Playa del Rey Natural Gas Storage Facility

See how we are working to ensure the safety of our Playa del Rey storage facility.

 

Meeting the Region’s Energy Needs

For more than 70 years, SoCalGas® natural gas storage operations in Playa del Rey have played a key role in meeting the region’s energy needs.
 
With its central location in the heart of the metropolitan service area, our Playa del Rey facility is indispensable to meet our customers’ demand for natural gas. The facility, one of four naturally occurring underground storage reservoirs owned by SoCalGas, is essential to providing customers with safe and reliable natural gas, especially during periods of peak natural gas usage.
 
Our storage facilities form an integrated critical piece of the energy infrastructure that provides Southern California residents and businesses with cost-effective energy to warm homes, heat water, cook food and fuel an array of industries. In addition, by providing the clean fuel to power the South Bay’s electricity-generating plants, the Playa del Rey facility is a vital link in producing electrical power that keeps the lights on for everyone.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Withdrawn natural gas composition
    The chemical composition of withdrawn natural gas will be posted and updated monthly.
  5. 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.
 

Minimizing Our Footprint

SoCalGas has taken a number of steps to reduce environmental impacts at our Playa del Rey storage facility. These include:
 
  • Identifying and avoiding sensitive biological/cultural resource areas.
  • Scheduling activities to avoid critical lifecycles.
  • Using practices that minimize runoff into wetlands.
  • Working closely with air quality officials to reduce emissions and odors.
  • Working with agencies and organizations to protect, restore and enhance natural resources, species and habitats.
 

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.