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The estimated cost of a massive gas well blowout that spewed methane uncontrollably for nearly four months and uprooted 8,000 Los Angeles families has more than doubled to $665 million, Sempra Energy said.

San Diego-based Sempra had estimated costs of $330 million in its annual report in February, but that was before courts forced its Southern California Gas Co. to continue paying to house thousands of relocated residents.

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The gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility was the largest known release of climate-changing methane in U.S. history, according to scientists. It spewed an estimated 107,000 tons of methane over 16 weeks.

The blowout reported Oct. 23 sickened residents in Porter Ranch and surrounding San Fernando Valley suburbs who complained of headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and other symptoms as the foul-smelling gas wafted over neighborhoods.

Schneider Bold

SoCalGas has pointed out public health agencies found the air quality in the area has now returned to normal, though residents continue to complain of maladies since they capped the leak in February. Some 3,700 households remain in short- or long-term housing, many because of fears of returning until they know for sure their homes are clean and safe.

The estimates do not account for possible damages from 138 pending lawsuits or civil or criminal penalties that could result from government probes.

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