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A third of wells shut down at site of troubled gas facility

FILE - This Jan. 12, 2017 file photo shows gas gathering plant on a hilltop at the Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility near the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles. A third of the wells that inject natural gas into underground storage were taken out of service weeks after a troubled Los Angeles facility restarted following a massive blowout. Southern California Gas Co. said Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, that it notified state regulators in August that 13 of the 39 wells at Aliso Canyon were shut down after detecting a pressure buildup. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The largest gas storage facility in the West halted using a third of the wells pumping methane underground at high pressure just weeks after it resumed operations following a blowout that crippled it for nearly two years.

Southern California Gas Co. said Monday it notified state regulators last month that 13 of 39 injection wells at Aliso Canyon were shut down after detecting a pressure buildup.

State regulators and the company said there were no risks to public health or safety and no release of gas into the atmosphere. But the revelation raises questions about how such a problem could crop up so soon after SoCalGas upgraded equipment, passed rigorous tests and began operating under stricter rules at the aging facility.

The state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources said the real-time pressure readings that were required after the October 2015 blowout had led to a prompt response by SoCalGas that showed new safety requirements worked.

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