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Porter Ranch Natural Gas Leak Temporarily Controlled

Photo caption: Crews from Southern California Gas and outside experts work on a relief well ...

Photo credit: Associated Press

Crews from Southern California Gas and outside experts work on a relief well at the Aliso Canyon facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles, Wednesday, Dec. 9. 2015.

Signaling that relief is in sight for thousands of residents in Porter Ranch, Southern California Gas Co. crews temporarily controlled the leak of natural gas Thursday from an Aliso Canyon Storage Facility.

Signaling that relief is in sight for thousands of residents in Porter Ranch, Southern California Gas Co. crews temporarily controlled the leak of natural gas Thursday from an Aliso Canyon Storage Facility well that has been spewing gas since late October.

According to the utility, a relief well intercepted the leaking well, and crews began pumping heavy fluids to control the flow of gas. Work will now begin to seal the well and permanently cap the leak.

"We have temporarily controlled the natural gas flow from the leaking well and begun the process of sealing the well and permanently stopping the leak," said Jimmie Cho, SoCalGas senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity.

Gas Co. officials said that while the development is a "positive" step, cement will still need to be injected from the relief well into the leaking well. Once the gas company seals the leaking well with cement, the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources will have to confirm that the flow of gas has stopped. That process is expected to take several more days.

Once the state confirms that the leak has been halted, residents who have been relocated from their homes due to the leak will have eight days to move back to their homes. People living in temporary housing with extended leases will have until those leases run out to return home.

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