Sunday, January 31, 2016


Byline: John Corrigan Daily News Staff Writer 

Buried nearly 8,000 feet beneath the slopes of Oat Mountain in the north San Fernando Valley is a vast reservoir of natural gas - 70 billion cubic feet of it, enough to supply more than 1 million homes for a year.

The 3,200-acre site in Aliso Canyon was once home to oil fields. Today, the Southern California Gas Co. uses jet engine-powered compressors to inject gas deep into the played-out fields, where it is stored for later delivery to customers.

On the surface, the setting is one of classic California beauty - oak-dotted hillsides that are green in spring, golden-brown in summer. But it is the underground geology that makes Aliso Canyon a perfect natural gas tank.

``Basically, you've got a sponge up against a granite wall,'' said Tom Schroeder, a Gas Co. field engineer at Aliso.

The ``sponge'' is sandstone - porous rock that can store large quantities of oil and gas in the spaces between the grains of sand.

Using many of the same wells that once pumped oil, the Gas Co. uses powerful compressors to force natural gas back into the ground - where it rests in the sandstone, trapped on three sides by granite and the fourth side by underground water.

``Right now we're injecting gas,'' said Dick Wiegman, the storage operations manager at Aliso. ``We'll store the gas all summer in preparation for the winter months - basically from early November through mid-March.''   MORE

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