Louisiana Sinkhole: Who owns the failed cavern? Who is liable?

ON AUGUST 12, 2012, TEXAS BRINE SUBMITTED A PLAN THAT STATED A CONTAINMENT BERM/DITCH around the then 2.5 acre Sinkhole. Ever see that happen? At over nine acres, still a containment berm has been unable to be completed before, so why now, after untold environmental damage has been done?
 
All of the formation waters, hydrocarbons, TDS’s, TDC’s, etc. were allowed to contaminate the surrounding waterways, bayous, and swamps, although TEXAS BRINE proposed the first plan to contain the waters of ‘Lake Oxy 3’ to the Department of Conservation 9 days after the sinkhole formed. We are now at 221 days and counting..
 
Why?
 
 
At the bottom of this document is also contained a PLAT map of all OWNERS of the property, and adjacent land owners. OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORP. Owns the land, and the Cavern, (OXY GEISMAR 3), and Texas Brine owns nothing but the casing and operates the well.
 
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Because according to the recent decision of the courts, the OWNER IS RESPONSIBLE for the CAVERN, and not the on-site OPERATOR.

Below is an explanation of how DOW CHEMICAL escaped all liability for the 2003 GULF SOUTH Incident in Grand Bayou. It also serves as the basis for enjoining OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORP. in any lawsuit, and force them to admit ownership.

This is why TEXAS BRINE keeps claiming they ARE NOT responsible. They are just not disclosing the whole truth, and probably never will on their own.  My money is on Occidental Chemical Corp. remaining very quite, as they know they are liable and have much deeper pockets than Texas Brine and that scares them to death.

COURT CASE:

“Kirkland’s win in the Dow Chemical matter resolved a high-stakes battle between the company and a Dow lessee’s insurer, Oil Insurance Ltd., and showcased the firm’s methods.

Oil Insurance had sought in a Louisiana trial court subrogated damages from Dow related to the 2003 rupture of an underground gas storage chamber operated under lease from Dow by Gulf South Pipeline LP.

Oil Insurance alleged that Dow was liable because it had constructed the gas well improperly. Gulf South’s cleanup costs and lost profits related to the rupture, which released millions of cubic feet of gas and resulted in the evacuation of the surrounding community, amounted to more than $145 million.

Kirkland stepped in as lead counsel in 2007 on Dow’s behalf and convinced the judge to set up a phased approach, under which the firm proceeded with two attacks on the insurer’s claim that ultimately led to the case’s resolution.

The firm first used discovery to produce key admissions from the insurer’s damage expert, leading the court to scrub some $80 million in damages for a purported failure to present underlying documents.

Kirkland then successfully argued in a summary judgment motion that an additional $30 million chunk of Oil Insurance’s claims should be stricken based on a waiver of subrogation clause.

Having twice sided with Oil Insurance on the issue earlier in the case, the court, which rendered judgment last March, made new Louisiana law for the manner in which it applied the waiver of subrogation to the insurer’s claims.

Following the court’s decision, the parties settled the remaining claims, with Gulf South and Oil Insurance assuming all liability for litigation currently underway with area residents.

Additionally, Dow settled its own claims against Gulf South in a confidential settlement.

SOURCE: http://www.kirkland.com/sitecontent.cfm?contentID=230&itemId=9603

I do hope you are now getting the picture. The Courts ruled that since Gulf South was the OPERATOR and that it’s CASING FAILED, and that DOW only owned the property and the actual cavern and it didn’t fail, then GULF SOUTH and OIL INSURANCE were liable.

Applying this Court decision, then conversely, since OCCIDENTAL OWNS Cavern OXY GEISMAR 3, and TEXAS BRINE only operates the well and casing, then OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORP. and it’s INSURANCE COMPANY are the actual LIABLE PARTIES, depending upon whether Texas Brine signed a similar waiver of subrogation.

Also, Texas Brine, because of the 2010 mill out at 2380 ft.-2480 ft., without reliable knowledge from the VSP (performed later the same year), but having Sonar surveys of the Cavern showing the straight line deformation of the shale sheath pressing against the cavern’s bottom 1000 ft., suggesting that not enough salt existed for such a mill out test, and is therefore are liable for this portion of the cavern’s failure.

I know this doesn’t help unless taking on litigation, but it is valuable information in your fight to get relief. Please speak with your Attorneys to check out these important matters, and it’s implications in enjoining Occidental Chemical Corporation as Defendant, with Texas Brine, LLC.

(DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney and my opinions should not be construed as such. Please consult your own attorney for specifics on the value of the information contained within this article.) 

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11 thoughts on “Louisiana Sinkhole: Who owns the failed cavern? Who is liable?

  1. You have a special gift of clarifying complicated relationships that might cause most of us to give up trying to understand. Sent apologies to flyingcuttlefish, not sure if it was received. Hoping my sending links to the sinkhole page to multiple news outlets did not cause the issue. The opportunity arose with the outlandish coverage given to the FL single household sinkhole? failure. Why so much coverage for one family and no coverage for hundreds of families?? Think you could post this link in the comment section of Sun News post which is chalk full of information!

  2. Pingback: Tuesday News | The Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle

  3. You are doing a great job of finding the ‘hidden’ truth. And flyingcluttlefish is as well. Its difficult to ‘put it all out there’ trying to help those who are abandoned( or ignored due to monetary reasons) – you make a lot of high powered enemies, and find you have paid bloggers who follow your every blog comment with vitriol! Proud to know you both! JEC

    • Thanks, JEC, always nice to know you are appreciated, and I am sure FcF feels the same. We may not always be absolutely right on everything, but it isn’t for lack of trying. Please also know we appreciate all of our readers, and commenter’s as well. C’mon, a lot of this could not be done without all the helpful suggestions and comments from the best people in the world…Our Readers!

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