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Louisiana Sinkhole: From the Frying Pan into the Fire

I am itching to explain the findings of the new geo-technical data that Don Marlin has so graciously provided, as well as many other findings, but at this time, another more pressing matter must be addressed for the sake of the residents who actually heeded the ‘Mandatory Evacuation’ and vacated the area over 13 months ago.

In the following video, a question is asked by Mr. Mike Schaff, and it is a most urgent and pressing question.

Mr. Schaff: “Sir, one of the stipulations for it to be safe for the evacuation to be called off, was that; the sinkhole to be stabilized, the caverns to be stabilized, and the gas within the aquifer was to be at, or below hydrostatic pressure. What I am hearing tonight is that these stipulations will change. Am I correct?”

Speaker: “That is what is being presented by these scientists, some of which are Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission, and the Blue Ribbon Commission has been tasked to make that offer, or to make that call. So they have found something with that MiPht, and, and, and all the other tests, that says there is a lot of gas at the shallower depths, but ultimately the BRC are going to be looking very closely at the results of this effort, and then they will convene and have the responsibility to make that call.”

(Click ‘PLAY’ and then click on the top left corner, left of ‘Playlist’ and select Video #8. Start at the beginning of this Part 8 video to hear the exchange)

Now for those that haven’t followed this strange and disconcerting development, allow me to explain. Scientist’s have come up with the brilliant ‘Old’ idea of using a dual phase vapor extraction system (DPVE) to de-water the areas surrounding the Bayou Corne subdivision, and thus, they believe will relieve the methane pressures by intercepting the gas at the 20-30 ft. level underneath the whole entire neighborhood, using only four of these monstrous dinosaurs, which is normally used to clean up soils that have been contaminated by ruptured gas or petroleum tanks buried under the ground. Here is a picture of just one of these monstrosities:

Dual Phase Vapor Extraction Monster (1)

(Photo courtesy of The Advocate)

http://theadvocate.com/home/7049897-125/vacuum-system-alleviates-methane-buildup

(ASIDE: How would you like to live next to one of these four proposed DPVE pumps and their backup generators running 24/7?)

I will shortly go into why this system is doomed to fail, but the harder question is one of the sudden shift in policy, especially since not ten minutes prior to these statements, Dr. Gary Hecox stated that this will not be over until the gas has been emptied from the MRAA (aquifer).

Essentially, they are hoping this system will work to make it safe to return to the neighborhood for those who have to tend to their evacuated properties for maintenance, and for those remaining there, to feel somewhat safer. In that regard, I applaud their efforts. However, it does not truly affect the situation that gave rise to the Mandatory Evacuation in the first place.

The DPVE does not affect but a small area of concentration, hence the reason four of these extraction units must be strategically situated around the neighborhood, and does nothing to alleviate the other methane and VOC’s escaping all around the subdivision and it’s attending swamps. Also, and unless scientist’s have devised a way to create a DPVE 30 acres long and 30 acres wide to sit over the area of the sinkhole, then there shall be no alleviation of the copious amounts of raw hydrocarbons, gases, and other materials being emitted by the sinkhole mining disaster proper.

None of this low technology addresses the subsidence zone that is expressing itself west of the mining disaster and sinkhole either. The subsidence area is progressing at it’s own pace and is unstoppable. As the ground subsides, ever increasing water levels are noted, and will always follow the subsidence, whether it is one foot or ten makes no difference if your house is under water. No plans to address this have been even considered the last thirteen months.

Actually, this seems to be another shot-in-the-dark experiment to see if it has any effect whatsoever on the neighborhood, so that the benchmarks can be changed by the Blue Ribbon Commission from a stable state system of hydrostatic pressure of the methane gas within the aquifer, to one of shallow area gas extraction, in order to allow the Mandatory Evacuation to be cancelled, and to sound the ‘All Clear’ for residents to return to their homes and say they are safe.

This is a fairy tale. Considering the voluminous amounts of evidence of the Blue Ribbon Commission and their admittedly incestous ties not only to the Solution Mining industry, but specifically of their career-making, or ending connections to the Texas Brine co-founded Solution Mining Research Institute, as proven in an earlier article;

Louisiana Sinkhole: SMRI and Blue Ribbon Commission’s Conflicts of Interest

then it would be the height of stupidity for these very Commission members to weigh in on a very unproven technology contained within the parameters of this poorly understood geology, and seriously adverse environmental conditions, to even entertain the notion of recommending the lifting of the ‘Mandatory Evacuation’ without years of study to back up those claims.

To illustrate the almost insurmountable difficulties in establishing that no gases of any kind are escaping the DPVE’s range of operations, then let’s look at what the advantages and disadvantages of the dual phase vapor extraction methods are:

Advantages:

  • Proven performance over a wide range of conditions. Requires no downhole pumps, but is flexible enough to allow their use if necessary.
  • Minimal disturbance to site operations; can be used under buildings without excavation.
  • Short treatment times (usually 6 months to 2 years under optimal conditions).
  • Substantially increases groundwater extraction rates.
  • Can be applied at sites with free product, and can be combined with other technologies.
  • Can reduce the cost of groundwater treatment through air stripping within the vacuum extraction tube.

Disadvantages:

  • Single-pump systems are expensive to implement at sites with medium to high-permeability soils, and effectiveness. Dual-pump systems may not be effective in low permeability soils.
  • Difficult to apply to sites where the water table fluctuates unless water table depression pumps are employed.
  • Treatment may be expensive for extracted vapors and for oil-water separation.
  • Large volume of extracted groundwater may require treatment.
  • Requires specialized equipment with sophisticated control capability.
  • Requires complex monitoring and control during operations.

Courtesy of the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/oust/cat/dualphas.htm

Although I share the concerns of many of the Evacuees, and of those not evacuated, then I say to please pay attention and evaluate every utterance of the Blue Ribbon Commission and to seriously critisize any communications coming from their end, but please remember, that ultimately, the decision is not up to the Governor, the BRC, or anyone else, other than as John Beaudreaux stated, and that the final decision is up to the OEP, and in the end to the Parish President Marty Triche, whom have all publicly stated that if they feel it is not safe to lift the Mandatory Evacuation Zone, then they are prepared and willing to face down all comers in court to ensure the safety of the public, and not just the residents by themselves.

This man made mining disaster has put into consideration the ultimate fate of Hwy. 70, subsidence rates in other areas of the Parish, (such as the continually sinking roadway on Hwy. 69, just before it intersects with Hwy. 70), and the motoring public that uses this major artery between Morgan City and Baton Rouge. Since this will most likely continue on for years, and please remember that every time a Scientist has opened his mouth with a prediction thus far, that Mother Nature has proven how very little they truly understand about the nature of this mining disaster that has stolen the very lives of so many people in the region.

So, until that time comes, I do not feel that it is very likely that ANYONE will call for the Order of Mandatory Evacuation to be lifted, and most especially not because of an Electrolux solution that amounts to another untried experiment within the bayous of Bayou Corne.

electrolux

Photo courtesy FlyingCuttleFish of the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle

Again, I may be wrong, and the BRC will turn on the residents like rabid dogs, but there are way too many other considerations on the line that prevent such a proclamation to even be uttered in the coming year, and would still do nothing to mitigate the damages already suffered over the last 13 months, and will make absolutely no difference in the ongoing court cases. Legally, the damage has been done, and no mitigation measures on earth can restore the damages of the last 13 and a half months.

Louisiana Sinkhole: WHO KNEW? EVERYONE! EXCEPT THE VICTIMS!

sh6

“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.”

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr671.pdf

Please take special note of Page 8 Section 2.2.

We can even go back much further, to

acavernsketch1997a

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;

TXBRDNRII

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)

Excerpt #2:
“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)

http://www.coastalenv.com/NEO-TECTONIC_FRAMEWORK.pdf

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

GeologyPreSinkhole

http://tinyurl.com/aurdts2

Louisiana Sinkhole: Dramatic Footage of Collapsing Sinkhole

Another Slough In from 6:30 AM 8/22/2013

(The Police Jury is now using playlists, so Fast Forward to the end, and the next will begin. The dramatic Slough In is currently three vids deep)

For a better understanding of how this monster began and the controversy surrounding it, please visit: https://freedomrox.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/louisiana-sinkhole-jindals-folly/

and

https://freedomrox.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/louisiana-sinkhole-comedy-of-errors-or-intentional-gamble/

Louisiana Sinkhole: SMRI and Blue Ribbon Commission’s Conflicts of Interest

aug13_bermfail

SMRI and Blue Ribbon Commission’s Conflicts of Interest.

 by: Freedomrox

As much as the Corporate Program known as “Responsible Care” is plastered on the Water Tower near Bayou Corne, and is a global initiative for every Corporate Member at the Napoleonville Salt Dome, but is not associated with Texas Brine in any way, except for the fact they are members along with every Company that does business on the Dome, yet is often misunderstood as being Texas Brine’s motto. Of course, as we’ve seen responsible care is the last thing to be associated with Texas Brine, LLC.

That is not the case with the Solution Mining Research Institute, which was actually Co-Founded by Texas Brine.  

Yet again, almost every single Company at the Dome is a Member, as is many of the Service Companies, and Support Services are shown to be Members of the Solution Mining Research Institute. It seems to be a prerequisite to doing business there.

 What is much more disturbing is the fact that nearly half of the Members of the Governor Bobby Jindal’s appointed Blue Ribbon Commission are also Members of the Solution Mining Research Institute, (SMRI), or closely affiliated. These incestuous relationships call into question the objectivity of such a Commission whose lion’s share of it’s members owe allegiance to a Texas Brine co-founded Solution Mining Research Institute, and yet one that owes no allegiance at all to the people of Grand Bayou/Bayou Corne. 

This is shameful and disingenuous at best, but, of course, that is only one man’s opinion.

At the website of the Institute, are some disturbing admissions, such as;

The Solution Mining Research Institute (SMRI) is interested in the production of salt brine and the utilization of the resulting caverns for the storage of oil, gas, chemicals, compressed air and waste” (sic)

as well as;

SMRI has the following purposes:

  1. Sponsor and engage in research related to solution mining, cavern storage/utilization, and environmental effects thereof.
  2. Present papers of current interest to the industry relative to solution mining and cavern utilization. For information on presenting papers at or attending our next conference, see ‘CONFERENCES section.
  3. Serve as a technology center and representative for the industry.
  4. Assist in the promulgation of governmental regulations and laws affecting the solution mining industry.”

Number 4 will become very disturbing, very quickly as you shall soon see.

Now, let’s take a look at the Blue Ribbon Commission Members:

Pierre Berest, Ph.D., Research Director at France’s Ecole Polytechnique, member of French Commission for Underground Storage Safety, former president of the Solution Mining Research Institute.

James Linn, Ph.D., Geotechnical consultant, former president of Solution Mining Research Institute, former Underground Storage Technology Manager for Sandia National Laboratories.

John Voigt, Executive Director of Solution Mining Research Institute, President of Voigt Mining and Geotechnical, specializing in salt geology and brine/water inflow evaluation.

Doesn’t look too good so far, does it, but not too damning, until we get to the other members, that is. Please keep this one fact in mind when you see the following names, attached to Sandia National Laboratories, and CB&I, (formerly Shaw Group) for they are members of the Solution Mining Research Institute.

David Borns, Ph.D., Geotechnology and Engineering Program Manager for Sandia National Laboratories, research focused on subsurface monitoring for environmental applications, risk assessments and simulations.

Gary Hecox, Ph.D., Senior Hydrogeologist and GIS Analyst with CB&I, technical lead for CB&I Bayou Corne response team.

Blayne Hartman, Ph.D., Geochemist with Hartman Environmental Geoscience, contributor to regulatory guidance documents on vapor intrusion for EPA and several state agencies.

Now I include Mr. Hartman because of his work with the EPA, which….is a member of the Solution Mining Research Institute. This is not a typo; the Environmental Protection Agency is a member of SMRI.

As for the rest of the Commission, I have no opinion, and not casting aspersions upon any of the members of the Blue Ribbon Commission or their character, nor integrity. However it is apparent that conflicts of interests do arise, especially in light of the information as listed above, and becomes highly sensitive where the Blue Ribbon Commission is concerned, since they have been charged with public safety, and is of immediate concern for the residents, as stated in the Blue Ribbon Commission’s Mission Statement;

“To provide benchmarks for the recommendations, the commission will address at least two key factors, including appropriate conditions to determine sustained public safety and the data needed to assess those conditions. The commission will make recommendations on what the safety benchmarks should be and on when they have been sufficiently met.”

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&aid=1005

Now for information that has absolutely stunned me, and still cannot quite believe, but here it is in black and white and a possible reason why the State seems to be squarely upon the side of industry, especially in light of #3 and #4 of SMRI’s Mission Statement:

Assist in the promulgation of governmental regulations and laws affecting the solution mining industry.”

An alarming statement considering a member of the Solution Mining Institute is:

Louisiana Office of Conservation

Class R Member

Mr. Joseph S. Ball, Jr.

Post Office Box 94275

Baton Rouge, 70804-9275, LA

United States

+1 225 342 5569

Sources:

MEMBERS OF THE BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&aid=1005

MEMBERS OF THE SOLUTION MINING RESEARCH INSTITUTE

http://solutionmining.org/assets/files/120213%20member%20companies%20xls(1).pdf

I leave it to the People affected by this disaster to make their own minds up as to the information contained above. I am merely the researcher and the messenger.

Personally I have grave reservations over any Texas Brine co-founded Solution Mining Research Institute’s abilities to affect the decisions of the Blue Ribbon Commission as well as Louisiana State Government, when it’s members include the key elements of the State and Federal governments that are charged with regulation and safety of the people of the State of Louisiana and beyond.

Now we can understand why all common sense and restrictive bills upon solution mining fall by the wayside. My heart also goes out to the people of Jefferson Island and Lake Peigneur, for AGL Resources is also a member of this very powerful and politically influential Solution Mining Research Institute

 

Louisiana Sinkhole: Jindal’s Folly

PAD3 Stinkhole

Today, May 20, 2013, marked a milestone in Louisiana history, whether anyone knows it or not. Governor Bobby Jindal visited the people of Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou and gave the most hypocritical speech that I have heard in a very long time. Of course, in the world of politics, this is seemingly an everyday occurrence, yet this one took the cake, so to speak.

After listening to Jindal, in spite of his political bluster, stood at the podium and admitted that there was nothing they could do about Texas Brine LLC’s failure to live up to it’s promises and deadlines concerning resident buyouts, other than to issue empty threats about permits. If Jindal really was serious, then he would authorize an official investigation into Texas Brine’s business practices and the many laws they have broken throughout the years…and there have been many!

Of course this will never happen, because then it would implicate Dept. of Conservation, LDNR, LDEQ, and most especially one of the more powerful men in the State, James Welsh, as well as Jindal’s own administration, which included Scott Angelle, the former head of LDNR, who skipped town five (5) days after the initial cave-in August 3rd, 2012.

The “Go To Patsy”, that was forced to follow Scott Angelle; Mr. Steven Chustz, has still not provided an answer as to where the location of 50 salt cavern’s worth of ‘radioactive scale’ for the last 50 years has disappeared to, nor it’s disposition. Also, no word has come from the Senate Committee that asked Mr. Chustz to report on the 1991-1994 cavern injections, or upon the Solka Floc slurry system both LDEQ and LDNR illegally signed off onto. The point is not whether radioactive materials were actually injected, or burned, or simply dumped in a landfill, (which would be a separate crime all upon it’s own), but the fact that the laws of the time were broken and between Louisiana Government Agencies, and Private Companies, constituting Conspiracy, ongoing cover ups, and RICO violations.

https://freedomrox.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/louisiana-sinkhole-state-documentation-reveals-that-radioactive-materials-were-injected-into-five-additional-napoleonville-salt-dome-caverns/

Remember please the dishonest way that Texas Brine, LLC has acted since this disaster first began, as evidenced by Texas Brine LLC’s claim that earth tremors caused the failure of its salt cavern,

 http://theadvocate.com/home/3985701-125/parish-officials-question-findings-by

Parish Officials and Stephen Chustz fired back at Texas Brine’s silly statements, amid a slough-in that opened the caved in sinkhole even further. Texas Brine’s response was that the event never took place.

http://www.texasbrine.com/response/2012-10-15_TBC-Update.pdf

http://theadvocate.com/news/ascension/4300359-123/parish-texas-brine-continue-size

Finally after repeated threats and missing several deadlines, Texas Brine states they will play ball and follow the Directives, and finally sink their first vent well in November, three months after the fact.

http://theadvocate.com/news/ascension/4137075-123/brine-firm-to-comply-with

Conservation brings in Shaw, (now CB&I), which is a partner of Texas Brine’s in the Texas Brine co-founded ‘Solution Mining Institute’, as is;

Sandia National Laboratories

Class B

Mr. David J. Borns

Dept. 6113 – MS 0706 P.O. Box 5800

Albuquerque, 87185-0706, NM

United States

+1 (505) 844-7333.

Does that ring a bell? Isn’t Mr. Borns on the Blue Ribbon Commission? Isn’t Dr. Gary Hecox of CB&I? As is Pierre Berest, Ph.D, James Linn, Ph.D., Geotechnical consultant, former president of Solution Mining Research Institute, and John Voigt, Executive Director of Solution Mining Research Institute. Seems a conflict of interest here. SOCON, and Baker Hughes are all members as well. Dow is a member as well as Sabine Storage & Operations, Inc. from Houston, TX. This will be important in a moment.

http://solutionmining.org/assets/files/120213%20member%20companies%20xls(1).pdf

The point of this article is not just about the incestuous relationships between all operators on the Dome, or the companies that service them, although it is one helluva point all on its own, nor is the point that the LDNR, Conservation, and LDEQ, that permitted, encouraged, and helped cover up the problems Texas Brine knew it had already caused, and all involved covered that fact up; are now working in tandem to fix the cover-up. No, my point has nothing to do with the ‘Foxes guarding the Henhouse’, but maybe it should be.

The point is that from the very start of this intentional gamble to abandon a known failed salt cavern laying outside the salt, and the naked greed it took to perform a mill out above this already known failure, causing this whole imbroglio to begin with, Texas Brine LLC has had pretty much free reign to do as they please with the lives of the people they have employed, used, abused, and helped poison for the last ten months. No Government State Agency has brought them to heel, nor actually held them accountable, for the reasons stated above. Nor will they. Ever.

The real point is that despite Governor Bobby Jindal’s threats and blustering, will not mean a whit in the policy making processes of the Insurance Companies resistance to a precedent-setting and historical decision. What decision, you may ask? The one of paying off the victims of a disaster to the tune of possibly half a billion dollars, before liability has been set forth by a court of competent jurisdiction. That is the one point that cannot be ignored, and I have noticed it being the center of a buzz, and is constantly bandied about on nearly every Insurance blog on the net in the last year.

Think about it; just how much of your daily life is controlled by Insurance Companies? Which industry successfully lobbied for every single person to be forced to carry Auto Insurance, or be fined? Which industry will not even allow a bank loan to issue for your own home, unless you carry homeowner’s insurance? Cargo Insurance, etc, etc., ad nauseam?

If Governor Bobby Jindal was truly serious about helping the people of Grand Bayou/Bayou Corne, then I find myself reluctantly agreeing with Mr. John Achee Jr.’s stance of the Governor pleading for federal assistance to come in and take over this truly un-natural disaster. I know this is not popular with the whole community, and a healthy distrust of the Federal Government, (especially in light of the recent tyrannical scandals of late), is entirely understandable, but please allow me to explain.

With Federal Assistance, the Army Corps of Engineers and their unlimited resources would come into play, as well as the National Disaster Relief Fund, which would place the full resources of the federal government, and State Agencies to the task of finding a true mitigation of this ongoing, slow-motion disaster. Also, buyouts would be handled with Federal and State funds, and it would then be the responsibility of the Feds and the State to sue Texas Brine and Occidental Chemical for reparations, and the burden not be laid at the feet of the resident’s and unintentional victims to recover in long drawn out court battles that may last 10-15 year; which is where this seems to be heading.

Those not wanting to leave should stay in the Mandatory Evacuation Zone and be prepared to suffer any of the consequences of that decision, but those that want to move out of the way of this slow motion train wreck of enormous proportions should be compensated, and allowed to move on with their lives.

I have not even delved into the probable forthcoming victim’s of Pierre Part as the methane has migrated to the western edges of the MRAA aquifer, and damages already being reported in that area. LDNR, LDEQ, and Conservation have completely ignored all complaints and reports, many times with outright lies and obfuscation. This cannot be allowed to go on, and it won’t. More on that in an upcoming article.

I state that if something is not done very soon in respects to the long-suffering victim’s, that a clarion call should be raised that the Governor be impeached, and charges brought against all State Agencies, as well as the Federal Government, for not responding to a National Emergency regarding the Nation’s Energy Supply, and refusing to protect National Security in these regards.

http://www.eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/natural_gas/analysis_publications/ngpipeline/southeast.html

Whether anyone truly grasps the scope and scale of how important this region is to the National Interests and Security is irrelevant, for the State and Federal Government already know and have failed the People of Louisiana, and the People of America, in their lackadaisical response to this highly sensitive area of our energy supplies, as well as ignoring the environmental stability and well-being of a major watershed and wildlife habitat.

The State Agencies involved should be restrained from issuing any further drilling permits, [four (4) in the last ten months for the north, south, and east sides of a water-infiltrated, and fractured Napoleonville Salt Dome], and a permanent moratorium on the design and engineering of any new Solution Mined Caverns anywhere on the Dome should be a part of the Orders and Directives, while allowing the ones already in operation to remain, under close scrutiny. No one is suggesting Corporations should abandon the Dome, (although Gulf South fled it’s Magnolia Facility, and Chevron is in limbo), but until the extent of the damages, and infiltration to the Salt Dome are honestly assessed, then it is not too much to ask that no more caverns should be created until answers are known.

Which brings me to my last point, and one that should outrage each and every one of you, and while still there, should fight with every ounce of energy at your disposal, and that is the recent Public Notice that appeared in the Bayou Journal by Sabine Storage & Operations, Inc. from Houston, TX, and on behalf of Dow Hydrocarbons Resources Inc. All contacts, phone numbers, and mailing addresses are included in this notice, and if you agree, should definitely make your voices heard, and stop this irresponsible and hazardous activity.

DOW LEGAL NOTICE

Just on the off chance no one actually clicks the link above, then please understand that it contains a Public Notice that Sabine, and Dow intend to solution mine another additional cavern to the South East Side of the Napoleonville Salt Dome nearest Napoleonville, La.

 (More may be added to this post as available, and special thanks to the local, who sent me the Bayou Journal notice, and Kenny Simoneaux as well.)

Louisiana Sinkhole: Questions And Answers, And?

(Thanks go out to the Assumption Parish Police Jury for today’s flyover video)

I would like to apologize for taking so long to publish any updates or other news regarding the ‘Great Louisiana Sinkhole’. I have been very busy attempting to help several residents of Bayou Corne and the surrounding areas with various problems, and one of which is another complete article, but I have not received permission to print as of yet.

Before I delve into all of the events surrounding the cave in, or ‘sinkhole’, as you will, I would first like to share with you a series of questions that were submitted to be answered by Dr. Gary Hecox, CB&I, Tetra Tech, etc. and Texas Brine. The updates are very important and relevant, but so were these questions, and since Mr. Sonny Cranch took it upon himself to answer these all by his lonesome; then I figured I should share that first, with commentary. (Sonny Cranch’s answers are in italics, and Author’s commentary in bold type, and all blue enhanced words are links.)

QUESTIONS FOR DR. GARY HECOX and TEXAS BRINE

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 Question 1: Is Oxy Geismar #2 still being mined?

Sonny Cranch Answer 1. “OG# 2 is still being mined.”

 Question 2: If so, then where is the freshwater coming from, since the aquifer is compromised with hydrocarbons and gas?

Sonny Cranch Answer 2. “The production water is regularly monitored and has not been found to contain any hydrocarbons.”

(COMMENTARY: Water Well Samples showing hydrocarbons for Sept. and Nov. of 2012, (link provided below). Did all those isobutanes and pentanes magically disappear? Not according to Dr. Gary Hecox, whom in every presentation has stressed that oil was found to be laying at the bottom of the aquifer, methane gas inundating the top, and small blips of hydrogen sulfide reside in-between within the water-bearing sands. Also, if it was so safe, then why has Water Well #3 remained ‘Locked Out’?)

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=961

Question 3: If not, then why were 42,152 barrels (1.77 million gallons) of brine flowed into Oxy #2 and reported on the 25th? Is this for stabilization, or extraction? (I believe the latter, but brine?). Afterwards LDNR reported that Oxy #2 only had a 73 psi Tubing pressure and a 23 Casing pressure? Instead of pressuring up, it pressured down, and with hardly any resistance at all along the casing, Why? (Aside: This indicates the Cavern was full, and at very low pressures, as the tubing or annulus pressure must be higher than the casing pressure for any well to produce.)

 Sonny Cranch Answer 3. “Not sure what you’re asking.  We did remove brine from OXY 3A and pumped it into # 2 to re-send it out as brine, since there is no connection from Oxy 3A to the brine pipeline.”

Question 4: Has there been a Blow Out Preventer installed on Oxy-Geismar #1 or #3A? Why? Is Oxy 1 still in service? Dr. Hecox reported gas in the Cavern. Why would gas be in the casing or cavern?

Sonny Cranch Answer 4. “Blowout preventers were used on both wells. On OXY 3 A during the tagging operation and on Oxy 1 during the effort to install a geophysical sensor.”

(COMMENTARY: “Any well that is connected to a formation where
gas, oil or salt water exists under pressure may blow out control if the pressure is sufficient to raise the fluid in the well to the surface ” Problems with Oxy Geismar #1 and #2 are well known and documented below. Blow Out Preventers remain on the Wells, but latest reports are that a wellhead nearby Oxy 3A did blow out on May 10, 2013, according to information supplied from several local sources. It is not clear at this time if it was actually 3A, or a BC well, or an ORW well, or even an MRAA well, since they have one of each at the Oxy-Taft #9 Well Pad. What is clear is that Texas Brine contractors hit a ‘gas pocket’, and experienced a ‘kickback’, or blow out, if you will.

“Oxy 3, ¼” bubbling from wellhead”

Oxy 2 Catch Basin bubbling first noticed January 21st, 2013

 (Go to 3 minutes of the video above to hear Dr. Hecox’s statement. Regarding the Oxy 1 seismic array; “It turned out that because of gas and noise, it was not viable.”)

Sonny Cranch did not Answer… as to why gas would be in Oxy Geismar #1, although it has to be vented, sometimes twice a day since before the sinkhole first appeared, and a Blow Out Preventer, (BOP), installed before the removal of the seismic array.

Nor will anyone state what gas was involved. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination here to understand which gas though. Question most likely is; where exactly is the fracture in Oxy #1?

 Question 5. Is it true that just on the East Side of Grand Bayou, on Occidental property, that a six foot section of brine pipeline had to be replaced because of a stress induced rip on the underside of the line? Doesn’t this indicate subsidence? What are you doing to address this?

Sonny Cranch 5. “You’ll have to check with the pipeline operator about that issue.  We have nothing to do with that.”

(COMMENTARY: So subsidence anywhere else that could affect the stability of any of Texas Brine or Occidental’s brine wells/caverns is of no concern to Sonny Cranch or Texas Brine, nor does the status of any brine pipelines? Considering Texas Brine is the Operator of several wells just north of Occidental’s Brine Wells on the East Side of Grand Bayou, and the Oxy-Taft Wells #9 and 10 are serviced by PB Energy for Occidental next to Oxy Geismar 1, 2, 3A, and with brine wells criss-crossing each others, does not compute, or did you just miss the memo? Mr. Cranch does not seem to actually understand Directive 6, to wit; “TBC understands Directive 6, which directs TBC to immediately report the results (final and preliminary) of any tests, logs samples or data collection performed on Well 3A, the cavern, other wells, facilities or site locations that indicate a change in any previously known conditions related to the investigation of the subsidence or natural gas bubbling events, and continue to report any such results. The Daily Action Summary and the Results related to this Directive can be found in Attachment section of this report.)

Question 6. Why is Crosstex being allowed to store so much product in Cavern 2? Butane was ordered out of the cavern, and was accomplished, then propane put back into it at odd times, and now a mixture of butane and propane, or LPG is now reported to be stored in Crosstex Cavern 2 to the tune of 84,375 barrels (3,543,750  gallons) of LPG mix, and highly explosive if a casing ruptures due to seismic activity. Shades of 2003 Dow/Gulf South Incident?

Does this not seem to be highly irresponsible and a violation of the Directive ordering all butane out of Cavern 2?

2-1-13 – A sample of a small bubble location was taken with Shaw to determine if the site is swamp gas or not.” Crosstex Daily Reports

The results have never been released to date, and is unknown if a fracture exists on Crosstex Property, and if this was the impetus of their recent court action against Texas Brine.

Sonny Cranch Answer 6. “Crosstex is not storing any gas products in any of Texas Brine’s caverns, nor is anyone else!  You’ll have to direct those questions to Crosstex.”

(Commentary: Mr. Cranch seems to forget these questions were directed at Dr. Hecox and Texas Brine, and never mentioned Texas Brine caverns, but Crosstex Cavern #2, but seems really touchy in his response…hmmmm. Curiouser and Curiousor.)

Question 7: Why are there no vent wells over the aquifer to the east of the sinkhole? (Seems this is finally in the works, but to be placed where?)

Sonny Cranch Answer 7. “Well ORW 27 was installed east of Grand Bayou and no gas found during well logging. The well has been reworked in an effort to develop gas. No gas is currently present in ORW27. ORW 35 was installed south of ORW 27 and will be logged Friday May 3.”

(Commentary: This seems partially true, if Mr. Cranch doesn’t consider carbon monoxide as a gas, as reported from ORW 27, but as far as methane goes…understood. What I do not understand is if there is no gas to be relieved in the aquifer east of the sinkhole, then why would Texas Brine spend all that money to put in another well just south of ORW 27? He is one confusing mouthpiece. to be sure.)

Question 8: Since Texas Brine stated that no other source exists for methane and that Hooker Oil Well #1 formation is depleted, then how do you explain ORW 32 blowing it’s top and the whole casing coming 140 ft. out of the ground?

Sonny Cranch Answer to 8. “As for your other question about an event at one of the vent wells north of Hwy 70 (can’t remember the # you cited), there has been no such event.  You might want to check your source.”

(COMMENTARY: Mr. Cranch, the Well # is 32, Observation/Relief Well # 32. You seem to remember all Well #’s so far, but since these were written questions, then taking a moment to re-read it does not seem to be too much of an imposition. Several Residents were passing by on Hwy. 70 when ORW 32 popped it’s top and sailed 50 ft. into the swamp and the casing, which was sunken 160′ below ground, came rising up from the ground. It is amazing to me, that you know nothing about it, since several Tetra Tech employees were watching the spectacle as well.

I also find it very interesting that in my question above, never once did I state the location of the well, but, I do thank you for the confirmation… because yes, it was North of Hwy. 70. (In other words, thanks for the slip up, sir. No one believes you, and thanks for demonstrating why.)

These questions were submitted in writing at the last Resident’s Update meeting and answers were received from Sonny Cranch on May 3rd. Since that time two more questions were added, but to date Dr. Hecox has not been allowed to respond to these questions at all, and since Dr. Hecox immediately handed the questions over to Patrick Courreges, then it is entirely possible he has never seen any of the above questions.

Two Additional Questions from the Resident’s and Victims of Texas Brine’s irresponsible judgments.

 Question 9: How can Texas Brine state that the ‘Big Hum’ is responsible via Hooker Oil Well #1, when all lab tests have shown that the samples in the sinkhole do not match the ‘Big Hum’?

 Question 10: How can a NW/SE facing 4,000 image section of a 1.6 million image 3D prove anything? Only a direct West Facing view looking towards the East, could possibly show any voids, or even cavern outlines, since a brine filled cavity is readily visible on any seismic survey. From the angles shown by the Texas Brine report…that is impossible.

Now, that was the end of our question and answer portion of this article. Now it is time for a few answers to burning questions. One of the most asked questions recently is how on earth Texas Brine could have allowed the older Western Berm to breach out, after they had touted that it would last for 20+ years? Simple, they did so intentionally. What?, you may be asking? I do believe this to be intentional, or a happy circumstance for Texas Brine, at the very least. Allow me to demonstrate.

Despite Sonny Cranch’s assurances above that the MRAA Water Wells are free of any contamination from hydrocarbons, all DEQ reports, and Dr. Gary Hecox claim otherwise, and is bourne out by the fact that Oxy Geismar Water Well #3 has been and has stayed in ‘locked out’ status, except possibly on days when LDNR does not even bother to submit a report. Don’t believe that statement?

OK, find May 7th report from LDNR, I dare ya. Now this brings us full circle to the real question. If Texas Brine cannot use the MRAA aquifer for brine production, and Oxy 2 is still in operation, then where did the water come from to mine the Oxy 2 cavern?

LDNR reports suggests the answer, and above Sonny Cranch informs us of where these ‘produced waters’ are coming from.

Significant drop in water level within berm from last visit (April 8th). Inside of berm is approximayel 2-3′ lower than outside berm. (sic)

“Western portion of Pad 3 continues to slide/slump into sinkhole; approximately 2.5′ elevation drop from stable land to subsided portion of Pad 3.” 4/28/2013

The last part of that report was added just to allow you to know the horrific conditions on the east side of the sinkhole and how much they have deteriorated in the last 3 months. Well Pad 3 is shot, so now a new pad has been built at and close to Oxy 2 and behind the old Oxy 3 cavern to drill another 1000 ft. Geophone well in the salt to replace the seismic array that was in Oxy 1 before gas and noise forced it’s removal.

Back to the topic at hand, and that is where is the ‘production waters’ for Oxy 2 coming from? Sonny Cranch claims it is coming from the remains of Cavern 3 that collapsed, and only has 105 ft. left until completely full. I have done the math, and if even some brine was left over, which is highly doubtful since much of the brine contained within the failed salt cavern; supposedly emerged near the surface of the sinkhole and is the cause of the high levels of salinity three times the amount of salt contained in sea water below 75 ft. in the sinkhole itself.

So, what is the answer? According to Occam’s Razor, “When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Taking this into account as well as a near three foot drop in the sinkhole Lake’s waters as reported by LDNR within 20 days, then most likely Texas Brine has a direct communication between the Lake Oxy above, and Oxy Geismar #3A well, which they recently spent thousands of dollars to ‘work over’ and reopen for the alleged purpose of ‘tagging the bottom’ of the failed #3 cavern. Sonny Cranch himself stated above, “We did remove brine from OXY 3A and pumped it into # 2 to re-send it out as brine, since there is no connection from Oxy 3A to the brine pipeline.

It seems obvious to me, that a simple pipe to connect Oxy 3A to the wellhead and pipeline at Oxy 2 would have been easy to accomplish if that was truly the reason, and considering the very small space left in the failed OG Cavern #3, infiltrated by oil, gas and now brine, could not possibly hold 1.77 million gallons of brine. You, dear reader, must be the ultimate judge, for I can only report my findings to you. My investigations have turned up another oddity concerning the source of the mysterious ‘production waters’. The transfer in question between Oxy 3A and Oxy 2 took place on the 22nd of April, and LDNR reports clearly show all Water Wells were ‘Locked In”.

Additionally, the North and South Berms were geo-matted, and clayed in and neither of them failed in any manner, yet the old western berm was left un-touched and even two 12″ inch pipes were installed on May 7, 2013, (Hold it! Isn’t that the day that LDNR failed to report?), near the corner of the west and south berm intersection for the express purpose of re-filling the sinkhole waters that had lost 3 feet of water in 20 days? Honestly, to me, Texas Brine’s intent seems clear.

That two days of flooding rains overwhelmed the old western berm is of no surprise to anyone, and fortuitous it seems for Texas Brine for obvious reasons. This was confirmed, at least to my satisfaction, by Texas Brine’s response by slave driving their workers in the middle of a lightning rich thunderstorm to repair the smaller breaches of the western berms, but halted work to repair the largest breach of 75 ft. and are allowing it to “equalize/stabilize” the bayou and sinkhole waters. This speaks volumes….of “Production Waters”, that is.

Texas Brine plans to allow the berm area to fill with water before repairing remaining breaches.

Much more later, for the story actually becomes even more bizarre over in Pierre Part, La.

Louisiana Sinkhole: As LEL Gas is Detected, Damages Rise

In a rare depature, this article is not going to focus purely on technical issues, athough a few will slip in. To date, Texas Brine claims no damages have occurred, and no injuries. I am writing today, to show this is not true, and to get the story straight from two of the homeowners in Bayou Corne.

Before we do though, allow me to remind you, dear reader, of Gary Hecox’s warning that the Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer now contains 50 million cubic feet of Methane gas, with an unknown amount still pouring into the aquifer.

This is a picture of the MRAA, which lies over the Napoleonville Salt Dome, Grand Bayou/Bayou Corne area all the way through half of Pierre Part, where it then meets the Chicot Aquifer. This is what is being filled and suspected of ‘uplifting’ the properties in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou.

http://map.ldeq.org/projects/images/misc/aquisys.jpg

A Tale of Two Homeowner’s in Bayou Corne, Louisiana

Gary Metrejean of Bayou Corne, returned to check on his property he has lived on, and in for 13 years, (prior to the sinkhole forming), last Thursday, (April 04, 2013) to find this shocking scene in his living room.

Gary 1

Gary2

According to Mr. Metrejean, “I come to check on my home and I see this! I was here when the tremors hit about three weeks ago, and I was here months ago when the tremors made this whole house shift, and it caused the roof to leak, so finally the water got my ceiling.” When asked whether he had reported the cracks to Texas Brine, he stated, “At every meeting.” To date, none from Texas Brine or their contractors have ever visited Mr. Metrejean’s home to assess the damages.

“It’s been hell living in a camper for eight months, while also watching my home of so long…just shook to the ground, it’s heartbreaking.” Mr. Metrejean stated, obviously very upset, as any homeowner would be.

Over on Sauce Picante Street, three homeowners allowed Texas Brine Contractors, Tetra Tech, to drill into the slab their homes sit upon and all three were found to have 100% of LEL, (Lower Explosive Level), gas concentrations.

One such home owner is Jennifer Gregoire, whose husband has lived in Bayou Corne for twelve years, with the last six years spent growing a new family, and who became another victim of the  ‘Great Louisiana Sinkhole’,  when they left their home due to a Mandatory Evacuation being put in place. Having two children, one six and the other five years old, the Gregoire’s chose to heed the evacuation orders.

“When I moved down to this beautiful state, I fell in love with Bayou Corne/ Grand Bayou! The neighborhood was amazing and so quiet.” said Mrs. Gregoire, “On August 03, 2012, our sense of sanity, safety, and stability were stolen away. We were displaced to hotels, which are miles away from the school in Pierre Part, and forced to stay with family, and with friend’s for a few months until we bought a camper. I thought at one point I was going to lose my mind!”

The situation got even worse when she allowed the Tetra Tech technicians to test for gas under their home on April 3rd, 2013. Below is the Facebook posting, (reprinted with Mrs. Gregoire’s permission);

” they read the level of LEL is 100% in the house by my kids room door, and the oxg is 33.3% I’m just guessing I really couldn’t hear. And in the shop was the same for LEL. They asked me too stay here while they went to go get a few other stuff and they would be back in a little bit. Asked also to open the windows in the house and put the Monitors by the hole in the house.”

Jen Greg 

 (Picture of the Drilled Hole just outside the children’s room)

JenGregII

(Detectors in Living Room above and in the Children’s room below)

Jen GregIII

Many concerned resident’s voiced their shock that LEL gases were detected and that Tetra Tech then asked Mrs. Gregoire to stay in the home while they went to get other equipment. In most eyes, this was very irresponsible and unprofessional conduct. Many begged her to leave the premises at the time, speaking on Facebook. Mrs Gregoire is still shaken by the incident a week later.

“There isn’t even a word to come up with how I felt that day when I got the news. I have all these people running in and out of my home asking me to open windows and doors to vent the house. WOW scary!!!! That this is getting worse and out of hand is an understatement. It will never be safe enough to ever take my children back there. The school has even seen the stress it has put on my children, and they are too young to even think about this. They are kids, and they should be more worried about what they are going to play outside, instead of where we are going to live now. After 8 months my children have said they miss their own beds, and that the pull out sofa is uncomfortable. I’m sad to say our home, and where I brought my babies into the world, can never be lived in again, its just too dangerous!”

Texas Brine LLC has to date, still not assumed full responsibility for the desperate situation the good people of Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou have been forced into, and the owners of the failed salt cavern, Occidental Chemical Corporation remain silent.

With their future up in the air, literally, and one seemingly filled with more flared methane gas than actual oxygen; Texas Brine touts the fact that no injuries have resulted from the ‘Great Louisiana Sinkhole’, but please keep in mind that not all injuries are physical, or even seen. Many are kept hidden, and not only by a proud people who consider themselves fiercely independent, but by the very Corporations that caused the injuries and damages in the first place.

The above stories are only two in a growing number of horror stories emerging from the area, and as this disaster drags on and on, will surely not be the last.

Governor Bobby Jindal promised the homeowner’s that buy-outs would only take weeks, and not months, on March 19th, upon his first visit to the area, yet only eight residents have been contacted regarding the buy-out process thus far.

No officials were contacted in the writing of this article….frankly, because no one trusts a word they say anymore at this point.

No Large Corporations were harmed in the making of this article.

LOUISIANA SINKHOLE: COMEDY OF ERRORS OR INTENTIONAL GAMBLE?

(Special Thanks to On Wings Of Care, and Ms. Bonny, and the Power Hour)

I have avoided for a while giving my opinion and the opinion of many others, the light of day concerning how this geological nightmare in Assumption Parish, Louisiana, also known as the “Great Louisiana Sinkhole”, came into being on August 3, 2012..

I can no longer put this off as so many have sent emails asking for my humble opinion and compilation of the events that led up to the present situation. Please take into account this is not just my opinion alone, and that there is a reputable geologist, hydrologist, seismologist, and a salt rock mechanic, (geologist specializing in salt rock formations), that comprise the team that makes this blog possible. All are volunteers, and they are all greatly appreciated. Most are still engaged in their respective fields, and therefore cannot be named at this juncture, for fear of retaliation.

With that firmly stated, and acknowledged, then on with the explanation as we see it.

First we have Hooker Oil Well #1 that was drilled to a depth of 6,200 ft., which is why it was later named 6200 RA SUA ,  (HookerOilWell1 History). The well was first drilled and completed in 1986 down to the depleted formation shown in the 2007 3-D survey. It was drilled 338 ft. directionally in an southeastern direction for a Bottom Hole Location offset..

It changed hands a few times until Energy Self Service Oils, Baton Rouge, La. took it over in 2006 for Natural Gas, then sometime between then and Feb. 2008, (likely earlier, since its shown depleted in 2007 3D survey by Golden Gate), just up and walked off.

Orphaned without a word to anyone. The state had to come in and P&A the well themselves in 5/12/2010. This shows the actual effectiveness of the Dept. of Conservation, as it took them three (3) years, to figure out this well was orphaned and only because deer hunter’s complained about the oil leaking from the wellhead and rusting tanks left behind. This was an open well, and right next door to the Oxy #3 cavern and at the same depths. The depletion of this formation right next door to Oxy 3 and the salt dome may have had a role to play in all of this due to its proximity just underneath the Oxy #3 Cavern, and I intend to prove just how.

ERRORS: (Part I)

OIL WELL VS. SALT CAVERN EQUALS DISTRESSED SHALE SHEATH

Recall that the Oxy #3 cavern was at a depth of 5,923 ft. deep, and Hooker Oil Well #1 (later changed to SUA 6200), was drilled to 6200 ft. just 980 ft. (surface wellhead) from Oxy #3 (surface wellhead). The top of hydrocarbon sand formation was at a vertical top of approximately 4235 ft., and a bottom depth of approximately 6500 ft. dropping even lower along the gradient of the salt wall, according to the 2007 3D survey, so now it is time to do some quick math.

At surface 980 ft. between wellheads, and taking into account half the volume of the bottom of Oxy 3, which was 300 ft., then we are left with 150 ft (+/- 30 ft.) jutting to the west side from center of bore. Then taking into account an ‘M’ sands formation of approximately 900-1000 ft. (squared) pay extrapolated from nearly 20 years of production before considered depleted, due to the drive force reaching static pressure, (usually a water drive, but sometimes other drives exist, likely methane gas, and does not mean empty, just no longer able to recover hydrocarbons), with an offset casing of 338 ft. towards the Shale Sheath,  leaving 750 ft. (horizontal) pressuring the shale sheath eastward with the formation top at 4235 ft. and a sloping bottom formation depth of 6500 ft. (vertical) leaves us with only 50-80 ft. (again +/- 30 ft.) of Shale Sheath seperating the Oxy #3 cavern and the bottom 1016 ft. (vertical) of said Cavern 3 being pressured by the oil formation against the Shale Sheath, as shown by the straight line deformation of the SONAR survey of Oxy #3, with pressures slowly falling over the years of the oilwell’s useful lifespan, while at the same time Texas Brine is mining salt from inside the Salt Dome’s edge, therefore exposing more of Cavern 3 to the shale sheath over it’s useful lifetime.

A3DII

(Click all highlighted text and all images to enlarge and open)

Now if that doesn’t clarify things for you, then it sure should have left the reader completely baffled. Essentially, a very thin shale sheath was separating the bottom 1000 ft. of the Cavern from the pressuring oil formation abutting against the sheath. This pressuring could have been a good thing until the pressures decreased and not exerting the same amount of force as it previously did before being produced. Any Geologist worth his salt, (pun intended), could see the straight line deformation of the Sonar scans of Occidental Geismar Brine Well #3, and realize it was pressing against a solid surface and not an elastic one such as salt rock which is never in a straight line.

ERRORS PLUS A GAMBLE: (Part II)

The Mill Out:

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 2380 ft. Remember the top of Cavern 3 was at 3400 ft. so this left Texas Brine with nearly 900 ft. of salt above Cavern 3, (once they cemented the top of this cavern), and 1400 ft. above to stay safely below the caprock, then, dear reader, please realize how much salt could have been mined from such a space for years to come, and a source of income for Texas Brine and the Owner, Occidental Chemical Corp. if they had pulled this gamble off.

Unfortunately, at best, only 300 ft. of salt existed at 2380-2480 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 the overburden of the salt overhang slammed down and thereby set off a 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.

A3D

Suspecting this was the case, and thinking they had miscalculated, then Texas Brine commissioned Baker-Hughes to come in and run a Vertical Seismic Profile, (VSP), on September 25, 2010, and permitted by LDNR and Conservation, to map the edge of salt after the fact, instead of doing so before the fatal Mill Out of 2010.

An engineering blunder that is costing them unto this day, yet Occidental is still the Owner of the Cavern and of the land and mineral rights, and suffers none of the liabilty publicly. One wonders what the agreement is between the two companies that allows this situation to occur?

As a reminder, here are the results of that VSP.

A CavernSketchI

A CavernSketchII

 It has been postulated by Mr. Gary Hecox, and Mr. Will Pettitt, that eight oil and gas bearing formations are pinched up against the edge of the dome and supplying all of the methane gas, oil, and produced waters via the ‘Disturbed Rock Zone’.

It is a flimsy premise at first glance considering the eighth producing formation sand level is over 14,000 ft. deep, and surely natural formation waters alone would not provide a strong enough ‘drive’ to provide the ‘push’ that the heavy hydrocarbons would need to force their way to the surface if not fractured or drilled. Upon further investigation though, maybe they know something we do not. Possibly a very BIG something.

Such as the fact that there are no obstructions between the sand formations at depth, and the E&P Injection Wells within close proximity to the edge of the Napoleonville salt dome. E&P, stands for Exploration and Production Wastes, such as drill cuttings, brine wastes, benzene, toulene, etc. and such, within production water wastes from oilfields. For more information on E&P Wastes, please consult: http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/industrial/special/oil/oil-gas.pdf

The closest is the old Hallar Enterprises Inc. Disposal Site on Hwy. 70, Pierre Part, La., which is less than a mile away as the crow flies and formerly injected wastes to a sand formation at just over 12,000 ft, deep into a depleted oil well, and fractured shale, where oil sands may easily carry injected produced waters in a south easterly direction. This well has been P&A’d, (Plugged and Abandoned), and the building torn down recently, yet the wastes still remain somewhere, complete with a Flare that waxes and wanes with the Seismic Activity, as does the the ‘Sugar Shack’ Flare off Hwy. 69, very near the 2010 Mantle Oil & Gas ‘Kick’, in which the Halliburton Blowout Preventer malfunctioned, just as it did in the GOM at Macondo/BP….

Next are two wells owned by FAS Environmental Services LLC in Pierre Part, 1081 Hwy 70, Well Serial Numbers 156044, and 973168. One such Injection well Serial # 973168 injected 1,156,970 Barrels in 2011 alone, download the report below:

 FAS Pierre Part

and

FAS Buys WATER WELLS

That is 48,592,740 (million) gallons in just 2011 alone injected at a depth of 3700 – 3965 ft. bearing sands. It makes one wonder just what kind of oversight is in place around these Salt Domes to allow such polluted wastes to be slurried into sand streams, and what by-products are generated at depths that could easily be the ‘push waters’, (produced waters), that are possibly the actual drives behind the waters that are forcing hydrocarbons into the Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer, (MRAA) at the sinkhole in Bayou Corne, as well as forcing the methane gas deposits into the MRAA aquifer as well.

There is nothing we can find to stop the fractured ‘Depleted Oil Formation Wells’ from supplying the surrounding Formation Sands from migrating eastwards, and supply the ‘Push Waters’, (which are Oil Drilling Waste Waters injected into the earth), forcing the oil, and gas into the ‘Great Louisiana Sinkhole’.

As an Aside; I have still not received any answers from Texas Brine, LLC, as to the disposition of their NORM/TENORM deposits, and LDNR refuses my calls. FOIA anyone?

Where are the regulations, statutes, codes, and laws to guard against such irresponsibility? Not only in regards to Deep E&P Waste Water Injection Wells, but to protect the public health and welfare from insane business practices that do not consider the lives, health, or environment in their business models?

THEY EXIST, but are NOT ENFORCED! That is, in regards to injection wells, yet none exist that protects natural Salt Domes, that Geologists have known for a hundred years to be a trap for oil, gas, and waters bourne by the sands around them.

This is a wide spread concern and not just in Louisiana, but this State’s Department of Conservation is a Joke! It’s Department of Environmental Quality has completely DEPARTED, and the Department of Natural Resources seems to be onboard with the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association!

Just as Scott Angelle, the former head of LDNR jumped ship within days of the Sinkhole Disaster, and moved away from the area, to pursue his own interests in the (LOL) “Public Service Commission”, to side-step and avoid the crimes he was responsible for; so too it seems that James Welsh, the ‘Maestro’ behind all of this absolutely horrific breakdown of regulations and rules regarding all forms of Injection Wastes since 1978, and responsible for even more lax over-sight of any Salt Dome Caverns, and Deep Well EP Wastewater Injection Wells that dot most of the State… just skates on away, while the collateral damage of wasted lives, cancer-ridden victims, taxpayers, and tourists, suffer for these ‘Officials’ greed and personal aggrandizement, as well as their hubris…that, in and of itself, to me…. is the most reprehensible of crimes. To drive this point home, please visit the EPA’s Current Conditions for Louisiana: Water Quality, as well as EPA Injection Wells in Louisiana and Violations (2007-2010).

Hopefully, I have expressed the professional opinions of the people that proffer their technical expertise to me free of charge, as well as their personal opinions and professional acumen appropriately, and apologize to these good people for my emotional statements towards the end of this article, yet I cannot regret my words.

It is time for a change. This time for the better. It is OUR WORLD, not the politician’s, lobbyist’s, special interests, nor the playground of big corporations. It is all of ours, and it’s time we take back what is ours.

As a parting shot, please take a look at my very horrible graphic, (gimme a break, I did it in Paint), to give a hint as to what we suspect is truly happening beneath the earth on the Western face of the Salt Dome. After intensive study, none of us could find a fault block area that would prevent this scenario from actually taking place, but since none of us can actually stick our heads down 12,000 ft., then of course it is all subjective. (Again forgive the childish quality of the hand painted graphic as it is only for visualization purposes of a probable scenario)

LEGEND:

Red=Oil Formations and flows

Purple=Produced Waters

Green= Chemical mixes

Yellow=Methane gas

Light blue=natural water drives

Orange=Oil Sands carrying lower formation waters, and gases

Blue=Surface Water

Black Spots= fractured sedimentary materials

(Click to enlarge)

GRAPHIC OXY

 

Louisiana Sinkhole: State Documentation Reveals that Radioactive Materials Were INJECTED into Five Additional Napoleonville Salt Dome Caverns (UPDATED)

LEAN FLYOVER 1221

(NOTE TO RETURNING READERS, THE UPDATE REBUTTAL IS HIGHLIGHTED IN BOLD LETTERS BELOW)

A truly shocking revelation has been uncovered in SONRIS files concerning the fragile and ‘too close to salt edge’, Occidental Geismar #1, as well as four other caverns on the east side of Grand Bayou.

Last week, it was revealed that Oxy #1 was found to be in potential jeopardy and possible collapse since it lies within 1-200 ft. from the Salt Dome’s edge.

Louisiana Sinkhole: Are more Caverns at Risk?

and

Concerns raised about 2nd salt dome cavern

Although no real shock to those in the know, what else was found regarding Occidental-Geismar #1 Cavern, turned out to be a real electrifying revelation.

Many community meetings have been held in Assumption Parish with the residents affected by the ‘Great Louisiana Sinkhole’ formed by the failure of Oxy-Geismar #3 salt cavern known to be on the edge of the Napoleonville Salt Dome, by Texas Brine and the Owner of the actual cavern itself, Occidental Chemical Corporation. Although asked about the possible NORM contained by other caverns, no real answers were forthcoming. Now we understand why this was never answered.

Buried deep within the bowels of SONRIS at LDNR and in a well file relating to Gulf South #1 failed cavern that terrorized the community of Grand Bayou in 2003, were documents relating to Texas Brine and Occidental’s dealings with James Welsh concerning the disposal of ‘calcium and magnesium brine precipitates’, later changed to ‘brine sludge’, and both terms meaning Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, (NORM), and the injection of these materials back into the caverns in which they were produced.

In a letter dated July 8, 1991, James Welsh in responding to a May 1, and May 29 requests for NORM to be put back into the following Well(s), Serial #’s 142315, 109979, 110339, 151645, and were not only given permission by then Mining Director Welsh to inject, but additionally informed they would have no problems with continuing Class III brine mining from these same caverns but would also have no problem being permitted for Class II Storage Wells if asked for in the future.

Then in 1994, another set of letters concerning NORM passed between Bill Walters at LDNR and Jim McCartney of Texas Brine requesting Well(s) Serial #’s, 109979 again, 151645 again, and 142316, be injected once more, and was again answered by Mr. Welsh on August 23, 1994, and informed that ASNIPLETTER

Even more disturbing is that this time Texas Brine proposed a Solka Floc system that would prepare the NORM to be re-injected into the above documented caverns, thereby transforming the NORM into Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, (TENORM), and the Department of Environmental Quality passed it without question, and with only a sketch to go by; with no plans to follow up after construction, before introducing said materials into the caverns, and all unconcerned that these Wells remained Class III brine mining wells, while at the same time, being used for radioactive sludge waste injection caverns.

Before I go further, I feel it is incumbent upon me to inform you, the reader, that not once, but twice OXY GEISMAR #1 is proposed for these TENORM injections, as evidenced by Serial Number 151645, which turns out to be the very cavern that is now suspected of being mined too close to the edge of the Salt Dome, and could potentially fail. I would also like to point out this was done at a time when it was illegal under any circumstances to place any radioactive materials into salt caverns of any kind.

I submit this fact was known far ahead of time as submitted in earlier articles, but further evidence has come to light supporting such a supposition.

On August 25, 2012 and only three weeks after the OXY GEISMAR #3 cavern had collapsed, Occidental and Texas Brine sent in a team to immediately perform a SONAR scan of Oxy Geismar #1 and of no other caverns as shown in these pictures provided by LDNR.

Pic 1, Pic 2, PIC 3

These pictures and the SONAR of Oxy Geismar #1 screams that Occidental and Texas Brine had reason to be alarmed that this particular cavern might breach out, as opposed to say, Oxy Geismar #2, located directly behind the failed Cavern 3.

This is very disturbing news indeed. Although not a conspiracy minded person…I must admit this smacks of conspiracy and of an on-going coverup.

I do not state this lightly, as Occidental and Texas Brine side-stepped these issues before when questions arose concerning the presence of NORM in Oxy-Geismar #3 by stating that in 1995 they received permission from LDNR, but not from LDEQ. That really seems disingenious in the extreme, considering the Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality, Linda Levy, gave full permission in 1994, as did James Welsh, of LDNR Director of Injection and Mining Division, for the TENORM injection of waste materials into 5 other caverns.

If there is even a way for these obviously corrupt corporations and the State Agencies charged with the Safety of the Public Health and Welfare of the People of Louisiana, to weasel their way from under these allegations,  then these questions still remain…. If in 1991 there was enough NORM for four wells, and in 1994, enough existed for three more wells, and then with just an average of 20 cu. ft. of NORM that was to be placed in Oxy #3, then we have 160 cu. ft.of radioactive materials floating around in limbo whether just underground in the Solka Floc system and a ‘Tank’, or laying in piles all over the dome, with the many other wells on the Dome, is also the potential for 1000’s of Feet of Radioactive Materials in unknown locations exposed to the elements, or as stated in the above letters; re-injected into caverns, where they could be pumped out to an end producer  for potcarb including nutrition supplements for dairy cattle, video glass for television and computer monitors, other specialty glass, potassium silicates, fertilizers, gas processing, industrial intermediaries, photographic development processes, detergents, and food products, such as the Occidental-Geismar Chemical Plant in Geismar. Louisiana, or to Dow, which uses the chlorides for many end user products, such as plastics, and a host of other end user products that could be on a Store Shelf near you.

None of us ever to expected our Bagged Fertilizers, nor our Chlorox type cleaners, to actually glow in the dark. Not stating they are, but it is a valid question.

If this does not spark an investigation by the Federal Government, then what on earth ever will? Raw Milk?

REBUTTAL TO MR. BRUCE MARTIN OF TEXAS BRINE

Apparently the very next day after this article was released Texas Brine, LLC Spokesman, Bruce Martin made a Public Statement concerning NORM injections into Oxy Geismar 1 and 3. Mr. Martin claims no injections ever took place.

(Please go to 4 mins, and 30 seconds of this video to listen to Mr. Martin’s reply.)

According to Mr. Martin, ‘Brine Precipitates’ fell out of the wellheads of Oxy 3 and another at Chacahoula. Just fell out. Huh?

He explains they were so out of touch, they hadn’t a clue what they were looking at… Is that credible? More importantly, is that “Responsible Care”?

He then goes on to explain that you should take his word that over a five year period, 1990, 1991, 1994, and 1995, each citing different Caverns for disposal; (see documents below), that Texas Brine only sought permits to what they stated as their goal of action, and that was re-injecting NORM into SIX (6) different caverns on JUST THE NAPOLEONVILLE SALT DOME.

After multiple incidents, and to remind you of just one, Texas Brine employees did not follow State Issued Orders to alert (well) anyone that they had H2S coming from the failed well over the top of the caprock. Nor do they inform the local residents already in a State Declared Emergency and  Disaster Area, of when slough-ins, ‘burps’, seismic activities, or methane or ‘Big Gulps’ of water take place until three, four days, and sometimes even longer periods of time, as evidenced by the latest revelations at the Senate Hearing, that three more acres were lost in one week, and looks to exceed their projected expansion totals they have touted for so many months as the maximum size of the ‘sinkhole’.

We have WRITTEN and DOCUMENTED PROOF of their INTENT, yet, Mr. Martin wants us to take his WORD. Not good enough. Where is the documentation PROVING that none of the materials in question were not re-injected, and if so, then please show documentation detailing where it did go, or was it allowed to stay onsite to endanger the workers until it’s radioactivity dropped to a ‘safe level’. The PEOPLE have a right to know!!!

To top it off, Mr, Martin goes on to plead IGNORANCE of TENORM, which is dealt with in Texas Brine Waste Disposal Wells in Texas, and yet he has no knowledge of what that is, although in a fact sheet issued to all companies on a yearly basis that have even ancillary issues dealing with the said mined materials.

Anytime human activities allow a build up of naturally occurring radioactive materials, then it is considered TENORM, as explained in the article above with a link to EPA web based documents released to Industry Officials. Texas Brine is a Mining Company, so therefore are recipients of these EPA materials. Essentially, Mr. Bruce Martin is admitting he doesn’t do his job very well, and isn’t qualified as a mining engineer, nor even qualified as a safety director. Quite an admission.

This leads to the Solka Floc slurry system issue and one that is the most disturbing of the documents uncovered, as they pertain to a system of piping between wells and a tank system to slurry any NORM/TENORM materials prior to re-injecting into the wells, essentially ensuring that they would not precipitate to the bottom of the caverns, and possibly eject out into product so that all evidence would be erased that it even existed.

The point here is not so much what Texas Brine wanted, but what then Director of Injection Mining for the State of Louisiana was willing to allow, without any notice whatsoever to the communities surrounding this Salt Dome, and the great lengths Mr. Welsh went to, to stress that it was no big deal… “Do It!” All without any oversight or further reporting, and this from LDEQ and LDNR as well.

The question again remains, what is the disposition of NORM/TENORM precipitated from ALL CAVERNS on the Napoleonville Salt Dome? Where are these vast amounts of radiological materials going? How were they disposed of in the last 50 years? SHOW THE EVIDENCE! NO ONE TRUSTS YOUR WORDS! Again, the People have a right to know!

Source File: Start at Page 176-188 of the Gulf South #1 Well History File.

IN HOUSE SOURCE: Gulf SouthTexas Brine

http://ucmwww.dnr.state.la.us/ucmsearch/UCMRedir.aspx?url=http%3a%2f%2fdnrucm%2fucm%2fgroups%2fconservation%2fdocuments%2fooc%2fdrsgroup_20100727_1141.pdf

OG1NORM

NORM OCCIDENTAL CAVERNS 2 N 3

TexasBrine GJL Well 3 NORM

NORM LETTER 1994

NORM LETTERS 1

NORM LETTER 1994 2

NORM LETTER 1994 3

TB TENORM SLURRY REINJECTION SYSTEM