The blowout of well Standard Sesnon 25 in the Aliso Canyon Field resulted in the temporary
displacement of thousands of residents in the community surrounding the Aliso Canyon field and
demonstrated vulnerabilities to the California energy supply chain that placed at risk the energy
reliability to 21 million customers in the greater Los Angeles Basin. The broad health and
environmental impacts are still being investigated as many of the contaminants released are known to
be toxic at high doses but have limited health impact data for long- term chronic exposure. The
event substantially increased the amount of methane emitted to the atmosphere for the entire state,
and consequently the amount of greenhouse gas pollution emitted due to the state's economic
Because of this incident, the State of California sought more information about all of the
underground natural gas storage fields in California. The California Public Utilities Commission,
in consultation with the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, the
California Air Resources Board, and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources within the
California Department of Conservation commissioned the California Council on Science and Technology
(CCST) to conduct an independent, scientific assessment.
The CCST report will assess the long-term viability of gas storage facilities in California. The
assessment will include an evaluation of the current state of the thirteen gas storage fields in
California, a broad review of the potential health risks and community impacts associated with their
operation, fugitive gas emissions, and the linkages between gas storage capacity and California's
current and future energy needs. Recommendations to public policy makers will be made where
The scope of the study covers three key questions.
CCST established an interdisciplinary steering committee to oversee the effort that included experts
in technical areas relevant to underground natural gas storage and its impacts in California. Dr.
Jane C.S. Long and Dr. Jens Birkholzer served as the co-chairs for the project and Lawrence Berkeley
National Lab (LBNL) and Aspen Environmental Group (Aspen) were the primary research institutions
supporting CCST in writing the report. CCST will deliver the final report following peer review to
the CPUC by December 31, 2017.
This study will be conducted as a synthesis of existing publically available data including the
results of many currently on-going or recently related studies, protocols and proposed regulations.
The quality of the assessment will depend on the quality of the information and time available for
the study and the study will include an assessment of data adequacy and limitations posed by time