As a compliment to The Advocate and David Mitchell’s very perceptive writing skills, then I would like to present people with an alternate question.
Is there another cavern at more risk, than others?
Oxy Geismar #1 is the only super shallow brine mined salt cavern within proximity to Oxy Geismar #3, to the failed Texas Brine and owned by, Occidental Chemical Corporation cavern.
Why would it be more at risk? First we have to understand Oxy Geismar #3, it’s depths, dimensions, and width. Oxy Geismar #3 has a top cavern insert depth at 3400 ft. It was 150 ft. across at the top of the cavern. 300′ ft. at the bottom…we think.
Oxy Geismar #1 on the other hand has a top Cavern depth of 2492 ft. and a width of 344 ft. in the northwest directional survey.
If 900′ (previously 875′) feet away at the well head, as reported, then we are left with only 325-400 ft. between the two caverns, at marginally varying depths. The 2010 mill out of Oxy Geismar #3 was at 2350 ft., which struck the fault line in the same general area, causing it to become active, according to the position, and depth revealed in the 2007 Golden Gate/Grand Gulf proprietary 3 D survey. Since it is sitting upon the shale, then it is especially vulnerable to the seismic shaking taking place through the sedimentary rock layers, making the shallow cavern quite vulnerable to these forces.
Oxy Geismar #1 is the same cavern Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources claims was spoken of in a 1995 Sandia Labs report entitled,
Neal, J. T. and T.R. Magorian. April 1995. Geologic Site Characterization (GSC) Principles Derived from Storage and Mining Projects in Salt, With Application to Environmental Surety. SAND95-2400J. Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM.
This report clearly speaks of a cavern laying against the shale sheath, as evidenced in the below caption:
Since LDNR claims this is Oxy Geismar #1, and that they had no knowledge of said SANDIA LABS report, then it seems logical that LDNR is accusing Sandia Labs and the two scientist’s of incompetence, for not forwarding this report to their office, for their attention, nor to the industry it involves, such as Salt Cavern Brine Mining, although fully available for any industry at all times, as well as SANDIA LABS working with all governmental authorities regarding local issues concerning the Geo Sciences.
Please LDNR, give us all a break! None are as stupid, or negligent as you claim, with the exception of yourselves, of course.
In a recent Advocate article by David Mitchell, Mark Cartwright, former President of United Brine Services LLC, a subsidiary of Texas Brine LLC, now the Vice-President of Texas Brine LLC, had this to say;
“Texas Brine’s Cartwright said that even after the 2010 study, his company had no reason “whatsoever” to believe the side wall of the cavern would collapse.
And conventional wisdom held that at those depths, about 5,000 feet, any rupture would be contained by the surrounding rock, he said.
“In fact, I think at the end of this process you’re going to see some really interesting papers written by some very smart people that will revolutionize our belief about what can happen deep,” Cartwright said.”
This is an outright lie, as when President of United Brine, Mark Cartwright was the very one that raised the alarm in the first place!
“One obvious concern is the cavern’s proximity to the edge of salt,” Cartwright wrote to DNR’s Joseph “Joe” S. Ball Jr. “There have been several studies in this regard, and Texas Brine has mapped the salt boundary near the cavern applying available well log data, seismic data, and most recently, vertical seismic data gathered during the workover. At this time, a breach out of the salt dome appears possible.”
(Read Actual Letter Here) Take note the date of the letter is Jan. 21, 2011.
Ball is the director of the DNR Injection and Mining Division, which oversees salt caverns.
So, United Brine’s President Mark Cartwright spills the beans in no uncertain terms, then gets kicked up the ladder afterwards, and becomes Texas Brine’s Vice-President, and says… “We didn’t have a clue.” I’ll let your own discernment be your guide to the answer.
Is this a common sense approach? Most definitely. Mere supposition at this point would be futile, and counter-productive, and I wish to avoid such interpretation, due to the copius amounts of information now available to so many.
Keep an eye towards Oxy Geismar #1, for it is another engineering disaster waiting to happen.
Coming up next;
Could there be another contributing factor to this disaster as well? Mainly the Hooker Oil Drilling Well #1, just feet away from the Oxy Geismar #3 Salt Cavern, and over a 15 year period depleting the formation at the same depths as the bottom of Oxy Geismar #3.
We shall explore these possibilities in my next article.. Louisiana Sinkhole: Comedy of Errors?