Delicious Methane

Footage taken on December 17 shows a geyser of methane gas, visible by infrared camera.

In early December, the Southern California Gas Company said that plugging the leak, which sprang in mid-October, would take at least three more months. Right now, the single leak accounts for a quarter of the state's entire methane emissions, and the leak has been called the worst environmental disaster since the BP oil spill in 2010.

Part of the problem in stopping the leak lies in the base of the well, which sits 8,000 feet underground. Pumping fluids down into the well, usually the normal recourse, just isn't working, said Silva. Workers have been "unable to establish a stable enough column of fluid to keep the force of gas coming up from the reservoir." The company is now constructing a relief well that will connect to the leaking well, and hopefully provide a way to reduce pressure so the leak can be plugged. Right now, relief efforts have drilled only 3,800 feet down -- less than half of the way to the base of the well.

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5 Responses:

  1. gronk says:

    Yeah, and methane is a potent greenhouse gas. So why not burn it, so the well spits out the (less harmfull) CO2?

    • I suspect that creating a giant tiki torch in the hills above LA might have potential safety risks.

      From the POV of the gas company and their regulators, imagine of the PR consequences. Right now, anyone who flies a helicopter equipped with an IR camera and anyone who pays close attention to the news knows about this. Light it up, and public awareness goes from 1% of the public, to 100%.

      • Ben says:

        So why hasn't someone flown a drone with some burning incense sticks through it yet? The worst possible dystopian future is this boring one.

        • ThorstenV says:

          You're welcome. First however you might want to take a look at what they do to people like C. Manning for much less dangerous things.

  2. It has to be a chilled thread of graphene by the time it reaches the surface. Gather the Maugdalyana for Retentive Bhuddists and witness speculatively.

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