This is the best update you can get... Radchick from Nucked Radio hosts Debra Dupre and Alicia from Bayou Corne... activists for the residents of Bayou Corne, Very Informative!
Deadly gas found in salt cavern below giant sinkhole - Official Reveals: "now the cavern can't be plugged and Hydrogen Sulfide will have to be removed as it flows"
Published: December 7th, 2012 at 9:47 pm ET
Title: Well shut down at giant Louisiana sinkhole, H2S discovered
Source: WAFB 9
Author: Amber Stegall
Date Updated: Dec 07, 2012 9:07 PM EST
A cavern well had to be shut down after Hydrogen Sulfide gas was discovered. [...]
Two weeks ago, Texas-Brine detected amounts of Hydrogen Sulfide in its deepest well. Now the company has reported to the Department of Natural Resources that it has detected amounts of the gas in one of its flow lines in the failed cavern that caused the sinkhole. [...]
OEP and DNR, along with Texas-Brine tested the flow line in the cavern again Friday to see if the gas is present; that is when the low levels of Hydrogen Sulfide was discovered.
Because the gas was detected, the cavern cannot be plugged and the gas will have to be removed as it flows. “They’ll have to bring in scrubber units and put those devices in the line and scrub out the hydrogen sulfide as well as remove the hydrogen sulfide and dispose of it in the proper manner,” said [Assumption Parish Director of OEP John Boudreaux.]
Title: 1:15 p.m. Update
Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury
Date: Dec. 7, 2012
Texas Brine Oxy 3A evaluation was performed this morning and confirmed the well does have H2S present in the hydrocarbon. The Well has been shut in and a work plan is being developed to address this issue. We will update accordingly.
Watch the broadcast here
Screenshot of flyover video, click image to see the full fly over from 12/07/12
BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) - A cavern well had to be shut down after Hydrogen Sulfide gas was discovered. Texas-Brine's evaluation showed a low level of the gas, but officials say none of it has been detected in the surrounding communities.
Two weeks ago, Texas-Brine detected amounts of Hydrogen Sulfide in its deepest well. Now the company has reported to the Department of Natural Resources that it has detected amounts of the gas in one of its flow lines in the failed cavern that caused the sinkhole.
According to Assumption Parish Director of OEP John Boudreaux, officials from DNR and his office tested the company's flow line themselves for the gas Thursday but did not detect Hydrogen Sulfide.
OEP and DNR, along with Texas-Brine tested the flow line in the cavern again Friday to see if the gas is present; that is when the low levels of Hydrogen Sulfide was discovered.
Because the gas was detected, the cavern cannot be plugged and the gas will have to be removed as it flows. "They'll have to bring in scrubber units and put those devices in the line and scrub out the hydrogen sulfide as well as remove the hydrogen sulfide and dispose of it in the proper manner," said Boudreaux.
"The other vent operations will continue to monitor for H2S. None of the vent aquifer wells have shown any signs," said Boudreaux.
The Louisiana Office of Conservation ordered Texas-Brine Friday to drill two more wells to provide underground staging points for monitoring equipment. The company has until December 28 to come up with plans to drill the wells, and January 15th to have drilling rigs on-site and ready to begin drilling.
A community meeting is scheduled for Thursday night, December 13, 2012 at 6 p.m. at the Assumption Community Center.
BY DAVID J. MITCHELL
River Parishes bureau
December 08, 2012
0 Comments Dangerous hydrogen sulfide gas was detected Friday in fumes coming from crude oil drawn from an investigatory well tapped into a Texas Brine Co. LLC salt cavern in northern Assumption Parish, company and parish officials said.
The discovery of hydrogen sulfide Thursday from a methane stream flowing out of the well forced a shutdown and subsequent testing Friday of the well between the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities, officials said.
Officials were trying to determine the source of the hydrogen sulfide gas, also known as H2S. They want to continue using the well to remove oil and gas from the failed salt cavern and perform other testing.
The Louisiana Office of Conservation ordered Texas Brine to abate one of the suspected consequences of the failed underground cavern.
Company officials said Friday Texas Brine is looking at equipment to scrub the possibly sulfur-laden oil and put it in sealed transport containers to prevent any H2S releases.
“They are looking into ways to address the hydrogen sulfide issue and the sulfur in the oil,” said Sonny Cranch, spokesman for the Houston-based company.
He said the well would remain shut down until the equipment is installed.
That the oil has sulfur content is not unheard of, although Louisiana is more often known for its “sweet” crude, which has a low sulfur content. “Sour” crude has higher sulfur content.
Also, on Friday, Louisiana Office of Conservation Commissioner James Welsh ordered Texas Brine to drill two 6,000-foot-deep wells and take other steps on geotechnical work around the cavern and a related nearby sinkhole.
Welsh gave Texas Brine until Dec. 28 to submit plans and until Jan. 15 to have rigs ready to drill, threatening fines if the deadlines were not met, Conservation officials said.
“The deadlines set in these directives are aggressive, but absolutely necessary and achievable to get to the bottom of this situation,” Welsh said in a news release.
Located inside the Napoleonville Dome, the salt cavern is believed to have been broached deep underground when a side wall caved in, causing the 8-acre sinkhole, tremors and releases of oil and gas from natural formations next to the dome.
The sinkhole, found Aug. 3, prompted the evacuation of about 150 residences in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities. The evacuation remains in place.
Welsh’s latest order is a response to Texas Brine’s plan for previously ordered geophysical modeling and expansion of seismic monitoring in the vicinity of the sinkhole, he said.
Conservation staff found Texas Brine’s plans were inadequate despite follow-up meetings to provide “further clarification” about what the office needed to find out.
Conservation officials said the two new deep wells would allow use of the best available technology to get a clearer understanding of what happened.
“These wells will provide additional information about the sinkhole and will help us continue to preserve the safety of the area and get the lives of these residents back to normal,” he said.
The cavern failure, scientists think, allowed 3.3 million cubic yards of earth from outside the dome to enter the cavern previously hollowed out from the salt, leaving a collapse zone of disturbed earth alongside the dome and beneath the 8-acre sinkhole.
A shallower overhanging section of salt on the edge of the salt dome also may have collapsed along with the salt cavern wall deeper underground.
Patrick Courreges, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, of which Conservation is a part, said Friday officials want to be able to conduct seismic tests that can be shot from the base of the cavern.
The cavern’s original base is 5,650 feet deep, though the cavern has since filled with sediments and its bottom is less than 4,000 feet below ground level now, Cranch has said.
One well is to be drilled into the salt dome but to the side of the cavern, Courreges said. The other well will be drilled next to the salt dome in sediments near the collapse zone. The wells will be used in tandem to carry out seismic testing, Courreges said.
At 6,000 feet, the two wells will be nearly twice as deep at the 3,400-foot investigatory well that Welsh ordered Texas Brine to drill into the cavern in August and took the company about a month to bore.
“We will review the order and respond appropriately,” Cranch said.
The investigatory well has been used to remove about 4,000 barrels of oil and 600,000 cubic feet of methane from the cavern but the first time hydrogen sulfide was detected in that well was Thursday, Cranch said.
A previous hydrogen sulfide discovery last month in methane gas in a separate vent well forced a shutdown and planned closure of that well.
John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, acknowledged that discovery of hydrogen sulfide from the oil fumes may point to the source of the gas being different in the investigatory well than the vent well. The oil was sampled for direct testing, he said.
Boudreaux said the oil vapors from the investigatory well were measured at 28 parts per million as they diffused briefly into the atmosphere from an opened valve in equipment tied to the well.
The crude was moving past the valve at the time in a flow tube.
Another test of a sample of the oil in a sealed container found concentrations at 80 ppm without any diffusion into the atmosphere, Boudreaux said.
A test of methane, which comes up from the well before the oil, showed concentrations of only 1.75 ppm.
Thursday, 06 December 2012 10:21 By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report
For residents in Assumption Parish, the boiling, gas-belching bayou, with its expanding toxic sinkhole and quaking earth is no longer a mystery; but there is little comfort in knowing the source of the little-known event that has forced them out of their homes.
Located about 45 miles south of Baton Rouge, Assumption Parish carries all the charms and curses of southern Louisiana. Networks of bayous, dotted with trees heavy with Spanish moss, connect with the Mississippi River as it slowly ambles toward the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen and farmers make their homes there, and so does the oil and gas industry, which has woven its own network of wells, pipelines and processing facilities across the lowland landscape.
The first sign of the oncoming disaster was the mysterious appearance of bubbles in the bayous in the spring of 2012. For months the residents of a rural community in Assumption Parish wondered why the waters seemed to be boiling in certain spots as they navigated the bayous in their fishing boats.
Then came the earthquakes. The quakes were relatively small, but some residents reported that their houses shifted in position, and the tremors shook a community already desperate for answers. State officials launched an investigation into the earthquakes and bubbling bayous in response to public outcry, but the officials figured the bubbles were caused by a single source of natural gas, such as a pipeline leak. They were wrong.
On a summer night in early August, the earth below the Bayou Corne, located near a small residential community in Assumption, simply opened up and gave way. Several acres of swamp forest were swallowed up and replaced with a gaping sinkhole that filled itself with water, underground brines, oil and natural gas from deep below the surface. Since then, the massive sinkhole at Bayou Corne has grown to 8 acres in size.
On August 3, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a statewide emergency, and local officials in Assumption ordered the mandatory evacuation of about 300 residents of more than 150 homes located about a half-mile from the sinkhole. Four months later, officials continue to tell residents that they do not know when they will be able to return home. A few have chosen to ignore the order and have stayed in their homes, but the neighborhood is now quiet and nearly vacant. Across the road from the residential community, a parking lot near a small boat launch ramp has been converted to a command post for state police and emergency responders.
Read the rest of the article here: http://truth-out.org/news/item/13136-bayou-frack-out-the-massive-oil-and-gas-disaster-youve-never-heard-of
10:07 AM, Dec 6, 2012
BAYOU CORNE — Officials say vent wells burning off gas trapped in an aquifer in Assumption Parish have removed slightly more than 2.7 million cubic feet of gas since flaring began.But those same officials said what remains unclear is what kind of progress that figure represented toward diminishing the gas threat for the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities.
About 150 homes have been under an evacuation order since Aug. 3.
Scientists believe the gas migrated upward from natural formations along the Napoleonville Dome after a Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern in the salt dome failed this summer and caused a large sinkhole to form.
The parish director of emergency preparedness says more information is needed about what has happened to free the gas in the aquifer.
Thursday By David J. Mitchell
River Parishes bureau
December 07, 2012
“The fact is, nothing vented into the atmosphere as best as anybody could ascertain.” SONNY CRANCH, Texas Brine Co. spokesman
Hydrogen sulfide gas was detected Thursday morning in equipment that is part of an operation designed to burn off methane from a cavern beneath Texas Brine’s salt dome site in Assumption Parish, officials said.
But the potentially dangerous hydrogen sulfide gas does not appear to have escaped into the atmosphere from the salt cavern well between the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities, parish and company officials said.
“The fact is, nothing vented into the atmosphere as best as anybody could ascertain,” said Sonny Cranch, spokesman for the Houston-based company.
Detection occurred between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and led to the shutdown of the well, said John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
The colorless gas, which has a rotten egg smell, is flammable and can be poisonous at high enough concentrations, but it also is a common problem that accompanies oil and gas drilling. The gas is heavier than air and can spread long distances aboveground.
Boudreaux said a subsequent test by parish officials later Thursday morning did not detect the gas on Texas Brine’s site and community-based air monitors also have not detected hydrogen sulfide.
The cavern well is one Texas Brine had been ordered to drill months ago by the state Office of Conservation to investigate the company’s failed salt cavern in the Napoleonville Dome south of La. 70 South.
As well as diagnostic testing of the cavern, the investigatory well is being used to remove crude oil and vent methane gas from the cavern.
Cranch said workers were removing oil and gas Thursday, detected a faint rotten egg smell and saw that the flare attached to the well appeared to burning off hydrogen sulfide.
A worker inserted an analysis device in a valve providing access inside a pipe that carries the methane to the flare stack, Cranch said. The piping is part of separating equipment that divides oil and gas rising up from the investigatory well.
The worker found a reading of 19 parts per million inside the flow pipe at a point before the gas reached the flare, Cranch said.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says workers should not be exposed to hydrogen sulfide already diffused in the atmosphere at 20 parts per million for more than 15 minutes in a work day.
The federal worker-safety agency says concentrations of 100 ppm are immediately dangerous to life and health, and death has been known to occur within 30 minutes at concentrations greater than 600 ppm.
The rotten egg odor can be faintly detected at 0.3 ppm and eye irritation can occur at 10 to 20 ppm, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says.
Scientists believe the Texas Brine cavern failure caused a sinkhole to form between the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou areas just east of the dome and set in motion an underground chain of events that released oil and gas from natural pockets along the salt dome.
Boudreaux said officials plan to monitor the well Friday during oil and gas removal to see whether hydrogen sulfide can be detected again.
Texas Brine officials encountered hydrogen sulfide Nov. 19 in a separate vent well on the company site south of La. 70 South.
A small amount of the gas escaped into the atmosphere for about five seconds from a similar separator unit designed to divide water and gas from the vent well, officials have said.
The gas was found in the well bore and appeared to have come in contact with water in a separation tank. Company officials have said they shut in that vent well and plan to permanently plug it.
The well reached nearly 500 feet deep to the salt dome caprock, an area of salt domes known to contain sulphur in some cases.
Other vent wells still burning off trapped methane under the Bayou Corne area are much shallower.
Boudreaux said scrubbing equipment can be installed to keep the hydrogen sulfide from escaping from the investigatory well. That well reaches past the caprock and inside the salt dome to the top of the Texas Brine salt cavern at a depth of 3,400 feet.
11:00 PM, Dec 6, 2012
BAYOU CORNE — Officials say vent wells burning off gas trapped in an aquifer in Assumption Parish have removed slightly more than 2.7 million cubic feet of gas since flaring began.
But those same officials told The Advocate what remains unclear is what kind of progress that figure represented toward diminishing the gas threat for the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities.
About 150 homes in the area have been under an evacuation order since Aug. 3.
Scientists believe the gas migrated upward from natural formations along the Napoleonville Dome after a Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern in the salt dome failed this summer and caused a large sinkhole to form in swamps south of La. 70 South.
Methane had been bubbling up in area waterways for more than two months before the sinkhole was found Aug. 3 and continued to bubble up Wednesday with no significant decrease, parish officials said.
John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said more information is needed about what has happened to the free methane believed in the aquifer under the area.
"It's to be determined," he said Wednesday.
Boudreaux and Texas Brine officials have noted that the rate of gas flow from vent wells has declined since flaring began.
Sonny Cranch, spokesman for Houston-based Texas Brine, said there is an indication the gas flow is diminishing but noted, as Boudreaux did, that water in the vent wells or other restrictions might be limiting the flow.
However, the reduced vent well flow may not necessarily reflect a reduction of gas volume in the aquifer, he cautioned.
The failure of the Texas Brine cavern also unleashed crude oil from pockets along the salt dome that found its way upward and into the sinkhole, which now has a surface area of more than 8 acres, as well as into the broken Texas Brine cavern, scientists believe.
Scientists suggest that a company's failed cavern in Napoleonville Salt Dome might have tapped the "Big Hum," an oil- and gas-bearing formation thousands of feet deep, but were unable to say Thursday how much oil and gas is there in the Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster area, an ongoing concern resulting in the local school changing route this week.
While the amount of gas leaking at the Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster area has diminished with the flaring, scientists with Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Office of Conservation and its contracted agent, Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure, have suggested Texas Brine's failed cavern tapped an oil- and gas-bearing formation thousands of feet deep known as the “Big Hum.”
The experts were are unable to say how much gas is there or if it has traveled elsewhere. Nor have the officials confirmed which formation or formations the gas and crude are coming from.
The amount of gas being released by flaring had seemingly diminished since Texas Brine began venting it. Officials said last month at a resident briefing that if that diminishing occurred, it would be no reason to think that the gas is not building elsewhere.
“Study is ongoing by Office of Conservation staff and Shaw E&I to determine the potential volume in place, but more work is needed to gather and analyze data to develop a useful estimate,” said Patrick Courreges, spokesman for the state DNR.
The Shaw Group has been contracted by DNR to work on the historic oil and gas industry-related man-made disaster through environmental modifications, called ENMOD, a human rights violation.
At the meeting last month, Shaw Group Environmental's key geologist on the sinkhole team of experts, Dr. Gary Hecox warned residents that an explosion was possible and that residents needed to heed the mandatory evacuation.
Industrial grade gas monitors were to be placed in resident's homes with their approval and written application.
Governor Bobby Jindal declared a mandatory evacuation two months after locals had been reporting gas leaks bubbling in bayous and earthquakes, later determined to number in the thousands.
The rate of oil removal from the cavern has also diminished and new oil appearing on the sinkhole surface has diminished substantially, Texas Brine spokesperson Sonny Cranch said Tuesday morning.
Courreges said that the Office of Conservation and Shaw are still "analyzing the crude to determine the age of the formation or formations that are the source or sources of the oil and gas being stirred up by the sinkhole-forming events," the Advocate reports.
Fears of methane explosions and other chemical related injuries and diseases are impacting daily life in the Bayou Corne, Grand Bayou and Pierre Part communities, some 50 miles from Baton Rouge. These bayou and swampland community homes are above the 1-mile by 3-mile salt dome.
More information is needed about what has happened to the methane believed to be in the aquifer under the communities, according to John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness on Wednesday.
“It’s to be determined,” Boudreaux said.
This week, extra seismic activity was recorded in the areas of #3 and #8 monitors, according to the USGS helicorder reports. Last month, the state ordered that Texas Brine provide more seismic monitors.
Near the fractured salt dome, new drilling authorized by the DNR recently reached its 12,550 feet aim, just as seismic activity increased in the sinkhole disaster area.
Petrodome, an Australian backed company, Grand Gulf Energy Ltd., began drilling in late October after the Louisiana DNR issued to it a permit on Aug. 17, less than two weeks after the sinkhole formed and Gov. Jindal declared a State of Emergency.
(See: Sinkhole area quaked, dome collapsed more as oil drilling reached 12,349 feet)
Tuesday, nerve-shattered locals were telephoning the Office of Emergency Preparedness to inquire about a loud noise near the Command Post.
"This noise was in fact a blowout on a truck hauling a mobile home," officials reported in a blog post.
Monday, a shallow well called a Geoprobe, hit gas 30 feet below homes on Crawfish Stew Street in Bayou Corne. In response, Assumption Parish school officials redirected a bus route from that neighborhood, according to school and parish officials.
When word of the gas find got out, the bus driver became concerned about driving through the neighborhood with 34 Assumption High School students on board, according to School Superintendent Earl “Tibby” Martinez.
Daily, the bus drives children from Grand Bayou, Bayou Corne, and Pierre Part through the disaster area under mandatory evacuation, a major concern for locals in each of those communities. Only about two-thirds of the Bayou Corne residents have heeded the mandatory evacuation declared four months ago.
Parish officials have said the possibility of a methane explosion is real but to date, they have not forced Bayou Corne residents to leave.
Pierre Part is excluded in the mandatory evacuation area, but children there are exposed to the disaster area daily. Citizens throughout the nation have petitioned the Gov. Jindal to expand the mandatory evacuation area to protect nearby children and families, to no avail.
Martinez said the school bus stop was moved to Jambalaya and Gumbo streets, close to La. 70 but off the highway that runs right past the sinkhole. The sinkhole has expanded so much, eight acres, it can now be easily viewed from Hwy. 70 in the evacuation zone.
As a new safety precaution this week, the school bus does not go into that neighborhood 30 feet over the gas. Six students who live there must now meet the bus at the new pickup point closer to the highway in the disaster mandatory evacuation area.
“We’re just trying to comply and see what we can do and mind the safety of all the kids,” Martinez said.
The next resident briefing with officials is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7:00 P.M. in Pierre Part at the St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church Hall, according to officials.
Gov. Jindal has yet to make an appearance to visit locals impacted by sinkhole disaster where he declared a State of Emergency four months ago. Outraged by the governor's apparent lack of concern for them and their children, locals have requested that Jindal attend the Dec. 18 meeting.