SoCalGas has a long-standing commitment to modernizing its system infrastructure to increase safety and reliability and reduce methane emissions. As a result, SoCalGas' natural gas system has one of the lowest methane emission rates in the country. Using the findings of a major Washington State University study, published by the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology in March 2015, the system's current emission rate is estimated to be 0.12 percent of all natural gas delivered in 2011.
This low emission rate is a result of more than 20 years' of effort and an enduring focus on continuous improvement. In 1993, SoCalGas was one of the first local gas distribution companies to join Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Natural Gas STAR program, an effort by the EPA to promote the development and adoption of technologies and best practices to reduce methane emissions. Since joining STAR, SoCalGas has implemented dozens of Best Management Practices that have resulted in the reduction of more than 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
Over the past two decades, some of the most effective steps SoCalGas has taken include:
- Modernizing equipment in its Metering and Regulating (M&R) facilities to utilize zero or lower emitting devices than previously available.
- Eliminating cast iron pipe from its system.
- Implementing operational procedures to minimize gas vented to atmosphere during routine maintenance and other operational activities.
- Prioritizing the replacement of pipe that does not meet current standards for the prevention of corrosion.
Modernization of equipment, use of best management practices and technology to minimize emissions during maintenance and operational procedures, and the prioritized replacement of pipeline without current corrosion control technologies continues today.