Sempra Energy’s Southern California Gas Co. utility sold all of eight “packages” of added underground storage gas in its two-week open season that ended Tuesday, a Los Angeles-based spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. The gas was formerly classified as cushion gas.

More details on the results of the sale will come next week when the utility files a report with the California Public Utilities Commission. Supplies can be nominated for storage beginning on Thanksgiving Day, and may be stored through March 31, 2003.

The eight equal packages were consistent with a Nov. 7 decision by the CPUC, allowing SoCalGas to put an added 8.12 Bcf of storage gas in two of its underground facilities on the open market. In packets of 1.015 Bcf each, the winning bidders for the former cushion gas can draw from it throughout the winter (see Daily GPI, Nov. 11).

Sealed bids were accepted through Tuesday for supplies from the SoCalGas underground storage facilities at Aliso Canyon north of Los Angeles and La Goleta field west of Santa Barbara, CA. While freeing this gas for the market, the CPUC required that the utility retain another 5.88 Bcf of former cushion gas supplies for bundled core and noncore customers.

After many months of delay, the CPUC authorized the utility to reclassify 14 Bcf of gas in storage as part of a reworking of the fields and to sell the supplies on the open market as a means of keeping downward pressure on wholesale gas prices in the state. The reconfiguration of the fields was originally authorized by the CPUC in June 2001.

Bidding information was available through the utility’s web site (, or through calling Dal Borhaug, storage products advisor at the gas utility (213-244-2824).

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