Section 3217

(a)

(1)The supervisor shall continue the prohibition against Southern California Gas Company injecting any natural gas into the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility located in the County of Los Angeles until a comprehensive review of the safety of the gas storage wells at the facility is completed and the supervisor determines that well integrity has been ensured by the review, the risks of failures identified in the review have been addressed, and the supervisors duty to prevent damage to life, health, property, and natural resources, and other requirements, as specified in Section 3106, is satisfied. The supervisor may not lift the prohibition on injection until the Executive Director of the Public Utilities Commission has concurred via letter with the supervisor regarding his or her determination of safety.

(2)

For purposes of this section, facility means the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility located in the County of Los Angeles operated by Southern California Gas Company.

(b)

(1)The criteria for the gas storage well comprehensive safety review shall be determined by the supervisor with input from contracted independent experts and shall include the steps in subdivision (c).

(2)

The supervisor shall direct the contracted independent experts to provide a methodology to be used in assessing the tests and inspections specified in the criteria. This requirement may be satisfied by the independent experts reviewing and, if necessary, revising the divisions written methodology for assessing the tests and inspections specified in the criteria. The methodology shall include all tests and inspections required by the criteria. The division shall post the methodology online on a public portion of its Internet Web site.

(c)

The gas storage well comprehensive safety review shall include the following steps to ensure external and internal well mechanical integrity:

(1)

All gas storage wells shall be tested and inspected from the surface to the packer or to any wellbore restriction near the top of the geologic formation being used for gas storage, whichever is higher in elevation, to detect existing leaks using temperature and noise logs.

(2)

Any leaks shall be stopped and remediated to the satisfaction of the supervisor.

(3)

Following remediation, leak detection tests shall be repeated and results reviewed by the supervisor.

(4)

(A)Unless a well has been fully plugged and abandoned to the supervisors satisfaction and in accordance with Section 3208, the well shall be evaluated and remediated in accordance with subparagraph (B) or plugged in accordance with subparagraph (C).

(B)

If a gas storage well is intended to return to service for the purposes of resuming injections to the facility, it shall be tested and inspected from the surface to the packer or to any wellbore restriction near the top of the geologic formation being used for gas storage, whichever is higher in elevation, to ensure mechanical integrity. As identified in the divisions criteria, these tests and inspections shall include the measurement of casing thickness and integrity, an evaluation of the cement bond on the casing, the determination as to whether any deformities in the well casing exist, and an evaluation of the wells ability to withstand pressures that exceed maximum allowable injection and production pressures, with a reasonable margin for safety, at the facility in accordance with the criteria determined by the supervisor with input from independent experts pursuant to subdivision (b). If the tests reveal that a well poses a risk of failure, the supervisor shall require remediation and repeat tests as necessary to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the supervisor that remediation has mitigated any potential identified risks. If the operator cannot remediate the well to mitigate the identified risks to the satisfaction of the supervisor, the well shall be plugged and abandoned in accordance with Section 3208.

(C)

(i)If a well is to be taken out of service before resumption of gas injections at the facility, it shall be removed from operation and isolated from the gas storage reservoir through plugging according to the divisions criteria, including, but not limited to, the demonstration of sufficient cement to prevent migrations between the reservoir and other zones, placement of a mechanical plug at the bottom of the well, and subsequent filling of the well with fluid, and to specifications approved by the supervisor. All gas storage wells that are taken out of service under this subparagraph shall be subjected to ongoing testing and monitoring requirements identified in the criteria determined by the supervisor with input from independent experts. The monitoring shall include, but not be limited to, real-time and daily pressure monitoring, as applicable. A gas storage well shall not be returned to service unless the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) has been completed.

(ii)

A gas storage well, within one year of being plugged and isolated from the gas storage reservoir pursuant to clause (i), shall either be returned to service by satisfactorily completing the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) or be permanently plugged and abandoned to the supervisors satisfaction in accordance with Section 3208.

(D)

The supervisor shall make a written finding for each gas storage well that has satisfactorily completed the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B).

(5)

The gas storage well comprehensive safety review is not complete until every gas storage well at the facility has completed the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (4), been temporarily abandoned and isolated from the reservoir as required under clause (i) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (4), or been fully plugged and abandoned to the supervisors satisfaction in accordance with Section 3208.

(d)

Upon completion of the gas storage well comprehensive safety review but before authorizing the commencement of injections at the facility, the division shall hold at least one duly noticed public meeting in the affected community to provide the public an opportunity to comment on the safety review findings and on the proposed pressure limit as provided in subdivision (e).

(e)

(1)Before commencing injections at the facility, the operator of the facility shall provide the division with the proposed maximum reservoir pressure and include data and calculations supporting the basis for the pressure limit. The pressure limit shall account for the pressure required to inject intended gas volumes at all proposed inventory levels and the pressure limit shall not exceed the design pressure limits of the reservoir, wells, wellheads, piping, or associated facilities with an appropriate margin for safety.

(2)

The operators proposed maximum reservoir pressure shall be subject to review and approval by the supervisor, and the supervisor shall consult with independent experts regarding the appropriate maximum and minimum reservoir pressure at the facility.

(f)

Once the gas storage well comprehensive safety review is complete pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (c), the supervisor has approved the maximum and minimum reservoir pressure pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e), and the public hearing is held pursuant to subdivision (d), the supervisor may allow injections of natural gas at the facility.

(g)

All gas storage wells returning to service pursuant to subdivision (f) shall only inject or produce gas through the interior metal tubing and not through the annulus between the tubing and the well casing. The operator shall also conduct ongoing pressure monitoring and comply with any other requirements specified by the supervisor.

(h)

The gas storage wells at the facility that are plugged and abandoned in accordance with Section 3208 pursuant to this section shall be periodically inspected by the operator for leaks using effective gas leak detection techniques such as optical gas imaging.

(i)

(1)Before the completion of the gas storage well comprehensive safety review, production of natural gas from gas storage wells at the facility shall be limited to gas storage wells that have satisfactorily completed the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (c) unless insufficient production capacity is available. Only if production capacity supplied by the tested and remediated wells is demonstrably insufficient may the supervisor allow other gas storage wells to be used.

(2)

The supervisor shall direct the operator of the facility to provide a plan to ensure, at the earliest possible time, the availability of sufficient gas production capacity using gas storage wells that have satisfactorily completed the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (c).

(j)

With respect to the gas storage well comprehensive safety review at the facility, all testing, inspection and monitoring results reported to the division, gas storage well compliance status, any required remediation steps, and other safety review-related materials shall be posted in a timely manner by the division online on a public portion of its Internet Web site.

(k)

This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2021, deletes or extends that date.
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Last accessed
Dec. 5, 2016