Utility estimates LA-area gas leak to cost at least $250M

AP News
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Posted: Feb 11, 2016 5:53 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the gas leak near Los Angeles that was stopped for the first time in nearly four months (all times local):

2:47 p.m.

The utility that had a natural gas well leaking nearly four months says it expects the incident will cost at least $250 million to $300 million.

Southern California Gas Co. said Thursday that the cost estimates don't include potential damages from more than two dozen lawsuits, penalties from government agencies and expenses to mitigate pollution.

SoCalGas says the estimate is for the costs of relocating as many as 6,400 families for many weeks and paying to have the leak stopped and the old well sealed.

The company says it got the leak under control earlier in the day.

The company says it expects insurance policies totaling more than $1 billion to cover most of the costs.

The estimates were disclosed in a filing with federal securities regulators.

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1:47 p.m.

A utility says it has stopped the leak from a ruptured well that gushed massive amounts of natural gas near Los Angeles for 16 weeks.

The leak controlled Thursday drove thousands of residents from their Porter Ranch homes and has been blamed for a variety of symptoms including headaches and nausea.

Southern California Gas Co. tried unsuccessfully for weeks to force mud into the well to stop the leak. It had to drill a second well that intercepted the pipe a mile and a half underground.

The well is not permanently sealed, but if the plug holds it will be cemented closed.

Once state inspectors declare the well permanently sealed, displaced residents will have at least a week to return home.