“This is an unprecedented event, and no one knew this could ever happen.”
That is the catch-phrase that has been mouthed by Louisiana State Office of Conservation, and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.
Dr. Gary Hecox of Shaw, (CB&I now), first stated this, and it has made the rounds of Texas Brine’s Sonny Cranch, Patrick Couregges, all the way down to John Beaudreaux with Assumption Parish’s Dept. of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Preparedness. Except it is a known lie.
In this short article I will attempt to show you all the evidence that puts the lies to the lips of the various speakers making this absurd claim. Although an unprecedented event, it was actually absolutely expected….
Before I do though, let’s just take the short path and I will state my conclusions now, and then allow you, the reader, to make up your own minds as to the veracity of these scientific papers and the evidences contained within before forming your own conclusions.
It is a known and proven fact that Sandia National Laboratories, (A Member of the Solution Mining Research Institute-Texas Brine Co-Founded), knew that Hooker #8 (Now Oxy Geismar #3), was laying upon the shale sheath as well since 1995, since they are also a Member of SMRI, as shown in a previous article.
It was doubly confirmed when a SONAR survey of 2007 of Oxy 3, (Vulcan 3 then), showed a pronounced straight line deformation in its sonic profile.
Yet, this slowed neither the State, nor Texas Brine none at all. Still they mined this Cavern, and used it up to the fullest extent, then…looked for another way to keep extracting brine. They had a hard nailed 30 year contract, and were absolutely determined to meet this far flung contract. Their Company’s name, reputation, and reliability depended upon this contract being fulfilled, and Texas Brine is still trying to accomplish this goal today.
Once the operational life of Oxy Geismar #3 was at an end, It seems ever more self-evident that Texas Brine knew what was happening with Cavern 3, and made plans in 2010 to abandon Cavern # 3 in favor of milling out an upper cavern starting at 2280 ft. down 100 ft. to 2380 ft. and at best, only 300 ft. of salt existed at 2280-2380 ft. from the outside of the dome, and at worst only 100 ft. of salt separated the dome from the outside shale, and a normal mill out pressure is initially approximately 1500 psi at depth or 0.8 psi per foot of depth, (per Regulations) which would create a cavity of approximately 100-200 ft of open space (horizontally, and at least 100 feet in vertical height) around the wellbore casing using freshwater. It is my contention, and the opinions of others far more experienced than I am, that the salt was breached into shale and shattered the nascent Down Thrown Fault Block forming just outside the Salt Edge, and thus setting off this nearby fault line in the shale, which was truly the beginning of this entire disaster. The shale sheath protecting Cavern 3 fractured as a result of this Mill Out, and cavern pressures were immediately noted to be dropping.
Is this conjecture? Absolutely not. This was known as a possibility many years ago, as proven by this entitled publication, ‘Failure rates for underground gas storage’ published in 2008.
Here is an excerpt, “2.2.1 Discussion Two cases of problems encountered at salt cavern facilities (Clovelly and Napoleanville, Louisiana) were due to insufficient site characterisation [Evans, 2007], with the caverns having been built too close to the edge of a salt dome such that there was not enough salt ‘buffer’. In terms of the UK, this is not really an issue onshore, as there are no halokinetic structures developed. However, similar problems may be caused in cases with a previously unknown large fault, producing an offset of the bedded salt beds, that might be close by a facility, potentially intersecting or impacting on the cavern walls. In several of the other incidents, where no release occurred, the shape of the cavity has changed over time due to the operating technique employed at those particular sites. Had operators been monitoring data such as the cavity volume, cavity pressure or stored gas volumes, these situations may not have occurred. Adherence to the European Standard [BSI, 1998c] would require a facility operator to monitor and record these data.”
Please take special note of Page 8 Section 2.2.
We can even go back much further, to
Although LDNR and Conservation have stated this was Oxy #1, it is most certainly not, for Oxy #3 is the westernmost cavern on the Napoleonville Salt Dome since 1982 until it’s breach out in August 2012.
Now that it has been firmly established that Louisiana State Dept. of Conservation, Texas Brine, Occidental Chemical, and Sandia all knew caverns were mined too closely to the Salt Edge, thereby having insufficient salt buffers, and that no prevarications can change the simple fact that every one of the entities named above are all members of the Solution Mining Research Institute, and that these and many more papers were required reading, then we are left with only one conclusion. The breach out of Oxy #3 was the culmination of Willful Negligence, and a total disregard for the Public Safety. These ‘Officials’ and Corporations and LLC’s participated in the wanton destruction of the geology and ecology of a very large region of Assumption Parish, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law after a complete investigation….one that cannot be conducted by the very State Authorities that are herein named, so it must be a Federal Investigation into corruption, conspiracy, cover-ups, and illegal business practices.
Again, the only person to have actually performed their job and raise the alarm was Mr. Mark Cartwright, President of United Brine, when in his letter of January 21, 2011, when he stated;
Instead LDNR, Conservation, did not pay heed to the warning, and ordered Oxy Geismar #3 Plugged and Abandoned in the full knowledge that this was dangerous in the extreme, under these circumstances. Official’s are as much, if not more responsible for this disaster, as is Texas Brine/Oxy, for they were in a position to know better.
Yet, this isn’t the worst of it….because much worse seems to be taking place. Remember the shattered fault block that has caused all the seismic activity? Unfortunately, it is setting off a natural process, that if left on it’s own would not have occurred for another thousand years or more, yet set in motion by Oxy and Texas Brine’s unbridled greed. I will allow those more studied than I, to explain.
NEO-TECTONIC FRAMEWORK OF SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AND APPLICATIONS TO COASTAL RESTORATION
“The relationship between regional faults and salt domes appears to play a role in activation of faults. The buoyant salt maintains its vertical position along the cracks.
Differential movement between the low-density salt and down-building of overlying and adjacent sedimentary deposits appears to have a wedging (space creating) effect on the faults, which may initiate brine water and gas movement up fault planes. The water and gas in turn may lubricate the fault plane surfaces and cause instability along fault segments. Brine and gas may also cause vegetation changes at the surface and indicate areas of active or potential movement.
Localized natural and anthropomorphic events that may trigger fault movement include flood and storm water loading, compaction, dewatering and fluid withdrawal. Removal of oil, gas and produced water may cause localized subsidence and fault movement (White and Tremblay 1995, White and Morton 1997, Morton etal. 2002). Compaction, consolidation, and diagenesis of Holocene sediments also contribute to the overall subsidence rate.
Adjustments to vertical changes resulting from these processes appear along fault lines.”
This is what the State and Texas Brine/Occidental have created artificially. If you want to know what happens next….all you need to do is read the observations in this one White Paper. (Excerpt Page 2-15)
“Surface effects of fault movement have occurred, and in some instances appear to be continuing, along other fault zones (e.g., Penchant, Lake Hatch, Lake Salvador, Thibodaux, Lac des Allemandes, and Frenier Fault
Zones) north of the Golden Meadow Zone.” (Excerpt Page 2-7)
Intensive study should be done immediately to find the nearest Regional Fault leading away from the Napoleonville Salt Dome heading west and even to the south east, for there is little doubt that the localized fault set off by the unconscionable actions of Texas Brine and the State Govt., is now branching out and seeking a path of least resistance to the regional fault closest to it. If that is allowed to happen then rapid subsidence is very possible in the days and months ahead.
In light of the voluminous amount of information, and in an abundance of caution, the Parish President should order a ‘FORCED EVACUATION’ of Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou.
END OF PART 1