Louisiana Sinkhole: Are more Caverns at Risk?

As a compliment to The Advocate and David Mitchell’s very perceptive writing skills, then I would like to present people with an alternate question.

Is there another cavern at more risk, than others?

Oxy Geismar #1 is the only super shallow brine mined salt cavern within proximity to Oxy Geismar #3, to the failed Texas Brine and owned by, Occidental Chemical Corporation cavern.

Why would it be more at risk? First we have to understand Oxy Geismar #3, it’s depths, dimensions, and width. Oxy Geismar #3 has a top cavern insert depth at 3400 ft. It was 150 ft. across at the top of the cavern. 300′ ft. at the bottom…we think.

Oxy Geismar #1 on the other hand has a top Cavern depth of 2492 ft. and a width of 344 ft. in the northwest directional survey.


North West Side (left) pointing towards OXY 3


If 900′ (previously 875′) feet away at the well head, as reported, then we are left with only 325-400 ft. between the two caverns, at marginally varying depths. The 2010 mill out of Oxy Geismar #3 was at 2350 ft., which struck the fault line in the same general area, causing it to become active, according to the position, and depth revealed in the 2007 Golden Gate/Grand Gulf proprietary 3 D survey. Since it is sitting upon the shale, then it is especially vulnerable to the seismic shaking taking place through the sedimentary rock layers, making the shallow cavern quite vulnerable to these forces.


Oxy Geismar #1 is the same cavern Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources claims was spoken of in a 1995 Sandia Labs report entitled,

Neal, J. T. and T.R. Magorian. April 1995. Geologic Site Characterization (GSC) Principles Derived from Storage and Mining Projects in Salt, With Application to Environmental Surety. SAND95-2400J. Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM.

This report clearly speaks of a cavern laying against the shale sheath, as evidenced in the below caption:


Since LDNR claims this is Oxy Geismar #1, and that they had no knowledge of said SANDIA  LABS report, then it seems logical that LDNR is accusing Sandia Labs and the two scientist’s of incompetence, for not forwarding this report to their office, for their attention, nor to the industry it involves, such as Salt Cavern Brine Mining, although fully available for any industry at all times, as well as SANDIA LABS working with all governmental authorities regarding local issues concerning the Geo Sciences.


Please LDNR, give us all a break! None are as stupid, or negligent as you claim, with the exception of yourselves, of course.

In a recent Advocate article by David Mitchell, Mark Cartwright, former President of United Brine Services LLC, a subsidiary of Texas Brine LLC, now the Vice-President of Texas Brine LLC, had this to say;

“Texas Brine’s Cartwright said that even after the 2010 study, his company had no reason “whatsoever” to believe the side wall of the cavern would collapse.

And conventional wisdom held that at those depths, about 5,000 feet, any rupture would be contained by the surrounding rock, he said.

“In fact, I think at the end of this process you’re going to see some really interesting papers written by some very smart people that will revolutionize our belief about what can happen deep,” Cartwright said.”


This is an outright lie, as when President of United Brine, Mark Cartwright was the very one that raised the alarm in the first place! 

“One obvious concern is the cavern’s proximity to the edge of salt,” Cartwright wrote to DNR’s Joseph “Joe” S. Ball Jr. “There have been several studies in this regard, and Texas Brine has mapped the salt boundary near the cavern applying available well log data, seismic data, and most recently, vertical seismic data gathered during the workover. At this time, a breach out of the salt dome appears possible.”

Source: http://theadvocate.com/home/3580029-125/dome-issues-kept-quiet

(Read Actual Letter Here) Take note the date of the letter is Jan. 21, 2011.

Ball is the director of the DNR Injection and Mining Division, which oversees salt caverns.

So, United Brine’s President Mark Cartwright spills the beans in no uncertain terms, then gets kicked up the ladder afterwards, and becomes Texas Brine’s Vice-President, and says… “We didn’t have a clue.” I’ll let your own discernment be your guide to the answer.

Is this a common sense approach? Most definitely. Mere supposition at this point would be futile, and counter-productive, and I wish to avoid such interpretation, due to the copius amounts of information now available to so many.

Keep an eye towards Oxy Geismar #1, for it is another engineering disaster waiting to happen.

Coming up next;

Could there be another contributing factor to this disaster as well? Mainly the Hooker Oil Drilling Well #1, just feet away from the Oxy Geismar #3 Salt Cavern, and over a 15 year period depleting the formation at the same depths as the bottom of Oxy Geismar #3.

We shall explore these possibilities in my next article.. Louisiana Sinkhole: Comedy of Errors?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Louisiana Sinkhole: Answers are Forthcoming (UPDATED)


(Photo courtesy of LDNR)

A meeting was held on February 6, 2013 and was pre-empted by an impromptu disruption by one Cathy Simoneaux. I have no opinon of her allegations.


Unfortuately, this sensationalised story took the center stage and prevented a much greater understanding of the actual issues at hand. Many speakers gave presentations, and for once the residents of Bayou Corne got far more answers than they were prepared to handle.

Residents were literally diluged with information that took most off-guard, and having to view the videos to get even half the information that was imparted to them. This is truly understandable, considering the months of stone-walling, and jibber-jabber with no real answers. This is not the case now.

Finally an understanding of the Bayou Corne ‘Sinkhole’ may be at hand. Instead of boring you with a run down of each and every presentation right off the bat, let’s just introduce the Presenters, or their affiliations, and their results in a quick nutshell.

First, we had Shaw and the Louisiana Office of Conservation that hired petroleum geophysicist Don Marlin to interpret three-dimensional seismic data that Texas Brine Co. LLC is planning to collect around the sinkhole.

According to the 2007 ‘proprietary 3-D survey’ obtained from Golden Gate Petroleum, the small .3 mile survey was presented as thus:


Source: http://tinyurl.com/aurdts2   (Pages 12 and 13)


According to Mr. Marlin, blah, blah, blah. (I can do this, no one can fire me from my own blog) <This view is from the West, as if you were looking at it from Bayou Corne>

(Warning! Author’s informed interpretation and rant follows)

Truth is, this 3-D Survey reveals some very telling details.  Although not definitive, it seems the working theory is this: Texas Brine milled out a section around 2350 ft. right on a major fault section closest to the casing, not considering they had very little salt to work with there. The salt is either washed away and damaging the shale formations close to the fault line, or overpumped freshwater in the millout to have accomplished the same thing.

(Start at the 5 Min. mark if it does not go there)

Here, Mr. Gary Hecox admits the geologists of the time thought the salt extended out another 1,000 ft. in 1982, yet fails to mention the voluminous records of SONAR surveys, (latest was 1997), or the Vertical Seismic Profile in 2010, which definitvely showed the cavern laying upon the shale sheath.


(Additionally a lower, lesser fault line is shown and not identified as such further north and under the sinkhole, running along the blade of the knife-looking structure in the graphic.)

This gave the fault the impetus to become active, (meaning fracturing the fault line rock formations), until over a matter of a year and a half; the fault grows bigger as does the mini-quakes, fracturing more rock as it grew, until it essentially shook the shale sheath, (upwards and downwards equally), to pieces and caused the cave in, which in turn took out the remaining shale sheath at depth and cracked the cavern portion that was known to be laying entirely on the shale rock sheath, and this caused the frack out.

This reached to a depth of about 6000 ft. since the overburden pressures caused a momentary pressure of over 7,000 psi. It was a mighty geological explosion, as evidenced by it clearing a path to the surface, and the sinkhole culminating outside the salt dome. Most sinkholes have occured over the top of salt domes, so this is truly a geological first, and at the same level of the oil, gas, and water formations that were pressuring the shale sheath from the west side. A fact known since 2007 by LDNR, Texas Brine, and by the owner of the property, Occidental Chemical Corp.

This information should have been known months ago. The 3 D survey would have shown it just as well then, if not for Golden Gates ‘Proprietary’ legalese. In an emergency situation, nothing should be held up for months over ‘proprietary’ concerns.

Also looking at the depth of the hydrocarbon formations, then there are many culprits at varying depths, but since Oxy 3A is still producing hydrocarbons, then we do know it is at depths greater than 3700 ft. in that area. What is not known is essentially whether the uppermost formation is feeding the sinkhole or not..

(DISCLAIMER: End of Author’s interpretation and rant. This is not to be construed as what Mr. Marlin actually stated, but the inference thereof)

Actually Mr. Marlin was a fount of information, as he informs the audience of the 3-D survey showing a depleted hydrocarbon formation that was drilled into and produced for 15 years, (UPDATE BELOW VIDEO), but the wellbore to this depleted formation is very apparent and clear. Also near the end of his presentation, he is able to describe the salt wall almost to a tee, as it was in 2007. Valuable information indeed. Please watch this short video, as it lends much to the reader’s understanding of the geology of the region.


Upon further investigation, this tells a very sordid story of Hooker #1 Oil Well. A drama in and of itself.

The well was first drilled and completed in 1986 and was a 6300 ft. borehole down to the depleted formation shown in the 2007 3-D survey.

It changed hands a few times until Energy Self Service Oils, Baton Rouge, La. took it over in 2006, then sometime between then and Feb. 2009, 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 was an open well, a fire hazard on the surface and right next door to the Oxy #3 cavern and at the same depths, Unreal.

This 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. Just absolutely mind-blowing the level of irresponsibility, and a “I don’t give a damn,” attitude.

(Sources, With Photos:)




Location of the well is the same as the leaking water well on this map.


The next Presenter was ITASCA, and Dr. Pettitt, who explains the rock fracture zone that is building up gases until they overwhelm the fractured rock voids and released in the ‘burps’, and then sucks back down water. He cannot actually explain the process, as it is unique in the world of geology. He also admits not knowing the size, nor shape of the ‘disturbed rock zone’ nor what effects it may be having upon the Salt Dome wall.

Although ominous, so far the closest cavern (Oxy #2) is holding it’s integrity, and while the diesel blanket was being replaced to protect the top of the Oxy #2 cavern ceiling on January 19th, no activity was recorded in the cavern during these two seismic events. Although only 370 ft. east, it seems that Oxy #2 showed no signs at all of losing integrity. Good news indeed.

He also explains in detail the seismic readings, which I won’t go into here, but if interested, watch Part 10 at Assumptionla You Tube page:


Next up, was Dr. Gary Hecox, and we have already touched upon what he had to say, but he did give a grim report to the residents regarding gas vent wells in the community. Many of these wells and the intendant piping may well become a permanent fixture, yet he did hold out some hope that the new 3-D seismic survey will identify the formation responsible for the methane gas, and that if so, a well could be drilled to depth and release the pressures long before they reach the aquifer or the resident’s community.

Once again, and pulling no punches, Mr. Hecox stated that all the Bayou Corne homes should be evacuated. The Evacuation Order was appropriate. This should be latched onto by the media and residents, and put forth to Texas Brine and Occidental Chemical Corporation, as well as Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources to provide the necessary funds to accomplish this objective and buy-outs made available to those that wish to do move on with their lives.

In a very shocking statement, Mr. Hecox admits, they all were in error by trusting the PDK logs to detect gas in the larger water well’s casings and multiple casings, (PDK: An electronic neutron generator in the tool produces pulses of neutrons which spread into the borehole and formation.)

Now, the spread and extent of the methane gas eastwards is in question, and another tool to detect the gas must be found. This is an astounding admission, and Mr. Hecox should be thanked for his honesty and integrity, to be able to admit his own limitations. To address this new issue, a Dr. Charles Faust of Tetra-Tech, is being brought in to develop a better gas mitigation model. This seems apropo in this ‘Faustian environment’.

Also disclosed, and as reported by this blog, two events actually happened on January 19th, 2013. While officials at the time claimed the seismic activity immediately abated after the ten a.m. event that displaced 15,000 cubic feet of water down the sinkhole funnel and into the unknown voids below, but also that there was a second six p.m. event that was much larger and displaced over 40,000 cubic feet of water for a total of 55,000 cubic feet of water that was sucked under the earth as methane gas escaped to the surface, presumably an equal amount, yet that would be inaccurate as it seems the Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer sands and gravel broke up the gas bubble and diluted it among the aquifer itself, and shunting the most part of the methane under the community and subdivision itself, via the aquifer. How far east is still unanswered.

This is pretty much a run down of the whole meeting, except for resident’s questions, and they are very important questions that I would highly recommend that you watch.

That being said, the residents were very inquisitive about the new gas wells going into the subdivision, and were pretty vocal about it. To the point that Mr. Hecox was struck speechless twice. Several voiced they did not want them in their front or backyards, and if they affected an area 500ft. square, then put them at the land boundries.

Finally one resident, who was very bright, suggested the usage of Four wells out in the swamps and using a steerable bore drill to alleviate the pressures without all the mini wells and piping. It is a non-invasive solution. It is one that Oxy and TB will not want to pay for, but the issue can be forced if no one signs the releases and allows all the tiny wells to go in. However, this will not stop Texas Brine from drilling at all the land boundries, and ignoring the resident’s wishes, while looking and pressuring for that one or two, that will allow vent wells in the middle of the subdivision. That would negate the need for Horizontal Wells, and completely ignore resident’s concerns. As we all know, that seems to be Texas Brine’s style.

Yet, If the Resident’s calmly state their case and even in writing, explaining that the technology Dr. Hecox stated in this video is available and that this non-invasive method is best. Horizontal relief wells are available, but they won’t be, if the residents sign away their rights and Texas Brine, Occidental Chemical Corp. and LDNR’s liability.

There was good news, and bad news, but for the first time, we all have some news.

Louisiana Sinkhole Updates, Technology, and Theory



Everything everybody thought they knew about the Louisiana Sinkhole changed with the latest ‘Belch’ event on January 19th, 2013, for the geology that existed prior, no longer exists.

This is a whole new animal we are now dealing with. With an overburden of water, the combination of the ‘thumper trucks’ performing a Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP) for the five days prior, and then Friday the ‘T-Rex’ Tri-Axial set off a chain of events, that has moved around the rock structures, and allowed new migration zones for the formation gas, and even the bedded gas from the salt edge, (whatever is left of it at the top), and that the prior VSP readings are now completely useless.

If ‘Officials’ had backed off when they noticed the seismic events, and the casing pressure rising at the Oxy 3A OBW to over 923 psig, then the event would have settled within days. Instead they kept it up, then proceeded to finish it off with the T-Rex tri-axial array, and render any and all readings taken to date useless.

Nothing is the same underneath this disaster area as it was. If this had been performed in September, then this whole situation may have been mitigated by now.


“Hoffpauir, a technical staff associate with the University of Texas’ Geotechnical Engineering Program, said the diesel-powered T-Rex, which has 6-feet tall wheels, can send seismic waves into the ground in three dimensions, or tri-axially, from a central vibrating plate.

“It’s the only one in the United States” that can do that, Hoffpauir said.”


“The waves started at a low frequency and quickly picked up speed, sounding something like a car engine revving from low to high revolutions. From behind the well, mild vibrations could be felt in the earth at the lowest frequencies but they dissipated at the highest frequencies.”


That is precisely how you set up resonance, and this after, five days of;
“A less versatile type of vibroseis truck, called a thumper truck, was used recently, Texas Brine officials said.”

“Texas Brine plans to do the most intensive seismic testing of all, 3-D seismic tests across a swath of the Bayou Corne area next month.

Expected to deliver a picture 7,000 feet deep, these tests may show whether any feared voids exist underground and the location of oil and gas traps.”

What form of 3-D testing or with what tools is not being disclosed at this time.

As this author reported on various websites on January 20, 2013;

Well venting gas is beyond belief in its surge! Low Pressure, high volume.



Great pictures of the damages at Well Pad 3, and they are plugging and Abandoning MRAA#3. That’s the aquifer vent and monitoring well close to Oxy 3.

This is ORW 12


OXY 3 Well Pad is royally screwed.


This also means there was extensive rock and possibly salt movement during this ‘belch’. It’s found a new path for the gas to migrate. Lots of rocks have shifted and changed position. This is not good news for the Crosstex Cavern 2.

More rock movements are being shown on all borehole heli’s and this event is not over. It is building up for another event…mark my words. This was not a burp, it was a belch and did a lot of damage. I would not be surprised if the salt is now laying twenty to thirty yards further west now and brining out, taking with it a good portion of the stability of the west side of the dome.

Many were claiming it was impossible that the Vertical Seismic Profile, along with the overburden of water over the thin layer of soils and claytard, to be causing the seismic activity that I based my earlier warnings upon.

Seems Dr. Stephen Horton, with the University of Memphis doesn’t agree with the naysayers.

“Recent seismic activity is possibly contributable to VSP activity or the unusually high water, according
to Dr. Horton (1/16/13)”


(Page 15)


Seismic Visual of the Event on January 19th, 2013 from Helicorder LA08.


Many questions have arisen as to why it was vital months ago to find out what the water flow rates were and what path it had taken. If there was just one water source in, then it would just brine an area out, no big deal. That does not seem to be the case here. Allow me to postulate..

First, we have the fracked out cavern full of brine spilling outwards towards the formation waters that is pushed upwards under 7-9000 ft. of overburden pressures, which dilutes the brine and pushes it with ever increasing frequency back towards the breached cavern zone.. Once brined out the pressures force the Formation Waters upwards and eroding the Salt Flank in pockets.. how far? We don’t know.

Then we have the subsidence area that has punctured into the aquifer, and a blowout of the bottom of the aquifer where the caprock broke off is just about a certainty, or there would be no communication with the oil formation, gas, and waters below, nor would methane be able to swell the aquifer.

So we have infiltration from the top of the salt rock from the bottom of the aquifer and under a part of the caprock, (entry from the broken section of caprock), which is most likely brining out into the voids, allowing fractures and large pieces of salt rock to continue breaking off and tumbling below. This in turn gives more space for the waters to continue eastward infiltration and salt rock fractures.

Evidence for this is shown by the recent cracking of the Oxy 3 Well Pad. So, we have infiltration from above, the west side flank, and beneath, with crushed rock and liquids banging around and changing the geology daily.

So, high pressure liquids underneath, pressuring upwards on the sides, and overburden pressures squeezing the aquifer where the caprock broke off, and nothing but water saturating the whole of the overburden that could easily be migrating into these fractures from above the aquifer and any other damaged sections around these cavern wellheads causing salt blowouts in-between.

Remember the funnel of Lake Oxy 3 is determined by nothing but natural materials and fill, and not by a Cement Casing as a Well is…. Make your own mind up, but I believe this theory will be borne out by the surveys they will never allow us to see, at least not in a timely fashion.


Many of these questions could easily have been answered early on by using a very well known tool and just what Representative Joe Harrison, (La. District 51), was stating at the November 08, 2012 Residents Meeting.

Louisiana State Representative Joe Harrison:

“I’m gonna tell you something, the infrared satellite vision that they have, these things can tell you more than you ever imagined. I learned a lot about that during the BP thing. At the base where they’re at, they can tell you more things and actual chemical compound makeups with their equipment than I ever imagined they could. And they’re doing that right now, it’s being monitored.”

Resident 1: They’re doing it through infrared?

Harrison: Yes ma’am they’re just not giving us the information.

Resident 2: Who is they?

Harrison: The federal government […] This thing just seems to escalate […] They need somebody to tie it all together […] It needs to be declared a disaster. Once it’s declared a disaster, a whole new set of rules and regulations are enforced. […]”


What I truly believe Rep. Harrison was talking about is a very well known technology called radar interferometry taken by the VHP Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), you can learn all about it here:


InSAR’s monitors ground deformation, as well as ground based technology, taking gravity measurements using a Scintrex CG-5 gravimeter, such as those used just after the dramatic slough in of the Daisetta, Texas, May 7, 2008 Sinkhole. (Footnote: 1)



There are many such technologies available that can give the residents and the rest of the Public some much needed answers about the voids underneath, and the topography and low level subsidence over the whole of the salt dome.

Yet, it’s the methane, total dissolved solids, total dissolved chlorides and methane bearing waters with hydrocarbons that are being transmitted all over the area, and all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, that makes this a National Emergency, and a tragedy, ecologically, environmentally, as well as the human toll upon people West, East, and South, of Bayou Corne that are being poisoned even as we speak.

It is time for answers, and since that cannot be achieved at the State level and it has been shown that this local disaster clearly qualifies as a Federal Disaster Area, then Public pressure needs to bear down upon ALL PARTIES INVOLVED, until such an emergency is declared.

It is time for this farce to end.

Footnote 1:






Baker Atlas conducted a Checkshot Survey and an Offset VSP Survey for Texas Brine Company Ltd. in the well Oxy Geismar 3, located in the Grand Bayou field, Assumption Parish, Louisiana. The objectives of the surveys were to:

Measure time-depth information

Image the salt flank

At the time of the survey, the well had been flushed to create a cavern below 3400ft. The surveys were performed in the borehole above this depth. A sketch of the well and possible salt location is shown as Figure 3. All measured depths are referenced to Ground Level. The well is considered vertical.

The survey began at 9:52 hrs on September 25, 2010 and was finished at 10:49 hrs on September 26th, 2010.

A vibrator source was used for the surveys. One vibrator was positioned 123 ft. from the wellhead at an azimuth of 77 degrees for the checkshot survey and then two vibrators were located 3062 ft. from wellhead at an azimuth of 112 degrees for the Offset VSP survey.

A 6204XB 3-component downhole receiver was used to record the survey.

This is how they perform a VSP.


 and this is the final report regarding the Oxy 3 Cavern in 2010.

A CavernSketchIA CavernSketchII

Take Note, the “B” line is the 3D Seismic Pick.

Any Questions?

The full Vertical Seismic Profile can be found at:

Oxy Geismar No 3 (180708) VSP 2-2011

This is the history of the salt cavern. Please take notice of when most were published by the Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources. After the Stinkhole formed!


Even earlier SONAR scans show the bottom 1000 ft. of the cavern was compromised as shown by the almost perfect straight line, demonstrating that section was pressed against the shale sheath at the time. It would be interesting to have the drawdown records of the dates after these SONAR surveys.


SONAR Survey of Cavern 10 /06/2007, Pages 49-50 (Notice the straight line deformation showing bottom of cavern pressing against the Shale Sheath, and the Horizontal Slices show even better detail of this)



Regardless, these surveys do constitute proof that LDNR and Texas Brine both were complicit in a cover up of the gravity of the situation, years prior to the August 3rd, 2012 failure of Oxy 3 Salt Cavern.

Now we know how Mr. Hecox could honestly say, “There has been a Frack Out of the cavern.”

“Frack Out” is a term used to describe an over-pressure of fluid that overwhelms the medium within which it operates, or a failure of the medium itself, due to invasive enviromental or man-made factors.

Now new information has come in from EMILY (Hat tip back at ya), over at flutrackers, showing beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hooker #8, (later Vulcan #3, then OXY #3), was sitting upon the shale sheath back in 1995. OXY#3 is the only cavern against the Sheath. It is the furthest westward cavern shown by it’s coordinates. Texas Brine continued to operate this cavern at a lesser capacity for 14 years, then plugged and abandoned it, until the pressures built to a point where it ‘fracked out’ and blew away the shale sheath that had held the bottom of the cavern in for so many years.


Source: Neal, J. T. and T.R. Magorian. April 1995. Geologic Site Characterization (GSC) Principles Derived from Storage and Mining Projects in Salt, With Application to Environmental Surety. SAND95-2400J. Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM.

The credit will have to go to Sandia for having these documents available. They will email you the articles you request from this list:


(You must have email client installed for Sandia to send this document.)

As for this 1995 paper, this speaks of Oxy 3, as is shown by coordinates of it being the westernmost cavern in the Salt Dome. The last 500 ft. at the time, showed the straight line deformation of where the cavern had been miscalculated and was now resting upon the shale sheath, which is all that held containment at the time.

<SONAR Survey and VSP shown above.>

What was not taken into account was two-fold, first Texas Brine did not take into account was the effects of drawdowns, as this would widen the area against the sheath that was bereft of salt. This finally left about the deepest 1000 ft. (4500-5500 ft.) of the cavern and the contents and pressures sitting on the actual shale sheath itself from the inside.

The second thing not taken into consideration was that salt creeps. When a cavern is filled it is under pressure, plus the weight of the overburden, and when it is drawndown then the salt creeps back in with the difference in temps and pressures. In a very real way, it can be stated a salt cavern functions similar to a lung. This is due to the plasticity of salt rock. Shale has no such elasticity. It can only take so much in the way of pressure, and then it fractures, just as a rib would do in the human body.

Now, add to this that Big Hum, Marg Vag and all the oil and gas and water formation sands were pressing from the outside of the Salt Dome and pinching up against the very same shale sheath that was dealing with the cavern pressures, in almost the exact same spots but from opposing sides. When this shale sheath finally fractured, it was a mighty geologic explosion 4500-5500 ft. down. Enough of one to fracture the shale and other materials all the way to the surface, and to 6500 ft. depth.

Every bit of this was known by LDNR and Texas Brine long before the mill out that failed the MIT test, and they Plugged and Abandoned Oxy #3.

If they had drawndown the cavern one last time and Cemented the bottom 1000 ft.. then pumped back the brine and P&A’d the cavern, then this probably would not have ever happened. Due to the costs, they chose not to. LDNR knew this as well, even about the oil sands pressing against the shale sheath and cavern, due to their accessibility to Golden Gate’s proprietary 3-D 2007 survey, that no one else has been allowed to see.

I wonder what Texas Brine thinks about the cost of that cementing job now?

NEW UPDATE! Now LDNR claims, as well as SANDIA LABS, that they were referring to OXY GEISMAR #1, in the 1995 paper that produced the graphic above. This is the NEXT MOST SHALLOW SALT DOME CAVERN in the NAPOLEONVILLE SALT DOME, and was created in 1976, SN# 151645 and was known to be sitting on a SHALE INTRUSION in the Salt Dome. It was drilled to a depth of 3200 ft, ceiling of 2500 ft.and then cemented up to support a Salt Cavern. SONAR surveys of 9/20/2012  show the true deformations, and the shallow wide volumes of this very shallow 750 ft. in height cavern, mined more horizontinally, than vertically.

Please use this map for location purposes:



Oxy 1


The flat surface is the SHALE INTRUSION INTO THE SALT DOME, and please take note LDNR knew this, and permitted it still, knowing it lay at the edge of the Salt, and on SHALE!

Another Cavern bearing the Occidental name is another former Texas Brine Well #1 SN# 109979 and is just on the East side of Grand Bayou, (across from the Crosstex #1 Cavern with butane within), and is the most deformed Cavern at Napoleonville Salt Dome, and both appear to be setting upon Shale intrusions. Take note of the dogleg cemented at the bottom and the flat shale/salt rock it sits upon as well. Very confusing data……


Take Note of the Cement Wedge at the bottom, but there is more;



Even more:


This Well is currently undergoing a workover and was found to have an anomaly in the casing at 670 ft. This is just below the caprock where it enters the salt. Any anomoly could be indicative of salt rock movement, yet no details of this anomoly has been forthcoming. The flat bottom shown is the shale/salt rock, and the dogleg is the Cementing job. Texas Brine could find the money for cementing both these shallow and potentially dangerously hollow spaces on the edge and one definitely sitting upon the Shale, yet could not spare a dime to cement the bottom of Oxy #3, since it was no longer useful to their interests.

OXY GEISMAR # 1 is in danger of failure, (First two pictures shown above), due to the shallowness of it’s depths, and the width mined outwards at the top. If it is truly a brined out well at the end of its usefulness as of 2011, then why was it not plugged and abandoned?

Oxy Geismar BW#1 is being used for seismic surveying at this time, is wide open, and a geo-string has been inserted into its casing for the 3D seismic survey..


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

IMHO, No more proof is needed, but of course we shall keep building a case. The resident’s and their lawyers can now make the call as to whether to proceed with actions against Texas Brine, and the State of Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources for Willful Neglect and Harm, with Malice Aforethought, and a host of other criminal and civil charges.

Louisiana Sinkhole Operation: Bottom Kill and Top Fill


A Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP) is being performed now at the Louisiana Sinkhole in an effort to locate the source of the hydrocarbons and oil deep below the earth that was tapped into by Texas Brine’s Oxy 3 brine cavern which explosively failed on August 3rd, 2012, and created the slough in, known to local residents as the ‘Stinkhole’. This Vertical Seismic Profile will be explained in the next article.

If the VSP can locate the breach through the outer oil/gas formations, and it will without a doubt, then there is a possible way to seal off the breach and kill the source of the methane, oil, and hydrocarbons seeping to the surface of the Sinkhole-become-Lake Oxy 3.


To take care of the methane, oil, and hydrocarbons, set an oil drilling rig due west and in line with the oil sands feeding the sinkhole, (and can be obtained from Golden Gate Petroleum’s Proprietary 3 D survey map), which can drill a deep bore vertical/horizontal hole and tap into all the oil sands, from Big Hum to Marg Vag and the Cris’s to a point below the cavern breach. Making sure that the natural gas is captured and sent down the line for production.

“If need be, then two lateral bores could be also drilled off the primary, horizontally, one on each side, thus penetrating the producing zones in three places.  Cement can then be pumped in and squeeze the formation tops from below the breach.”

“This is not a new technology. it is done offshore all the time. A similar method was used to intercept the wellbore of BP MC-252 and kill it from the bottom.” according to Thad Daly, a retired Oil Drilling Engineering Veteran with 40 years of drilling experience, who collaborated with me on this article, and provided the drilling strategy for the oil sands, (although a despised Halliburton apologist and frequent agitator on most forums, in this instance, the science bears out.)

“After the cement sets, then the drill would need to pull back, set a plug, and then drill horizontally again, dropping angle to penetrate the production zones below the cemented section, thus resulting in a producing well. This would then drop the formation pressures, and in time, be depleted.” Mr. Daly states.


I, also, believe firmly that putting a small platform rig on the center of Lake Oxy 3 and using Sonar sounding, so that we can easily find the weakest and strongest point of the Seep Plug of the lake, and to determine where a rig should be placed to drill into it to bypass the aquifer and to get thru the rubble and the voids to a point at about 2500 ft, and dump drilling mud, (cement), as Stop Gaps trapping the remnants of the formation oil, gas and waters underneath the Lake and aquifer, and lending stability, (once again, all depending upon the results of the VSP.)

Perform mill outs (Drilled Out Cuts) every 500 ft. and pump cement at each interval as the pipe is sealed off, being as generous as the rock perforations will allow, to help protect the bottom of the aquifer.

Then seal the well. This will stabilize the geological area, and bring an end to the natural gas, (methane), venting into the aquifer, and as an extension, into the community and surrounding areas as well.


Then backfill the funnel of Lake Oxy 3, with a clay layer, (Bentonite)to specifications to create a ‘Claytard’, using a Suction/Pumping Barge to ensure a proper seal above the aquifer, and then place over the artificial, yet natural claytard, a layer of Rip Raff (large scrap rock), and Gabion Stone near the rim to stabilize the shape of the lake and help in remediation of the waters contained within. This will offer added protection, should any part of this process be compromised.

The reason for the Rip Raff rock is of course for overburden, and to act as a sealant protector, but the Gabion Stone composed of  limestone, will also provide a means for remediation of the swamp waters itself, as it provides a sound foundation for the last phase of the operation.


Contract with an Algae Farming Operation to remediate the surrounding swamp and sinkhole/lake, such as Aquatic Energy, in Lake Charles, LA., or others closer, or possibly even a Co-Op farming operation involving the residents as shareholders, especially considering what they have gone through, and to foster positive public relations.

Algae have the ability to carry out photosynthesis because of the chloroplast found in their cells. Algae plants have the capacity to survive in salt water. Algae act as filtering systems to remove excess ammonia, nitrates and phosphates from marine aquariums. They are also used to buffer toxins and remove metals.
In the ways described above, the subsidence/slough in/sinkhole disaster can be successfully mitigated, while maximizing profits that can be used to offset the financial losses.
As it stands, for Texas Brine to buy out every mortgage, and to provide for relocation could easily run to 30 million plus dollars, but in this way or any derivative of it, the people of Bayou Corne can come back home, and in a few years, maybe even have a nice lake for recreation.
My thanks to Mr. Thad Daly for providing the technical expertise as it relates to oil drilling. Mr. Daly has 40 years on the drilling side, specialized drilling fluids. FWIW 36 international +20 countries.
He can be reached at his Facebook page by name.


As if the storms and floods haven’t ravaged Assumption Parish, Louisiana enough recently, sparking fears that the contents of the Great Sinkhole-become-lake, are transmitting to the surrounding canals, swamps and bayous; now another threat looms on the horizon.

Many residents have been angered that Golden Gate Petroleum, Grand Gulf, and Petrodome wells at the Dugas&LeBlanc #3, and the Hensarling Well #1 Drilling Permits were approved by LDNR, and that drilling operations  were going forward while the Sinkhole formed in August of 2012, and with good justification. Any wells being drilled anywhere near the Napoleonville Salt Dome area seems the height of irresponsibility on the part of LDNR.  Although, many have defended the Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources because these permits were already in the process before the actual “Stinkhole” formed, seems empty and hollow to the victims of this environmental disaster.

(AN ASIDE: Yet as of this date, it seems the ‘Hensarling Well’ is soon to be heading, according to the reports below, towards another Mantle-type Blowout. Seems they dodged a bullet this time, but keep in mind these were just the sort of reports Mantle Oil & Gas gave in August of 2010, just before the ‘Blow Out Preventer’ failed and this occurred as shown in the video)




Now though, this ‘before stinkhole’ argument cannot apply to present day, and it is seen by many to be a ‘slap in the face’ to the homeowners that have endured so much already, then only to find out that Gulf South Operators, is now preparing to drill a 10,750 ft. well for oil and gas on the ALDEN P CHARLET, (ET AL) property;  rubber stamped by LDNR on December 21st, 2012. (Well Serial Number: 245837)

Many whom still remember the 2003 Gulf South Incident, and just shortly after it commenced operations, the Magnolia salt cavern storage facility in the Napoleonville Salt Dome, experienced a gas leak due to a crack that developed in a well casing near the top of the cavern, leading to a release of 600 million cubic feet of methane gas and led to the evacuation of nearby residents within a one mile radius of the storage facility in which residents were evacuated for 50 days, and resulted in Homeowners being bought out in the Grand Bayou community by Gulf South and Dow Chemical Corporation.

This has not yet been offered to the residents of Bayou Corne, just north of the Gulf South incident. Yet here is Gulf South again attempting to drill in a climate not very conducive to their operations, nor grateful for their timing.

Gulf South’s Permit is located at this link: http://ucmwww.dnr.state.la.us/ucmsearch/UCMRedir.aspx?url=http%3a%2f%2fdnrucm%2fucm%2fgroups%2fconservation%2fdocuments%2fooc%2f4420407.pdf

Another very interesting tidbit is contained within this permit and is the map that is also contained within it.


Please take note of the name Martin S. Triche, whose property has Shell Oil B-1 Well. This begs the question, “Is this the same Martin S. Triche that is a Lawyer, Land Owner, and is also the President of the Assumption Parish Police Jury”?

View Mr. Triche at this link: http://assumptionla.com/node/110

Is this the same Martin S. Triche that stood at the last Resident’s Meeting and stated,

“I just want to tell that you sit here and you tell us you’ve committed to doing everything you can to resolve the situation and all we can do is take you at face value,” Triche told Bruce Martin, Texas Brine’s vice president of operations, during the meeting amid a broad critique of the company’s response.

“But I can tell you, for those of you that were here, the response to the 2003 incident and what we see today are night and day,” Triche said.

Triche, a lawyer, represented Dow in later litigation over the 2003 Gulf South/Dow gas leak.


(Note: Embedding has now been disabled, so please click the youtube link in the vid window starting at the 5 minutes and 20 seconds mark of this video)

(More to be added to this story as it happens)

Louisiana Sinkhole and the Love Canal Connection



In the early morning hours of August 3, 2012, and after months of continuous tremors, and ‘bubbling sites’ of ‘swamp gas’, a portion of earth subsided and created what many locals just call, “The Stinkhole” in Bayou Corne, Louisiana operated by Texas Brine, LLC, and leased by and for the usage of the Occidental Chemical Corporation, dubbed in official records as Oxy Geismar #3 brine well.

For months on end residents complained of earthquakes and methane seeps in the swamps, and were told neither existed by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, and USGS.  Stubborn residents insisted differently, which spurred an investigation of the ‘bubble sites’ by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Quality, as well as Dr. Stephen Horton of Memphis State University to investigate and confirm resident’s suspicions of earthquakes.

This is by far, not the first incident in this area, known as the Napoleonville Salt Dome, with Gulf South Pipelines, and their Magnolia Operating Facility contained within, and the rest dominated by huge corporate interests, such as Occidental Chemical Corporation, Dow Chemical, Entergy/Koch Bros., Crosstex, Exxon-Mobil, K/D/S Promix, and a bevy of other big names in the pipeline, storage, and production of natural gas, and the drilling of oil and natural gas found in the oil sands surrounding the salt dome.

What many do not realize is that Occidental Chemicals acquired Hooker Chemical, and indeed the ruptured cavern ‘Oxy 3’ was once named ‘Hooker 8’. This is important because neither Hooker Chemical, nor Occidental are strangers to controversy or being entangled in the total destruction of entire communities and shown a total indifference towards the environment and the residential concerns of toxic health effects.

“Ending a 16-year legal case that became synonymous with toxic pollution, the Clinton administration announced Thursday that Occidental Chemical Corp. has agreed to pay $129 million to the federal government for its cost of cleaning up the Love Canal neighborhood near Niagara Falls.”

“For 11 years, beginning in 1942, Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corp., which Occidental purchased in 1968, poured about 20,000 tons of hazardous chemicals into the abandoned canal in upstate New York. Hooker sold its property for $1 in 1953 to the Niagara Falls school board.”

Source: http://articles.latimes.com/1995-12-22/news/mn-16926_1_love-canal

Below is the short story of the Love Canal.

As the good Doctor in Part 2 states, chemical solvents such as benzene, toulene, xylene, are all known cancer causing agents, cause liver disease, and even central nervous system disorders. The same chemicals and so many more have been found in the ‘sinkhole’ and industrial water wells in Bayou Corne, and has been known by the EPA, LDNR, LDEQ,Texas Brine LLC, (which is synonymous with Occidental Chemical Corporation), and all other actors involved, except the residents themselves, for years.

Below is a screen capture of just one page of the Water Well Report:



Many of these high value chemicals are known carcenogens, and according to nearly every resident I have spoken with, reports smelling the gases in the air, as ‘rotten eggs’. “If you smell it, you are inhaling it.” is the general rule.

As one resident that lived through the 2003 Gulf South/Dow methane disaster, and was relocated to Bayou Corne, Shelly Hernandez states, “My mom had seven children, and none of us can conceive..Infertility, cancer..my mom died of cancer…”

Please watch this video to the very end, for what this lady imparts to us all is chilling.

No reports have been found that informs the residents of Assumption Parish exactly what chemicals are emitted from the Lake over the sinkhole, which has now grown to the extent that it is communicating with the whole community via canals, as well as adjacent bayous, but the reports we do have from the industrial water wells tells a horrible story.

The parallels may not seem obvious, but when you have open waters, and pools kept close by the industrial water wells, such as are kept in the general vicinity, and a sinkhole transmitting oil and hydrocarbons, as well as methane, and who knows what else…. then you start to see the harmful health effects that were also suffered by those involved in the Love Canal, and as in the previous 1978 Hooker/Occidental Chem. debacle, are being completely ignored.

It took years before anyone paid attention to the Love Canal tragedy. Can we all in good conscience, ignore the victims of Belle Rose, Bayou Corne, Pierre Part, and possibly even as far as Napoleonville, again?

No matter what anyone may say about President Carter, at least he did not hesitate to declare the ‘Love Canal’ a federal disaster, whereas Obama has basically ignored the newest Love Canal, known as ‘Assumption Parish, La.’ Even the State’s own Governor Bobby Jindal refuses to visit the area, although begged to do so by his constituents, and the mainstream media also refuses to cover this disaster of unknown proportions.

While the rest of the country may be celebrating the holidays and looking forward to the New Year; the residents of Bayou Corne, and Belle Rose, wonder if the New Year will bring some answers and possibly relief, or just more political covering of all posteriors?

Before you dismiss this story as not being relevant to your world and go back to your everyday lives, consider this quote within the LA Times news article above….

“It is an issue with wide impact. The EPA says that one in four Americans, including 10 million children under the age of 12, lives within four miles of a toxic waste dump.”

What is it going to take to get someone to notice the plight of the remaining people, and of the children who wonder if they will even see a New Year?

December 24, 2012 Flyover of Bayou Corne “Oxy 3 Sinkhole” by Wings of Care.


This is Occidental Chemical Corp. and Texas Brine’s answer to the Resident’s that want to escape this nightmare!


Dangers of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and the Louisiana Sinkhole

According to Assumption Parish Police Jury;

Texas Brine has reported to parish officials low levels of H2S coming from the cavern well. DNR, Shaw representatives, and the OEP Director went to the site to validate Texas Brine’s reading and found no levels of H2S on their monitors. Readings will be repeated in the morning when Texas Brine flows the cavern well again. Should H2S be present at that time, appropriate actions will be taken. We will keep you updated.

Please note that no H2S readings were picked up on the community air monitors.


Also, take note that they also announced that Lake Oxy 3 has grown another Twenty Five Feet, so I thought it might be nice to know a little more about H2S and this was also requested by one of my readers. Thanks to Wiki, and Nora for the information contained in this article.

Hydrogen sulfide (British English: hydrogen sulphide) is the chemical compound with the formula H2S. It is a colorless, very poisonous, flammable gas with the characteristic foul odor of rotten eggs. It often results from the bacterial breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, such as in swamps and sewers; this process is commonly known as anaerobic digestion. It also occurs in volcanic gases, natural gas, and some well waters. The human body produces small amounts of H2S and uses it as a signaling molecule.

Hydrogen sulfide is slightly heavier than air; a mixture of H2S and air is explosive. Hydrogen sulfide and oxygen burn with a blue flame to form sulfur dioxide (SO2) and water. In general, hydrogen sulfide acts as a reducing agent.

Small amounts of hydrogen sulfide occur in crude petroleum, but natural gas can contain up to 90%.[7] Volcanoes and some hot springs (as well as cold springs) emit some H2S, where it probably arises via the hydrolysis of sulfide minerals, i.e. MS + H2O → MO + H2S


Presence of H2S in oilfields

Oil and natural gas are the products of the thermal conversion of decayed organic matter (called kerogen) trapped in sedimentary rocks. Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas, comprising 70 to 90%, while other gaseous hydrocarbons, butane, propane, and ethane, account for up to 20%. Naturally occurring contaminants present in natural gas and which have to be removed at natural gas processing facilities include water vapour, sand, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and rare gases such as helium and neon. High-sulphur kerogens release H2S during decomposition, which stays trapped within the oil and gas deposits and is frequently encountered in oilfields, often to high levels, as in west Texas (Schlumberger, 2007).

During oil exploration and production, H2S may enter drilling muds from subsurface formations and is also generated by sulphate-reducing bacteria in stored muds. Other sources of natural H2S emissions are volcanoes and geothermal sources such as hot springs. Natural gas, or any other gas mixture which contains significant amounts of H2S, is generally termed ‘sour’ if there are more than 5.7 milligrams of H2S per cubic meter of natural gas. This is equivalent to approximately 4 ppm by volume (http://www.naturalgas.org/naturalgas/processing_ng.asp).

Although the terms ‘acid gas’ and ‘sour gas’ are often used interchangeably, a sour gas is any gas that contains H2S in significant amounts, whereas an acid gas is any gas that contains significant amounts of acidic gases such as CO2 or SO2. CO2 by itself, therefore, is an acid gas but it is not a sour gas.

The H2S is removed (‘scrubbed’) from the sour gas by a process commonly referred to as ‘sweetening’ at what are termed desulphurization plants. Removal of H2S is normally done by absorption in an amine solution, while other methods include carbonate processes, solid bed absorbents (including solid desiccants like iron sponges) and physical absorption. The ‘amine process’ (also called the Girdler process) is used in 95% of US gas sweetening operations (http://www.naturalgas.org/naturalgas/processing_ng.asp).

In this process, sour gas is passed through a tower containing the amine solution, which has an affinity for sulphur and which absorbs it. Two main amine solutions are used: monoethanolamine (MEA) and diethanolamine (DEA). The emerging gas is virtually free of sulphur compounds and the H2S can be removed from the amine solution, allowing it to be reused to treat more sour gas.

The presence of H2S in an oilfield and, if exposed to the gas during oil and gas production, its possible impacts on human health, is a potential concern for potential UGS operators. H2S is a toxic, colourless gas that is odourless at high concentrations but has a smell of rotten eggs in low concentrations. Because H2S is heavier than air, it tends to accumulate in low-lying areas. It is an extremely poisonous gas and a few seconds of exposure in concentrations of anywhere between 750 and 10,000 ppm can prove lethal to people and animals. However, the effect of H2S depends on duration, frequency and intensity of exposure and the susceptibility of the individual

(Schlumberger, 2007). http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Display.cfm?Term=hydrogen sulfide

Research conducted at the University of Southern California Medical Facility has established nervous system damage can occur even at concentrations in air as low as 1 ppm (Chilingar & Endres, 2005).

H2S is hazardous to rig workers and is also corrosive, causing sulphide stress-corrosion cracking of metals, which may require costly special production equipment such as stainless steel tubing. A recent study concluded that H2S “will eventually destroy the integrity of both the steel and cement relied upon to prevent gas migration, including abandonments performed to the current standards of the DOGGR [Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources]. The corrosive conditions of hydrogen sulphide are well known, and have defied engineering solutions.”(Chilingar & Endres, 2005). Whilst this may be an extreme conclusion, it highlights the importance of proper procedures and monitoring of the presence and effects of H2S on plant and infrastructure. H2S is a recognized problem, with established procedures to mitigate it.

Incident at Gasfield, Chongquing, China

An incident in China illustrates the potentially deadly effects of H2S release during production from a gasfield. The disaster took place at the Chuandongbei gas field in Gao Qiao town in the north eastern part of Chongqing province. The incident involved a gas well blowout, which occurred at 10:00 pm on Tuesday, 23 December 2003 and resulted in the release of natural gas and H2S. According to press reports, the accident occurred as a drilling team was working on the 400 meter deep well and sent toxic fumes (sour gas – a high concentration of natural gas and (H2S) shooting 30 metres out of a failed well (UNEP: http://www.uneptie.org/pc/apell/disasters/china_well/china.htm#impacts )

The China Daily newspaper described the tragedy as “the worst of its kind in China’s history”.

“The poisonous gas hovering in the air made an area of 25 square kilometres a death zone, as many villagers were intoxicated by the fumes in their sleep”. Worst hit was the village of Xiaoyang next to the gas well, where 90% of the residents were killed, “many having died in their sleep or were too old to escape” (WSWS, 2003).

The incident was reported in Lloyd’s Casualty Week for 23rd Jan 2003 as follows: “officers investigating a gas leak which killed 243 people in western China have arrested three oil company workers on suspicion of dismantling safety features and mishandling drilling equipment……one of China’s worst industrial accidents…..the investigation has forced the resignation of a vice president of state owned China National Petroleum Corporation. …….The accident sent a deadly cloud of poisonous hydrogen sulphide over nearby villages in a poor mountainous area. Villagers died in their sleep or were struck down while trying to flee. More than 9,000 people were treated for injuries and 60,000 were forced to evacuate the area. Hospitals reported…… 396 were still being treated for injuries, several of them in critical condition.”


Open Letter to the Residents of Bayou Corne


It has come to my attention that some of the local resident’s of Bayou Corne are angry with many of us “Dry-Landers” not understanding what it means to live in a ‘bayou”.

One such sentiment is, “The beef the locals have with us cyber visitors is they say the Lake OXY 3 was there all along. Just covered in floating grass. And as part of the oil skimming deal they take up the grass exposing black oily water. But it is not new water they say. So they say sinkhole isn’t expanding. We are just seeing more swamp due to grass removal and tree die off.
They are getting peeved that we don’t get their view point.”

My response is this… a bayou is defined as, “a marshy arm, inlet, or outlet of a lake, river, etc., usually sluggish or stagnant. or any of various other often boggy and slow-moving or still bodies of water.”

Also I have been in the swamps many times over the last 35 years with friends all over Louisiana, so I do have a clue as well.

But I have never been in any swamp or bayou that is 145 ft. deep. That is more of a lake, and so is the reason I named that small area, “Lake Oxy 3”.

This in no way implies that there wasn’t water in a bayou to begin with, as that would be silly, but since the subsidence, (or slough off as Texas Brine and DNLR are calling it as well as slurry), the natural fresh (fresh is a stretch I know, but even stagnant is considered fresh), waters and evidently brine have co-mingled to create “Lake Oxy 3” and I named it that to remind everyone of Texas Brine and it’s customer Oxy, or Occidental.

Nor have many been claiming that the actual tear in the earth is getting larger, because we can’t see it any better than ya’ll can, so we rely on the updates just as ya’ll do.

What most of us, and LDNR are so concerned about is the rising waters. It is that time of year when the waters rise, which of course then intersects with all other surrounding waterways, canals and bayous, thereby carrying all of the crap rising out of the sinkhole, cave-in, whatever you want to call it to your back doors. The rise in the salinity of the surrounding waters is a major concern but even more alarming is the hydrocarbons that Texas Brine just got fined for not containing properly.

I quote the last 4th Amendment to Last Order, :



These are our concerns as well. Is this what you folks want to be surrounded by? As the waters of Lake Oxy 3 rise, so too shall all of the environmental and human damages also begin to rise. Even the Police Jury seems to understand as evidenced by their last statement;

“A resolution was approved requesting that Texas Brine consider providing the option of a buyout or relocation to the residents of Bayou Corne.” and ” A resolution was approved to object to any and all extensions, contingencies, or modifications to the orders invoked by the Department of Natural Resources onto Texas Brine specific to the sinkhole.”


As per the all of the above reasons, I urge all of you still in Bayou Corne to heed the Jury’s resolution. I hate letting the oil and brine and natural gas people win, and I truly believe they should be forced to pay double for all properties and relocation, but this is truly a lost cause. There is no way for Texas Brine or anyone else that will be able to contain the TPH’s, the chloride’s or the TDS’s once the waters reach that magical level when this is no longer a highly localized matter, but an area wide contamination.

So forgive all of us “Dry-Landers” for not showing more compassion and understanding when we report on just Texas Brine and LDNR, such as;



Then to hear that your neighbors over in Doyline are dealing with their own explosive crisis.

“Weather could complicate the transfer of roughly 6 million pounds of explosives that were haphazardly stored at an industrial site in northwestern Louisiana and led to the evacuation of a small town, a state police spokeswoman said Monday.” is just beyond belief and heart breaking.

Forgive us for our ignorance, but please understand our passion for getting the right thing done, and whether you know it or not, doing the right thing by all of ya’ll as well.

As Kenny Rogers said in his song, “Sometimes…you have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”

Ultimately, that choice is up to you, the people whom live in a paradise turned nightmare.