WHAT WENT WRONG AT PORTER RANCH? [and please sign SAFE’s gas leaks petition]

[NOTE: SAFE needs signatures to prevent the cost of gas leaks onto us ratepayers, but more importantly, to STOP the gas leaks altogether. Sign our online petition today!]

An aging gas well, lack of any inspections since 1976, and a sloppy “quick fix” in 1979 led to the worst natural gas disaster in Porter Ranch, California. [Update: the leak was temporarily stopped this past Thursday.]

From LA Weekly contributor, Gene Maddaus:

SS-25 was cemented only from the bottom up to a depth of 6,600 feet. The rest — more than a mile of steel pipe — was left exposed to the rock formation. At the top, the 7-inch casing is surrounded by an 11¾-inch surface casing, which is cemented to the rock. But a new well also would have a layer of cement between those casings to provide greater strength and protection from corrosion.

Gas is now leaking through a hole in the 7-inch casing at 470 feet down to the bottom of the outer casing at 990 feet, and out through the rock to the surface.

Read the whole article and see all the illustrations.

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SS-25 is made of three cylinders one inside the other. Gas is escaping from a vast underground “reservoir” via a hole in the inner, 7-inch casing at 470 feet deep. The gas is traveling down to the end of the outer casing at 990 feet, then out through the rock. Modern wells are cemented from the surface to the reservoir to stop corrosion, but the 7-inch casing of this well, circa 1953-1954, was only cemented from a depth of 6,600 feet down to 8,500 feet. The hole from which gas is spewing occurred far above this safety cementing.
Illustration by Darrick Rainey
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