Playa del Rey Natural Gas Storage Facility

Learn more about the importance of the Playa del Rey storage facility.

Providing the Region with Affordable and Reliable Energy

Local natural gas storage facilities, like our Playa del Rey storage facility (PDR), are critical to the reliability of Southern California’s natural gas and electricity systems. The majority of homes in Southern California, about 90 percent, use natural gas for hot water and heating. Storing natural gas locally helps protect those homes and consumers from energy shortages and sudden spikes in the price of natural gas, providing customers with safe and reliable natural gas.
With its central location in the heart of the metropolitan service area, PDR is an important local source of energy that helps meet our customers’ demand for natural gas. In the South Bay, specifically, PDR helps to power the local electricity-generating plants, acting as a vital link in producing electrical power that keeps the lights on for everyone.

Applying Industry-Leading Practices in Operations

Over the last 18 months, SoCalGas has worked with leading experts, state agencies, and the Porter Ranch community to introduce new safety enhancements, comprehensive inspections, and advanced monitoring technologies at our Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility and to improve communications with residents who live near the facility. We are now focused on applying those safety enhancements to our other natural gas storage facilities. Many of these new enhancements have already been introduced at our Playa del Rey storage facility (PDR).
SoCalGas has taken steps to ensure that PDR meets and exceeds the rigorous standards set by state regulators. All wells at Playa del Rey are undergoing the same comprehensive battery of tests conducted at Aliso Canyon, which state energy experts have called the most comprehensive tests in the country. Workover rigs, which are currently onsite, are needed to perform the comprehensive tests on each of the wells. We are also using industry-leading technology and practices in our operations:
  • SoCalGas has installed a remote pressure monitoring system for all wells at the Playa del Rey storage facility;
  • Additionally, the majority of the storage wells are now configured so that natural gas only flows through newly-installed steel inner tubing, allowing the outer casing to act as a second barrier of protection against potential leaks; and
  • Daily patrols are also conducted to inspect for leaks.

Connecting with the Local Playa del Rey Community

We have been working hand-in-hand with the communities around Playa del Rey for years. In fact, PDR was the first storage facility to have a dedicated Community Advisory Committee (CAC), a group of local residents and community leaders, that helps inform policy decisions and helps keep the local community up to date on activities at the field. Now, as a result of positive feedback and engagement from neighbors like you, this two-way communication model is standard practice across our service territory. Some of the organizations represented in the PDR CAC include:
  • Friends of Ballona Wetlands
  • Los Angeles Airport Coastal Chamber
  • Loyola Marymount University, Government Affairs
  • The Bay Foundation
  • Westchester / Playa del Rey Neighborhood Council

Minimizing Our Environmental Footprint

The PDR storage field and surrounding area is home to wetlands, many wildlife species, and to sensitive and biological resources. Committed to being a good steward of the environment, we have taken steps to minimize the environmental impacts of its storage operations, such as identifying and avoiding sensitive biological/cultural resource areas and scheduling activities carefully and considerately to avoid critical lifecycles.  We also continue to partner with agencies and organizations to protect, restore, and enhance natural resources, species, and habitats in the surrounding community, particularly the Ballona Wetlands.
In addition, the storage field complies with federal, state and local environmental regulations. This includes working closely with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to minimize emissions and odors and obtaining guidance from the California Coastal Commission and Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Safety First

The Playa del Rey facility is at the forefront of safety controls and procedures, employing the latest technologies to monitor and operate the storage facility. Our employees oversee the amount of natural gas going into and coming out of the reservoir and perform ongoing safety checks. In addition, we regularly perform leak surveys of wells and pipelines with an instrument capable of detecting natural gas at concentrations of one part per million.
SoCalGas storage operations are closely monitored for compliance by multiple agencies, including California State Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources; California Public Utilities Commission; Occupational Safety and Health Administration; and Los Angeles Fire Department.
We operate the Playa del Rey natural gas storage field with the safety of our neighbors as our top priority. In an effort to better update and inform the residents and businesses around our facility, we've agreed to implement several measures:
Soil natural gas monitoring
We will set up a soil natural gas monitoring program using a qualified consultant agreed to by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and establish a procedure to post results of the soil natural gas monitoring analysis. Results will be provided to the CPUC’s Utilities Safety and Reliability Branch (USRB). We will follow a soil natural gas monitoring program after abandoning and closing any wells.
Subsidence monitoring
We set up a program to monitor subsidence in the area. Subsidence is a phenomenon where the elevation of the ground is lowered over a large area. In some parts of the Los Angeles basin, this has resulted from large scale withdrawal of oil or water from subsurface formations. SoCalGas® will hire a specialized contractor to monitor for the occurrence of subsidence, using sophisticated satellite technology that is capable of detecting changes in ground level of two to three millimeters. We will submit results of this program to the USRB and post the results.
Natural natural gas pressure, withdrawal and release of liquids
In the Venice area of the field, we will continue to maintain reservoir pressure at no greater than 2400 psi.
Withdrawn natural gas composition
The chemical composition of withdrawn natural gas will be posted and updated monthly.
Testing of liquids
If we release any liquids into the atmosphere that reach neighboring homes, we will test the liquids for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These results will be posted. The PCB content of liquids collected inside of our pipeline at the facility since 2003 and going forward will be posted.

Soil Natural Gas Monitoring

Out of 150 points sampled utilizing four-foot-deep probes in Phase One, two locations (involving five sample points) yielded methane levels higher than 25,000 ppm. As per the Settlement Agreement approved by the CPUC, this requires immediate investigation (Phase Two) with two to 20-foot-deep probes at the two well sites where natural gas was found -- and more extensive testing of the samples obtained. Once those results have been obtained, then it will be determined whether the natural gas is associated with the Storage Field and what, if any, further action is required.

Subsidence Monitoring

Playa del Rey Junction PCB Results (Excel File)

Playa del Rey Withdrawn Natural Gas Composition (Excel File) -- Data lags behind by one month due to data processing.

Maintenance Activities

During maintenance or storage and withdrawal operations, SoCalGas occasionally vents
natural gas. We carefully monitor releases to be in compliance with air quality regulations. Because natural gas is lighter than air, it safely dissipates into the atmosphere. As natural gas is odorless and colorless, we add an odorant to help safely detect any leaks. This odorant is safe, but may be noticeable during these activities.
To minimize disruptions to neighbors, we plan operational and venting activities during times when people are typically at work and when winds are blowing for optimal venting. We also control venting by reducing pressures in pipelines and equipment. To reduce noise levels around the facility, we have installed soundproofing blankets and insulation at key locations. Internal filtering in our natural gas compressor engines minimizes exhaust odors, and vapor recovery valves reduce overall emissions.

This information is provided solely for informational purposes. Although SoCalGas has used reasonable efforts to assure its accuracy, no representation is made that the contents are free from error or suitable for use for any particular purpose. SoCalGas assumes no responsibility for use of, or reliance on, this information by any party, and specifically advises such parties to discuss any decisions.