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 December 18, 2015 - 9:07 PM EST
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SoCalGas Aliso Canyon Update

SoCalGas Commits to Mitigate Environmental Impact of Gas Leak

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- SoCalGas today has committed to work with state officials to develop a framework that will help guide the company's efforts to mitigate environmental impacts from the actual natural gas released from the leak at Aliso Canyon. SoCalGas President and CEO Dennis V. Arriola sent a letter to Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown confirming the company's commitment to begin this important work expeditiously – even before the actual amount of the leaked volume is determined. A comprehensive inventory of emissions will be taken after the leak has been stopped.

"SoCalGas recognizes the impact this incident is having on the environment," said Arriola. "I want to assure the public that we intend to mitigate environmental impacts from the actual natural gas released from the leak and will work with state officials to develop a framework that will help us achieve this goal."

SoCalGas' priority is to stop the leak while supporting the surrounding community and addressing environmental impacts. Other recent developments include:

Working to Stop the Leak

  • The relief well has advanced, on-schedule, into the second of five operational phases and could be completed by late-February to late-March. Once completed, SoCalGas will use the relief well to pump fluids and cement into the bottom of the leaking well to permanently seal it.
  • A second relief well site is being prepared as a backup operation, and drilling is expected to begin in January.
  • The option to conduct additional efforts to pump fluids directly down the well to stop the flow of gas remains available, and further attempts to do so could be conducted in the coming week.

Reducing the Amount of Natural Gas Escaping from the Leak

  • SoCalGas is withdrawing gas from the storage facility to decrease the pressure pushing gas out through the leak. The company has prioritized the use of gas from Aliso Canyon to supply customer demand and, as a result, is withdrawing natural gas from the field at about double the typical rate for this time of year.
  • SoCalGas is also working with some of the world's most experienced engineering firms to develop innovative approaches to capturing the gas that is escaping from the leak.

Addressing the Community's Concerns

  • SoCalGas opened its Porter Ranch Community Resource Center Dec. 16 in the Porter Ranch Town Center, 19731 Rinaldi Street, to provide services and information to the community.
  • SoCalGas recently began providing several options of in-home air filtration to reduce residents' exposure to the odorant, which may produce symptoms in those sensitive to its smell.
  • The company is also continuing to provide temporary accommodation for those who want to relocate until the leak is stopped.

About SoCalGas: Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.4 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. 

This press release contains statements that are not historical fact and constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These statements can be identified by words like "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "plans," "estimates,"  "projects," "forecasts," "contemplates," "intends," "depends," "should," "could," "would," "will," "confident," "may," "potential," "possible,"  "proposed,"  "target," "pursue," "goals," "outlook," "maintain" or similar expressions, or discussions of guidance, strategies, plans, goals, opportunities, projections, initiatives, objectives or intentions.  Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance.  They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions.  Future results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon various assumptions involving judgments with respect to the future and other risks, including, among others: local, regional, national and international economic, competitive, political, legislative and regulatory conditions and developments; actions and the timing of actions, including issuances of permits to construct and licenses for operation, by the California Public Utilities Commission, California State Legislature, U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, California Energy Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, and other regulatory, governmental and environmental bodies in the United States and other countries in which we operate; the timing and success of business development efforts and construction, maintenance and capital projects, including risks in obtaining, maintaining or extending permits, licenses, certificates and other authorizations on a timely basis and risks in obtaining adequate and competitive financing for such projects; energy markets, including the timing and extent of changes and volatility in commodity prices, and the impact of any protracted reduction in oil and natural gas prices from historical averages; the impact on the value of our natural gas storage assets from low natural gas prices, low volatility of natural gas prices and the inability to procure favorable long-term contracts for natural gas storage services; delays in the timing of costs incurred and the timing of the regulatory agency authorization to recover such costs in rates from customers; deviations from regulatory precedent or practice that result in a reallocation of benefits or burdens among shareholders and ratepayers; capital markets conditions, including the availability of credit and the liquidity of our investments; inflation, interest and currency exchange rates; the availability of electric power, natural gas and liquefied natural gas, and natural gas pipeline and storage capacity, including disruptions caused by failures in the North American transmission grid, pipeline explosions and equipment failures; cybersecurity threats to the energy grid, natural gas storage and pipeline infrastructure, the information and systems used to operate our businesses and the confidentiality of our proprietary information and the personal information of our customers, terrorist attacks that threaten system operations and critical infrastructure, and wars; the ability to win competitively bid infrastructure projects against a number of strong competitors willing to aggressively bid for these projects; weather conditions, conservation efforts, natural disasters, catastrophic accidents, and other events that may disrupt our operations, damage our facilities and systems, and subject us to third-party liability for property damage or personal injuries some of which may or may not be covered by insurance; risks that our partners or counterparties will be unable or unwilling to fulfill their contractual commitments; risks posed by decisions and actions of third parties who control the operations of investments in which we do not have a controlling interest;business, regulatory, environmental and legal decisions and requirements; the inability or determination not to enter into long-term supply and sales agreements or long-term firm capacity agreements due to insufficient market interest, unattractive pricing or other factors; the resolution of litigation; and other uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control.  These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that Sempra Energy has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC's website,  Investors should not rely unduly on any forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise these forecasts or projections or other forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Southern California Gas Co. is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.9 million consumers through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy.

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Source: PR Newswire (December 18, 2015 - 9:07 PM EST)

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