Official: Reports that butane release from salt cavern could be like H-bomb explosion are “a little bit over the top” — Company Plan: Butane could damage out two-thirds of a mile… Update due by end of day

Published: August 15th, 2012 at 10:39 am ET
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Title: DEQ seeks salt cavern butane scenario
Source: The Advocate
Author: DAVID J. MITCHELL
Date: August 15, 2012

[...]

The Crosstex salt cavern, which holds 940,000 barrels of liquid butane under pressure, is 1,600 feet from the sinkhole on the adjacent Texas Brine Co. LLC property south of La. 70 south.

[...]

When asked Tuesday, Chris Piehler, DEQ Enforcement Division administrator, said reports that release of the butane from the Crosstex cavern could be equivalent to an H-bomb explosion are “a little bit over the top.”

“I think that is alarmist,” [Rodney Mallett, DEQ spokesman] added.

[...]

DEQ officials said Crosstex’s updated plan submitted in January considers risks for butane, natural gas and other gases and suggests a full release might lead to windows being broken at two-thirds of mile.

[...]

DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch asked for an updated worst-case scenario from Crosstex by the close of business on Wednesday

Published: August 15th, 2012 at 10:39 am ET
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13 comments to Official: Reports that butane release from salt cavern could be like H-bomb explosion are “a little bit over the top” — Company Plan: Butane could damage out two-thirds of a mile… Update due by end of day

  • many moons

    They love to speculate about what will happen with such certainty…meanwhile they still have no idea of what the true nature of the problem is…..they have got a clue!


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  • markww markww

    One person out at the parish I just read on another site says the salt dome could grow another 2,000 feet which would take the BUTANE well Too. Explosion / Fire would blow everything up for miles and I am a retired fore captain


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    From the posted story.
    "Crosstex has two underground storage caverns for butane and propane in the vicinity of the sinkhole with a combined capacity of more than 3.1 million barrels, according to financial filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."


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  • CB CB

    The official report might read something like: A small (highly unlikey) threat exists of a minor explosion. Any release of radiation into the atmosphere would be minimal, and would pose no immediate threat to citizens. We're letting the kids back in the water to play in the bubbles.


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  • Avid AvidJ

    I agree that all the paper napkin calculations that people are making comparing a potential butane explosion at the site to an h-bomb are a bit simplistic.

    The stuff I've read assumes that the full ~1 million barrels would go up at once. The good news is that butane requires oxygen to burn. It seems (to me at least) that it would be pretty improbable for ALL of that butane to mix with enough air (and remain at a high enough density) to fully combust in one huge explosion.

    Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that site if it went up. If we're playing the speculation game, I'd think there'd probably be an underground explosion that would be self-limited by the amount of oxygen that hypothetically would have leaked into the cavern, and then perhaps smaller secondary explosions that might touch off one or more of the biggest Bic lighters you have ever seen at exit points on the surface.

    That's my guess at least.


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  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    I worry mostly, that like at Fukushima, we have a situation that not only are we not in control of, have no idea how to control, we also have no idea what new and improved molecules could possibly come from all of these chemicals including sodium getting potential very hot.. what do we get? No idea.. remember buckey balls? Then lets consider the potential for the pipes moving that crap in.. all of a sudden are moving that crap out under high pressure and heat from some sort of unknown chemical reaction never considered before.. potential expanding the "fallout" area..

    Lots to consider.. even if over the top.. better consider the worst case scenario and get the people out of there.. oh wait.. trying to control losses is probably a much bigger concern…

    Do not wait for the officials to tell you..

    If you live in the area.. time to bug out!


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  • markww markww

    Ok lets look at this from a standpoint vapor from liquid is about 1,600 parts to one.I am 68 miles from Brenham Texas. about a dozen years ago a gas well LP GAS was leaking from the overflow burn pipe. This is a 2 inch pipe where gas burns off.The ignition system did not work and raw gas escaped and covered the ground for about a mile in diameter and there was no pressure. When the blast hit it shook my home and cracked windows and I AM 68 MILES AWAY.

    Now over in Louisiana you have pressure and the original salt dome can spread another 2,000 feet taking the BUTANE dome and it is under pressure and liquid it will make such a explosion that can wipe out 10 miles of land and structures and crack windows. Besides the boom will go across the Gulf (WATER) the noise and over pressure and tear up homes and windows 100's of miles


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    • weeman

      Listen to this man he knows, was fire captain and is very knowledgable,
      I would like to ask you a question, when the twin towers fell down, did the fire captains know it was only a matter of time before they collapsed.


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  • dosdos dosdos

    The critical point in an explosion like this is access to oxygen. For it all to go up at once, it all would need adequate oxygen mixed in for the flash burn. The companies storing the butane would be an idiot to mix in oxygen with the butane in storage. The most destructive would probably be a chain reaction, a series of explosions of lesser intensity as oxygen became available at the right mixture. How big it might get depends on how it collapses.


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  • Anonymouse

    PLUS 1.5 MILLION MORE barrels of propane nearby.
    AND BILLIONS of cubic feet of natural gas…
    not to mention the radioactive was stored here also!

    Doesn't anyone care about what this means in relation to the New Madrid Fault?

    When it had its last major event,
    the Mighty Mississippi Riverran BACKWARDS!

    There were literally THOUSANDS of earthquakes recorded in the vicinity of this sinkhole/salt dome gas
    storage facility in June&July this year.

    This sinkhole is just the tip of the iceberg…


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