On August 31, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to increase working natural gas storage by 67% to 68.6 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in Aliso Canyon, increasing Southern California Gas’ total working natural gas storage. Company (SoCalGas) to about 120 Bcf. Aliso Canyon is the largest underground natural gas storage facility in California and is located northwest of Los Angeles. The CPUC approved an increase in storage capacity at Aliso Canyon to avoid potential energy price increases and improve reliability for the upcoming 2023–24 winter.
Without the regulatory caps, Aliso Canyon has a total natural gas storage capacity of 86.2 Bcf, which makes up 63% of the SoCalGas total. Aliso Canyon has been operating at reduced capacity since 2017, following a well spill in 2015 and a repair in 2016. Since Aliso Canyon was cleared to resume partial operations in 2017, the CPUC has changed the cap of the storage facility several times in response to changing market conditions. In November 2021, the CPUC capped Aliso Canyon’s inventory at 41.2 Bcf.
In April, SoCalGas and the San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) petitioned the CPUC to change the November 2021 decision. that last winter. Natural gas prices at the SoCal Citygate pricing hub are trading between $20.00 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) and $50.00/MMBtu for most of December 2022, partly due to low natural gas storage levels.
Several weeks of below-normal temperatures last winter on the West Coast increased heating demand, leading to relatively large natural gas withdrawals from storage. SoCalGas storage began the last heating season with 14% more working natural gas than the previous five-year average and ended the season with 30% less.
As of August 31, total natural gas storage in Southern California’s SoCalGas system was about 88% full, with 79.2 Bcf of working natural gas, when the previous 41.2 Bcf storage cap in Aliso Canyon is still in place. The CPUC’s decision to increase Aliso Canyon’s working natural gas storage capacity provided an additional 23% capacity on September 1, allowing Aliso Canyon to increase its natural gas inventory for the remaining weeks of the season. of the injection that runs until October before it arrives. during winter heating.
Amua Southern California Daily Energy Report provides daily metrics on regional electricity demand, energy prices, and natural gas shipments, receipts, and inventories.