Porter ranch
A woman walks past a Porter Ranch sign at the entrance to Southern California Gas’s Aliso Canyon storage field. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Sempra announced Friday a loss of $648 million in the third quarter after taking a $1.1 billion charge for settlement costs in a suit over the 2015 natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon.

The San Diego-based energy infrastructure company’s loss equaled $2.03 per share and compared to a profit of $351 million, or $1.21 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose to $3.01 billion from $2.64 billion.

The Aliso Canyon leak near the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles was the biggest natural gas leak in U.S. history, releasing 100,000 tons of methane and other substances over 118 days.

Sempra and its subsidiary SoCalGas denied any wrongdoing, but faced a lawsuit by some 35,000 residents. The company said the recently announced settlement is “expected to resolve substantially all material civil litigation.”

Though Sempra reported a loss, it showed an increase in operating profit, earning $545 million, or $1.70 per share, in the third quarter, compared to $432 million, or $1.49 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

“At this point in the year, we are excited to see strong growth across all three of our
business platforms,” said Trevor Mihalik, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “This is a product of our strategic focus on investing in some of the most attractive energy markets in North America, and it sets us up well for strong financial and operating performance through the end of the year and into 2022.”

The company said it expects full year earnings per share to be in the range of $3.01 to $3.61, rising to $8.10 to $8.70 in 2022.

Sempra’s stock closed unchanged on Friday at $127.35 per share following the earnings report.

The company, which is the parent of San Diego Gas & Electric, serves 36 million customers in California, Texas and Mexico.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.