to you.


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