DOGGR/CPUC: SoCal Gas Pipeline Woes Continue

Published On: June 21, 2019

This week, SoCal Gas announced that it would take longer to reopen one of its gas lines. Line 235-2, which runs approximately 50 miles between Victorville to east of Barstow, ruptured on October 1, 2017 and has been closed ever since. The pipeline is a 1957 vintage and appeared close to reopening. However, additional leaks were found recently, delaying the reopening of the gas line to late July at the earliest.

This is not the only gas line facing problems. Two other gas lines, Line 3000 and Line 4000, have had reduced capacity for over a year now. SoCal Gas initially reduced capacity on Line 3000, which extends about 125 miles Needles on the California-Nevada border to East of Barstow, in June of 2016 after inspectors found safety issues. Line 4000 extends from East of Barstow to Cajon has also seen its capacity reduced. All three lines are more than 60 years old and in need of repair. SoCal Gas plans to do upgrades on the other two lines once Line 235-2 is operational. Notwithstanding the line derations, SoCal Gas has maintained that their system is running at about 85 percent of capacity and maintaining reliability.

The constraints on SoCal Gas’ ability to deliver gas are not limited to the gas lines. Aliso Canyon is still a limited use site as a result of the 2015 catastrophic well failure. The CPUC will only allow SoCal Gas to operate Aliso Canyon at 40% of its original capacity. In addition, SoCal Gas can only call for gas from this storage facility as a last resort.

The good news for SoCal Gas is that Aliso Canyon is nearing its new storage capacity after three months of injection. While Advantage Consulting has not confirmed how the other SoCal Gas’ storage sites are doing, it is believed that SoCal Gas has been bringing those sites close to capacity.

The reduced gas storage and pipeline capacity mean that there may be some limits on gas availability for energy producers – just in time for summer heat.

More News on Aliso Canyon

The CPUC this week discussed its progress in modeling how Southern California might be able to meet its energy needs without the Aliso Canyon storage field. Commission staff noted that multi-state gas demand models will be needed to fully answer the question, since California imports most of its natural gas (87% of California’s natural gas need is imported). Commission staff said it does not expect to complete its analysis until August of 2020.

About the Author: Matt Ross

Matt Ross is a Senior Consultant in the energy industry and has more than a dozen years of experience in state government. He can be reached at matt at govreport.org