Catastrophic California Gas Leak Will Take Months To Fix
A natural gas leak in Aliso Canyon, California, has been spewing out 50,000 kilograms (110,000 pounds) of gas every hour for more than two months, and officials say it could take another three to four months to bring the situation under control.
The leak first occurred on October 23, when the casing of a gas storage well operated by Southern California (SoCal) Gas failed. Strangely, the cause of this failure is not known, and attempts to stop the flow of gas by pumping liquid directly into the well in order to seal the rupture have been unsuccessful.
In a desperate attempt to arrest the spillage, SoCal Gas has drafted in a number of engineers – including several experts who helped to contain the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – to devise a strategy to fix the well. However, a spokesperson for the company told Motherboard that this is unlikely to be achieved before late February at the earliest.
The reason for this delay is that the team has been left with no option but to drill all the way down to the base of the well – which sits more than 2,500 meters (8,000 feet) underground – in order to locate and fix the source of the leak. Furthermore, the initial shaft will have to be drilled far from the well itself to avoid accidentally igniting the gas and causing an explosion.