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

 

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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: 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

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.

OXY1 NW PIC

North West Side (left) pointing towards OXY 3

http://ucmwww.dnr.state.la.us/ucmsearch/UCMRedir.aspx?url=http%3a%2f%2fdnrucm%2fucm%2fgroups%2fconservation%2fdocuments%2fooc%2f4338319.pdf

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.

A3D

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:

acavernsketch1997a

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.

http://www.sandia.gov/research/research_foundations/geoscience/

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.”

http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130302/APN/1303020539

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..
 
Why?
 
 
At the bottom of this document is also contained a PLAT map of all OWNERS of the property, and adjacent land owners. OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORP. Owns the land, and the Cavern, (OXY GEISMAR 3), and Texas Brine owns nothing but the casing and operates the well.
 
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Because according to the recent decision of the courts, the OWNER IS RESPONSIBLE for the CAVERN, and not the on-site OPERATOR.

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

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

COURT CASE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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