SoCal Gas expects to stop gas leak by late February

- Southern California Gas Co. announced Monday that it expects to stop the leak at its Aliso Canyon storage facility by late February, if not sooner, as work on its relief well project is proceeding ahead of schedule.

The relief well drilling began Dec. 4 and is expected to reach the bottom of the well at a depth of about 8,500 feet below the surface next month, according to Jimmie Cho, senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity for SoCalGas. Once the well is sealed, it will be taken out of service permanently, Cho said.

"Our team of experts has been working around the clock since we started relief well operations in early December and we're pleased with the progress we've made thus far," Cho said.

"Our top priority remains the safety of those working on the site and of the nearby community. We are focused on stopping the leak as quickly and safely as possible, mitigating the environmental, and supporting the community.

Our schedule to control and stop the leak in February is consistent with the updated plan we have submitted to state regulators."

Southern California Gas Co. first reported the leaking well Oct. 23, and since then an estimated 77 million kilograms of methane have been released, leaving people living near the site to deal with foul odors and nosebleeds, headaches, nausea and other short-term ailments.

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