SoCal Gas Oil and Gas Field INCIDENTS UPDATED 6-15-19 BY Patricia McPherson, Grassroots Coalition

Historical Timeline Download 4 pages in PDF


SoCal Gas PDR Underground Gas Storage Operations:

PDR has more incidents than listed below; the following are some key events, incidents, and study outcomes.

2000-1 – Environmental Technologies Inc (ETI) establishes thermogenic predominance of outgassing in Ballona of the largest oilfield gas leakages in the U.S.  ETI establishes that SCG’s own records recognize that "their well casings are conduits for gas venting to the surface and never reported it to authorities. The admittance of this observation being common and observed over many years means that the interest of the public and the state of California is not being served. There is no question that there is justification for an investigation of casing leakage associated with the gas storage field.” ETI 6/16/2000

2003- Major Incident- Condensate BLOW OUT from bluff top SCG operations -oils/gas mists over homes, environment from SCG to east of Lincoln Blvd. area. SCG cleanup crews power wash oiled streets into storm drains. SCG repaints homes; washes cars.

(1994 Report regarding excess fluids in lines- “severe operational and maintenance problems in the station, the liquids are also ending up at Del Rey Junction. This translates to PCB testing, handling, transportation, and disposal costs. Internal corrosion due to stagnant liquids in pipelines is also of great concern.”) (Del Rey Junction is on Jefferson Blvd./Slauson and has had numerous odor incidents)

2004- Line leak on Mindanao —SCG calls it condensate (SCG earlier letter warns of line leaks here) Haz Mat cleanup (lines also cross through Area A -Ballona and cross over/under Channel into Ballona to SCG

2005- OES (Office Emergency Services) Notice filed on large leakage area of thermogenic gas in freshwater marsh. ETI previous studies had registered low level leakage in 2000-1.

Well-University City Syndicate was re -abandoned (approximately 2002/3)but leaks shortly thereafter; several bags cement thrown at top and left(DOGGR)...leakage again appears shortly thereafter. (Playa Vista school area also increases in gas levels to Tier 3 per new Methane Code (See BURNING QUESTIONS-KNBC) ; ETI study same area in 2000-1 recorded low level)

12/20/07 CPUC Decision 07-12-035 GC v SCG Settlement Agreement (SA)
2008- GC v SCG via CPUC 
litigation process Settles with more stringent gas monitoring requirements and subsidence monitoring.

2008- Prop. 65 litigation (ELF/Rose,Klein,Marias) against SCG prevails utilizing data of GC v SCG /CPUC Gas Studies done revealing numerous wells leaking contaminants into the groundwater.

2009 June- URS gas study per SA requirements; finds reservoir outgassing from multiple wells on Ballona flats & DR 10 north of Channel

1/13/10 URS Report phase 1; 11/16/10 DR 10-helium)

2010- DOGGR magnetometer finds well head (now underwater); does GPS...small continual bubbling around area. Approximately 100 feet away broiling outgassing is GPS’D and videotaped by DOGGR personnel in approximately 8’ of water.

2/24/11- SoCalGas Incident—mud/water, storage gas leaking to surface Riegle 1 (south side of Ballona Channel) Same wells as outgassing in 2009 URS Study.

3/4/2011 DOGGR ORDER 1008 and Shut down occurs of SCG operations for approx. 1 year due to reservoir gas leakage. DOGGR investigation.

2012?—MANHOLE COVER AND CONCRETE surround blows out in Venice...
2013- Flaring Blowout-2 flame areas...tremors felt by neighbors...Al Jazeera coverage JAZEERA

2013- SoCal Gas incident in Playa del Rey, YouTube by Andy Lesniak

2014- High pressure line valve ruptured—SCG intruder- steals truck onsite runs over valve area...Homeland Security issues raised 2014 HazMat Crews Investigate Gas Leak In Playa Del Rey « CBS Los Angeles

2017- CCST Report by California Council on Science & Technology (Established via CA. State Legislature per Gov. Proclamation of Emergency 2016- Senate Bill 826.) The Report singles out the SCG/PDR Underground Gas Storage Operations...”The State should commission a cost-benefit analysis including full consideration of risks associated with loss-of-containment from this facility.” “Of the currently operating facilities, Playa del Rey stands out as a facility with risk-related characteristics of high concern for health and safety relative to other facilities in California.”

“The Playa del Rey facility...has a long history of loss-of-containment incidents...
The Playa del Rey facility...has a long history of loss-of-containment incidents...

7/23/17- Video of dramatically heightened outgassing over Playa Vista abandoned well- University City Syndicate (Jonathan Coffin video 2017)

2018- Ballona Freshwater Marsh—outgassing over University City Syndicate dramatically increases (Jonathan Coffin video 2017)

Division of Oil & Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) video retrieved by GC via Public Record Act; this video demonstrates DOGGR finding University City Syndicate well head via a magnetometer and then GPS-ing the location outgassing over well head. (2010)

Second video is of DOGGR personnel GPS-ing oilfield outgassing just east of the well head.

2019- FLIR Imaging taken by EARTHWORKS per Grassroots Coalition’s request. The outgassing over University City Syndicate has strengthened through the past several years.

2013- Al Jazeera America News...Porter Ranch leak raises concerns elsewhere--Playa del Rey

2013- KNBC Burning Question NBC 4 part 1-5 – Is Playa Vista Safe? Part 1 – YouTube,

Burning Questions, Power Politics (NBC PEABODY AWARD WINNING NEWS SERIES) 
Investigative Reports: Playa Vista / Ballona Wetlands / Oilfield Gas problems / 
LA Methane Mitigation - Does it work at Playa Vista?
LA City Controller Laura Chick Audit = the records are "mush" and "deeply flawed".

Part 1 - Methane Leakage / Dangers of Explosion

Part 2 - Proposed School Site Hot Spot​

Part 3 - L A Department Building & Safety Inspections?

Part 4 - Staples Center Fire Safe?

Part 5 - Staples Center Fire Safe? Part 2
Burning Questions Peabody Award

2019- AQMD Issues Warning Notice Posted on Ballona Wetlands due to Benzene and Formaldehyde levels.

2019- DOGGR Emergency Order 1143, abandoned well blow out in MDR.
Order applies immediate measures to be taken and orders ‘Root Cause’
investigation. WHAT is the condition of other old wells in the area? Troxel and Block 11 and Townsite wells that were all found to be leaking during CPUC litigation and investigation ending in 2008?

- How far north are SCG gases migrating? What pressurization is occurring in the Venice Peninsula, MDR due to SCG operations and gas migration to this area?

Courtesy Grassroots, 310-721-3512

Engage, Participate in SoCal Gas Adequate Monitoring And/Or Shutdown

1. Request a Permit Compliance Review for

- Ask for elected’s assistance in bringing this issue to the LA City Attorney Michael Feuer; Deputy Attorney Terry Kaufmann-Macias - Ask directly- Terry.Kaufmann-

2. Engage the California Public Utilities Commission — Public Safety Complaint - 1 (800) 755-1447 - Public Advisor Office;;

3. Request engagement of the LA City Petroleum Administrator—Uduak Ntuk; (Uduak (Joe) Ntuk) is with LA City Department of Public Works.

4. Request elected assistance in commissioning a cost-benefit analysis including full consideration of risks associated with loss-of-containment from the SCG/Playa del Rey facility as recommended in the CCST Report- Long-Term Viability of Underground Natural Gas Storage in California.

5. Use your senses and skills to video or otherwise document any gas leakage that you may suspect and /or find. Be sure to add date and time of each occurrence. Equipment can be rented for monitoring; communities work together to purchase monitoring devices; engaging with other groups can often provide support to monitor; smelling odors you think are gas related? Call 1-800-cut smog (Air Quality Management District AQMD)

6. Work with groups and individuals to ensure unbiased and prudent fulfillment of the Division of Oil & Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR)
- ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS of the RGC 10 Blow out. (DOGGR Emergency Order 1143) - Ask about the nexus of SCG underground storage gas migration and Venice/ Marina del Rey safety. Make the same request for all areas above or adjacent to SCG underground gas storage operations.

7. Who are the elected, city or county departments to ask? Here are a few ideas:
Your: Councilman
County Supervisor

LA Mayor Eric Garretti
Natural Resource Committee members —both State Senate and Assembly.

8. Remember to request answers from DOGGR, PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY(Angelo Bellomo – Dept. of Public Health) Mr. Bellomo is well versed in oil/gas field problems and is a co-author of our Prop. 65 ...list of chemicals that can cause birth defects and/or cancer.)

9. Ask LA City to Conduct a Permit Compliance Review of SoCal Gas’ Conditional Use Permit.

Nuisance or Other

“No person in the course of doing business shall knowingly discharge or release a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity into water or onto or into land where such chemical passes or probably will pass into any source of drinking water, notwithstanding any other provision or authorization of law except as provided in Section 25249.9”

SCG/PDR documents demonstrate leakage into the underlying
SCG/PDR documents demonstrate that BTEX chemicals, known by the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, have been found underlying SCG operations.

The aquifers of Ballona Wetlands are classified as potential drinking water, wherein lies the discharge/release of chemicals by SCG/PDR operations, which per legal purposes classifies as drinking water.

SCG/PDR is believed to have been violating Health and Safety Code section 25249.11 since SCG has been in operation. SCG/PDR documentation of BTEX contamination of groundwater and soils is contained in their 1999 studies for the Harlan and Fast well operations.

The Proposition 65 lawsuit that was filed by ELF, inclusive of data accrued by Grassroots Coalition and Bernard Endres PhD, during litigation via the CPUC (Complaint Case and 851 (Lot Sale) Case) and various private litigation in which Endres PhD was the oil/gas expert—prevailed in additional monitoring by SCG, signally SCG/PDR contamination to the area. Internal SoCalGas documents similarly show contamination by SCG surfacing gases. SOCALGAS in their Settlement Agreement continues to deny any legal violations.

The Torrance Municipal Code is current through Ordinance 3842, passed February 26, 2019. (Chapter 7, Oil Regulations...very comprehensive)

Courtesy Grassroots, 310-721-3512