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Construction Begins in December on SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon Project

Construction on Southern California Gas Co.’s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon Turbine Replacement Project will move forward this month, according to company officials. The California Public Utilities Commission decision in November approved SoCalGas’ proposal to replace obsolete equipment used to inject natural gas at its Aliso Canyon Storage Field in Northridge, Calif. with new equipment utilizing state-of-the-art technology to help meet the region’s demand for natural gas. The new equipment is expected to become operational in late 2016.

Modernizes facilities
“This very important project will modernize our facility and help us continue to meet our customers’ growing demand for natural gas,” said Bret Lane, senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity.

Currently, three natural gas turbine-driven compressors are used at Aliso Canyon to inject natural gas into storage. This 1970s-era equipment is approaching the end of its useful life. To inject the natural gas as needed, SoCalGas will install new, efficient electric motor-driven compressors. In order to operate the new electric motor-driven compressors, new and modified electrical facilities will be installed by Southern California Edison Co. (SCE).

The turbine replacement project will also result in a reduction in air emissions and greenhouse gases at Aliso Canyon.

Why store natural gas?
SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon Storage Field is the largest of four such facilities in Southern California. This natural underground reservoir allows SoCalGas to safely inject and store natural gas when prices are lower, and withdraw the gas for our customers when prices and demand are high. This helps to protect customers against price spikes and helps to maintain reliable natural gas supplies. The natural gas, most of which comes from the Rockies, the Southwest United States and California, is stored thousands of feet below the earth’s surface in depleted oil fields, below impermeable layers of rock and geologic formations.

$200.9 million project to modernize facility

The project will consist of:

  • Construction of a new compressor building and installation of new equipment including three 22,000-horsepower (HP) motors, compressors, piping, coolers, and other additional equipment required for the storage operations.
  • Relocation of existing office facilities and relocation of the facility’s guard house to help
  • improve traffic flow on Sesnon Boulevard.
  • Construction by SoCalGas of a new 12-kilovolt (kV) power line that will provide dedicated electric service to the facility from SCE’s new substation.
  • Construction by SCE of a new customer-dedicated substation within the Aliso Canyon Storage Field and modification of an existing 66-kV subtransmission line from SCE’s Newhall Substation in Santa Clarita to the new substation at Aliso Canyon to supply power to the facility.
  • Modifications by SCE to three existing SCE substations (Newhall, Chatsworth, and San Fernando Substations) to accommodate the 66-kV service to the Aliso Canyon Storage Field.

Community outreach
Throughout the construction project, SoCalGas will continue to provide local residences and businesses updated information on the progress of the project, through:

  • Annual community informational events to discuss activities at the field and answer questions from the community
  • Quarterly community meetings to brief local residents on the Project’s developments and key milestones

To further educate and keep the public informed, SoCalGas will develop and maintain a publicly accessible website page that will include information on the Aliso Canyon Safety Plan and safety audit reports; brush clearing schedule; project updates; annual reports to the CPUC; and notices of overhead electrical distribution facility shut-downs/

Committed to safety
SoCalGas’ commitment to safety includes the on-going, daily facility operation as well as the project’s construction phases. To further enhance safety, SoCaGas will:

  • Establish the Aliso Canyon Employee Safety Committee
  • Establish a site-specific safety plan that will detail each of the safety-related regulatory requirements, and the general actions and activities that SoCalGas undertakes to meet the requirements consistent with SoCalGas’ overall Safety Plan

With any large scale project, there will be the typical noise and construction traffic with trucks coming and going. “We understand that construction may be disruptive to daily activities of local residents and businesses, and so we are committed to maintaining the communities’ safety and, to the extent possible, minimizing any inconvenience,” said David Meza, public affairs manager.

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