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Remember Aliso Canyon? SoCalGas tried to delay the security test



Remember Aliso Canyon? SoCalGas tried to delay the security test

The state regulator has blocked the efforts of Southern California Gas Co. to delay the safety testing needed at the company’s Aliso Canyon storage field, a record-breaking gas leak that spewed more than 100,000 tons of methane trapping heat into the atmosphere and became sick. residents of the nearest Porter Ranch.

The company is asking the governor Gavin Newsom’s government to temporarily suspend the requirement that all gas storage wells at Aliso be tested every two years, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and related residential stay orders, newly released documents show.

The country’s oil and gas regulator, known as CalGEM, denied the request on Monday.

Uduak State Oil and Gas Superintendent-Joe Ntuk said deep letter that the well testing requirements “are a central part of the comprehensive regulations adopted by CalGEM in response to the Aliso Canyon well incident, and they are central to CalGEM’s commitment that all possible steps will be taken to ensure safe operation of the project’s underground gas storage. “

“CalGEM understands that compliance with [mechanical integrity testing] the requirements for gas storage wells are challenging and that COVID-19 has added to that challenge, “Ntuk wrote. “Nonetheless, compliance with recently adopted regulations is very important and CalGEM will only approve changes in testing frequencies that are consistent with the regulatory framework.”

Requests from SoCalGas for an extension of six months have never been reported before.

SoCalGas executive Rodger Schwecke highlighted security rules that were simultaneously suspended by the company in a June 4 interview with The Times – less than three weeks after the latest utility request for pending enforcement.

Schwecke said the requirement that all wells must be tested every two years was part of an improved safety regime that made Aliso Canyon and other gas companies’ underground storage fields “the safest in the state, if not the safest in the country.”

“Of the 66 wells that we currently have available at Aliso Canyon, we will have 30 or 40 of them reviewed this year – and they must be assessed every two years,” Schwecke said at the time.

Issam Najm, president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council, said in an email that the gas company’s request to postpone testing of wells is “another example of how SoCalGas seems to treat safety measures only as a regulatory burden, not an integral component of responsible operations of dangerous facilities such as Aliso Canyon . “

Canyon Aliso gas storage field and the Porter Ranch neighborhood in May.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

In a statement sent by email, SoCalGas spokeswoman Christine Detz said the company “was ahead of all other operators in the state, fully completing a baseline assessment for all underground gas storage wells earlier than required by regulatory requirements.” This utility is continuing testing the next well, which must be completed by October 1.

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“We believe the six-month extension to complete the second round of assessments does not pose a safety risk, while supporting the reliability of natural gas services for customers next winter,” Detz said. “However, we will meet October 1, 2020, date.”

Aliso Canyon has been a flashpoint in a debate about how quickly Califorina might eliminate natural gas, the planet’s heating fossil fuel used to heat, cook, and produce electricity. SoCalGas, a shareholder-owned utility that serves 22 million people, has carried out a strong campaign to maintain its role in strengthening the community and considers Aliso a key tool to maintain reliability and limit costs for consumers.

Newsom said he was committed to shutting down Aliso, and last year he asked the state Public Utilities Commission to “speed up planning” for its closure. But in the meantime, the commission has allowed SoCalGas to dramatically increase the use of facilities since Newsom took office in 2019, compared to two years after the October 2015 explosion, when Aliso was hardly used at all.

In a sent a letter to Newsom on Monday, three area A MPs – state lawmaker Christy Smith, state Senator Henry Stern and Rep. Brad Sherman – urging the governor to direct the utility commission “to act immediately to prevent future unnecessary withdrawals from Aliso Canyon.”

“Excessive reliance on these facilities sets a dangerous precedent by delaying the cessation of facility use before the proposed closing date, and by not unnecessarily delaying the transition to the country’s renewable energy supply goals in the future,” the lawmaker wrote.

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An in-depth analysis commissioned by state officials determined the October 2015 explosion was caused by a damaged well casing in a former oil field, located in the Santa Susana Mountains north of the Los Angeles city limits. The outer casing of the SS-25 well broke due to microbial corrosion caused by contact with ground water, the consulting company Blade Energy Partners found.

Blade concluded SoCalGas “did not carry out a detailed follow-up inspection or analysis after a previous leak” at Aliso Canyon will go back to the 1970s and “does not have any form of risk assessment that focuses on good integrity management,” according to the Public Utilities Commission summary consultant findings. The consultant also found that “updated well safety practices and regulations were adopted by [CalGEM] address most of the root causes of leakage “identified during the investigation,” the commission wrote.

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One of those the rules is a requirement that all wells undergo mechanical intensity tests at least every two years.

In a March 23 Letters To CalGEM, SoCalGas executive Gina Orozco described the gas company’s concern “over the continuation of certain activities that are not considered important or essential for the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas services in this emergency,” referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, Orozco writes, “SoCalGas requests that CalGEM consider a temporary delay for a good two-year reassessment” at utility underground storage facilities, including Aliso.

“This temporary suspension will allow employees, contractors and agency personnel, who need to witness certain activities related to this work, to be fully involved in maintaining federal, state and local social distance and to stay at home if possible,” he wrote.

The SoCalGas crew tried to stop the flow of natural gas leaks from the Aliso Canyon storage field on November 3, 2015.

The SoCalGas crew and technical experts try to stop the flow of natural gas that leaked from the Aliso Canyon storage field on November 3, 2015.

(Javier Mendoza / Associated Press)

Orozco did not suggest a time frame for lifting the requested temporary suspension. But he urged oil and gas regulators to approve the “risk management plan” proposed by SoCalGas in 2019, where the company could test several wells in Aliso no more than once every 10 years, not every two years, based on an assessment of the risks posed by each well.

When CalGEM does not grant the request, the utility tries again.

SoCalGas Executive, Paul Goldstein write to CalGEM on May 18 requested a six-month enforcement delay, which would extend the deadline for the next round of well integrity tests from October 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021. In addition to discussing the impact of the pandemic, Goldstein wrote that the extension “will protect gas deliveries for our winter customers coming. “

The claim echoes previous arguments made by gas companies for state officials to allow the use of the larger Aliso Canyon.

The Public Utilities Commission has relaxed some of its restrictions on Aliso. But SoCalGas believes that continuing restrictions on gas withdrawals can create supply constraints that sometimes force consumers to pay more for energy, including during the summer heat wave of 2018 when a surge in prices landed Southern Califonria Edison customers with an unexpected $ 850 million bill.

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Critics of the gas company say that there will be no supply constraints – and no price spikes – if SoCalGas can fix the main pipeline that runs through the desert to Los Angeles. The pipeline has been out of service mostly in the last three years.

Critics also say that SoCalGas has a financial interest in convincing regulators that Aliso is needed to provide cheap and reliable energy. Amenities worth $ 769 million to the parent company of the gas company, Sempra Energy based in San Diego, at the end of 2019. As long as it is still used, SoCalGas customers will be ready to pay for the company’s investment, plus shareholder profits.

Hollin Kretzmann, a lawyer at the nonprofit Biodiversity Center, criticized SoCalGas for promoting the public’s two-year testing requirements even when he secretly asked permission from regulators to reassess storage wells in Aliso less frequently.

“The company is the last company that must pass safety and environmental regulations,” he said.

In a May 18 gas company letter, Goldstein said the requested enforcement delay would only apply to wells that had passed the baseline inspection. He also cited new federal guidelines that do not require gas storage wells to be tested every two years.

“Industry and experts continue to evaluate the risks of incoming well inspections. Although this research is still new and ongoing, until now there has been no fact or science based research that confirms that a two year re-evaluation interval that requires entry of wells reduces the risk of damage to life, health, property, or natural resources. , “Goldstein wrote.

Tera Lecuona from Porter Ranch held a sign of protest at a hearing about the October 2015 explosion at Aliso Canyon.

Tera Lecuona from Porter Ranch held a sign of protest during an audience in Granada Hills during October 2015 at the Southern California Gas Co. storage facility. Aliso Canyon.

(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

CalGEM posted a utility letter – as well as other requests from oil and gas companies seeking to extend regulatory deadlines due to COVID-19 – on the website last week. A spreadsheet shows that the agency has approved six requests, rejected 18 and is still considering 13 other requests, including one from oil giant Chevron to delay repairing 19 wells in Kern Regency for one year.

State officials fined Chevron $ 2.7 million last year after the Kern County spill saw more than 1.3 million gallons of oil and wastewater seep into a dry riverbed from one of the company’s wells in Cymric Oil Field, about 35 miles west of Bakersfield.

One of California’s other major gas utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, submitted a request similar to that submitted by SoCalGas, for its McDonald Island storage field in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

PG&E acknowledged that it had expected difficulties in completing the 2020 well inspection planned even before the pandemic. But with COVID-19, PG&E writes, the company “anticipates well work schedules … so that the impact of completion of well work” is not possible on October 1.

CalGEM said it was still considering PG&E requests.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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