La Goleta Natural Gas Storage Facility

Find out how we are meeting customers’ energy needs.

Meeting Customers’ Energy Needs

SoCalGas natural gas storage operations in Goleta have played a key role in meeting the region’s energy needs for more than 70 years. La Goleta is one of SoCalGas’ naturally occurring underground storage reservoirs that is essential to providing customers with safe and reliable natural gas, especially during peak periods.

The La Goleta storage facility encompasses the porous sandstone of the Vaqueros Formation at an average depth of 4,200 feet. The field was originally discovered in 1929, in the search for new oil reserves but was found to contain only natural gas. The structure is now used for the cyclical injection and withdrawal of natural gas to help balance supply with demand. This subsurface sandstone reservoir of the Vaqueros Formation is sealed by the impermeable shale of the Rincon Formation, which immediately overlies the La Goleta storage facility.

We operate natural gas injection and native gas wells, observation wells, natural gas compressors, a dehydration unit, pipelines and various buildings and ancillary equipment. Our facility is at the forefront of safety controls and procedures, employing the latest technologies to monitor and operate the reservoir.

Safety First

Our employees oversee the amount of natural gas going into and coming out of La Goleta and conduct ongoing safety checks. In addition, they regularly perform leak surveys of all wells and pipelines with an instrument capable of detecting natural gas at concentrations of one part per million.

Goleta storage operations are closely monitored for compliance by multiple agencies, including the California State Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources; California Public Utilities Commission; Occupational Safety and Health Administration; and Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The facility has received several awards for outstanding maintenance of wells, tanks, pipelines and other facilities, compliance with regulations and good environmental stewardship.

Maintenance Activities 

We occasionally vent natural gas during storage and withdrawal operations and maintenance work. Natural gas is lighter than air, so it safely dissipates harmlessly into the atmosphere.

During venting activities, we carefully monitor the amount of natural gas released to comply with air quality regulations. We also control the amount and velocity of the venting gas by reducing pressures in pipelines and equipment. Because natural gas is odorless and colorless, we add a pungent odorant to help detect natural gas leaks. This odorant is safe, but it may be noticeable to neighbors during venting activities. To help reduce odors, we plan natural gas venting activities when neighbors are awake or at work and when winds are blowing (our meteorological station provides information for optimal venting).

We strive to minimize the volume of natural gas released during these operations. Every planned release is reviewed and coordinated, to reduce the amount of natural gas released to the atmosphere and we coordinate with local agencies and facilities as appropriate before proceeding.

Minimizing Our Footprint

We have taken a number of steps to reduce environmental impacts at La Goleta. 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.