Scientists question if seismic activity near giant sinkhole is from recent effort to remove crude oil and gas

Published: October 27th, 2012 at 8:51 am ET


Title: Officials pinpoint tremor locations
Source:  The Advocate
Date: October 27, 2012

Sharp tremors have been recorded four to five times since Oct. 16 as coming from the northwest corner of the Napoleonville Dome in northern Assumption Parish, parish officials and earthquake researchers reported Friday. […]


John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said Friday that the group of scientists working with DNR on the sinkhole investigation is looking at whether Texas Brine’s removal of crude and natural gas from the failed cavern may be connected to the [sharp tremors that have been recorded four to five times since Oct. 16 as coming from the northwest corner of the Napoleonville Dome].

Boudreaux cautioned there is no indication of a connection so far, but the group is still looking at the possibility.


Officials were told on Oct. 16 (the day the quakes began, according to the report above) that Texas Brine began removing crude oil and natural gas from the failed cavern: “Texas Brine has reported to us that the process of re-brining the cavern to remove hydrocarbons has begun. We will provide updates on this operation as we receive information.”

Published: October 27th, 2012 at 8:51 am ET


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  3. Officials: Increased seismic activity reported near giant sinkhole February 4, 2013
  4. Alert level raised at giant sinkhole — Liquid moving on surface — Elevated seismic activity April 1, 2013
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14 comments to Scientists question if seismic activity near giant sinkhole is from recent effort to remove crude oil and gas

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Are they trying to say that removal of materials in the salt domes is causing more collapsing?…probably.
    Pressures destabilizing..etc.
    The salt is dissolving…at what point will it stop?

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Heart, I read that the falling debris was what was causing the tremors which made no sense to me kind of like this statement. Obviously they are not sure what is happening only that a major frack out occurred and is wreaking havoc on the area above and below.

  • Gakerri

    Here are a few questions that I have now that it has been officially confirmed that both the salt cavern (5650 feet) below sinkhole AND the outer west edge/wall of salt dome has failed… questions originated from looking at this graphic:

    ·How deep does the west wall of the salt dome extend below the failed cavern?
    ·How much of the west wall of the salt dome failed? Only the area around the failed cavern?
    ·Do they expect a stable (new) west wall to form that will be able to support the 1×3 mi salt dome (that contains 50+ caverns, butane, etc.)?
    ·Will fresh/rain water continue to erode the salt dome?
    ·Is it possible that the sinkhole may expand/merge/erode the caprock over the entire dome? What would be the impact? Thanks.

    • davidh7426 davidh7426

      From what little I know of geology, here are some answers to your questions –

      1 : Your guess is as good as theirs and probably just as accurate.

      2 : See answer 1.

      3 : Only if they believe in miracles… Salt CAN recrystallize, but I doubt that it'll be in the amounts required to rebuild the west wall.

      4 : YES, at least for as long as the water can reach the salt… It would have happened anyway, but not for several millenia… Man has just speed up the process, rather like pushing down the accelerator pedal on a moving car.

      5 : A definite possibility, if your referring to the cap-rock collapsing, though that will depend on the structural strength of the rock & the amount of support below it.

    • davidh7426 davidh7426

      … addendum to answer 5 : The impact : At a minimum – a large lake, at a maximum – Possible complete & catastrophic collapse, with possible repercussions on both the local environment over a large area & any local fault lines.

  • patb2009

    ah they are trying to get product out now but some shill was on here claiming it's already been removed. if texas brine is paying shills it must be really bad.

    is texas brine traded?

    the bankers who lend to texas brine should be very careful

  • kalidances

    @Patb2008 Texas Brine used to be a subsidiary of Bayer AG until 2011. I wonder why they dumped all of their Texas Brine shares in 2011?

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      Texas Brine was consolidated on Bayers financials for years, Kali, but was always claimed as 0% owned on Bayer's statements. Texas Brine is now (2011 Annual Report) classified as a special purpose entity by Bayer. The asterisk by the % owned figure on the Texas Brine line relates to this end note:

      * fully consolidated special-purpose entity according to IAS 27 in conjunction with SIC-12

      So I suppose its however you want to define 'subsidiary', but Texas Brine is controlled by Bayer and has its financials consolidated with all Bayer's other subsidiaries. That didn't change last year – just Bayer's wording on the asterisk. For all practical purposes, they function as a subsidiary of Bayer.

  • razzz razzz

    Texas Brine is a private company with no shares issued. Doesn't mean publicly traded companies can't invest in it, because they have at times.

    Texas Brine did empty their cavern and was then ordered to fill the cavern with brine solution to fill in the void. To late, it appears. The side of the dome already collapsed inward so there is no wall on that side to contain any brine pumped in. All the while, hydrocarbons (oil and gas) are seeping into the breached cavern sidewall and making their way to the surface. Mainly showing up at the sink hole.

    If this is sweet crude, then it is very light and will continue indefinitely rising to the surface.

    Further collapsing of the caverns or parts of the salt dome will create sort of a liquid filled hole all the way to the surface…a big gooey lake, if you will.

    Crude or oil is usually very hot in temperature. No telling what it is doing to the salt dome and then fresh water infiltrating the salt dome just adds to the problems as it melts the salt.

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    Moving the butane will take a year, according to the company. In the salt dome, Crosstex stores in one of its two caverns off Highway La. 70, 1500 feet from the Bayou Corne sinkhole, around 900,000 barrels of butane for third parties “not directly under contract with Crosstex," according to The Advocate.

    Residents and some officials continue fearing that Crosstex’s butane could cause an explosion. The company, backed by DNR and the DEQ, says its cavern poses little to no threat to residents near the sinkhole.

    Crosstex, owner of the butane-filled well in Napoleonville Salt Dome only 1500 feet from the sinkhole, provided a misleading report yet led officials to state there is little to no danger, according to Brown and Knudsen on August 18 who showed the company analysis is flawed.

    “I think they are misguiding us with their evaluation,” retired neuroscientist Brown told Dupré, concurring with energy research consultant Dr. Steven Knudsen, a physicist.

    Atkins’ letter says worst-case scenario would be a pipe failure releasing 8,400 gallons of butane that could lead to a level of pressure change, at a distance of 1,600 feet, that parish officials have said would break windows. That pressure could result from an ignition of the butane, said John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

    • vivvi

      And these are the same people who are saying they don't have any idea how to proceed cos this has bever happened before. How can they possibly know whether the butane could be breached or not? All these quakes indicate cracking somewhere, and salt IS fragile. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      Butane is dangerous, period. But the discussion about dangers for Crosstex #2 is off.

      Brown says, "…The pressure at the bottom of a 2000'foot column of butane may be 520 psi because of the weight of the butane. However, if the top of the well is opened to the air, the pressure at the top of a column of butane 2000 feet underground is only 16 psi because of the weight of the air column – only slightly greater than on the surface (14 psi)…"

      There's butane gas in the pipe, not air. The top of this cavern is 1720' underground. The top of the liquid butane when all this started was 2000' underground and went down to 3000'.

      "…Crosstex discusses the case of a 2000-foot column of butane, but it's unclear how deep the top of the butane pool is…"

      Crosstex *said* its 2000' down.

      “…In any event,” Brown continued, “the air pressure would be less than the vapor pressure of the butane and the liquid butane would start evaporating…"

      Crosstex said the vapor pressure of *their* butane is 25 psi – it's probably not pure. The pressure at the top of the liquid butane is 15 psi surface + a 2000' column of butane gas, or another 16 psi, = 31 psi. At the wellhead, you're not getting any butane at atmospheric pressure. Worst case is your going to get butane at only a couple of psi.

      "…it’s probably closer to 80 deg at 2000 feet…"

      Not in a salt cavern. More like 65 and they cool the butane.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Assumption Parish Flyover ..Oct.29 2012