Friday, August 3, 2012

BREAKING: LA Sinkhole @ salt-dome gas storage facility swallowing acres of forest, evacuations. ordered.

Please distribute widely on all lists...

TX Sharon has another scoop...

A large sinkhole has formed in Napoleonville, Assumption Parrish LA is swallowing up acres of forest.
Recently, there have been tremors in the area, and gas bubbling seen.

This is over a salt-dome gas storage facility
similar to the one proposed by Inergy, LP at the
old US Salt facility in Watkins Glen, NY.

In 1980, a giant whirlpool drained Lake Peigneur, due to the collapse
of a similar salt dome, during a drilling accident.

Watch the video, where they state that "gas storage in salt domes
under lakes are not stable".

Lake Peigneur is ~5m from the famous "Henry Hub" where
US nat. gas prices are set.

The Napoleonville, Assumption Parrish sinkhole is ~20 mi from Henry Hub.

Check TX Sharon's blog for news links and updates...
(This is a breaking story and I can't find any video yet)

I just spoke with someone on the ground in Assumption Parish, LA where a huge sinkhole has swallowed up acres of trees. A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for 150 homes and they expect the sinkhole to grow another 2000 feet. The sinkhole is over a natural gas storage area. Last night and this morning residents reported smelling a diesel like odor near the sinkhole.
WAFB has some reporting and I will update this post as I get additional information.

Evacuations ordered near "slurry area" in Assumption

BY David j. mitchell
River Parishes bureau
August 03, 2012


The "potential failiure" of an inactive and plugged Texas Brine Co. LLC salt-mining cavern is likely the cause of a slurry area, or sinkhole, that emerged overnight Thursday in the Bayou Corne community of Assumptoin Parish, state officials said Friday.
Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a statewide emergency Friday evening because of the risk of subsidence and subsurface instability that threatens lives and property.

The state of emergency lasts until Sept. 2 unless ended sooner, the executive proclamation says.

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle also issued an emergency order Friday instructing Texas Brine to evaluate the structural integrity of the salt cavern — part of the massive Napoleonville Salt Dome — and remediate any problems, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said in a news release.

DNR officials, in consultation with scientists, determined the potential failure may not only have caused the slurry area, or sinkhole, that has swallowed full-grown trees but may be the source of releases of natural gas that have bubbled up in nearby bayous and up through a nearby water well for more than two months, the news release says.

Angelle gave Texas Brine 24 hours to begin evaluation and remediation efforts, the news release says.

"Final determination of a positive link between the Texas Brine Co. cavern and either the natural gas bubbling or the slurry area has not been made," the news release says.

A few hours before the state of emergency was issued, Assumption Parish officials had ordered an evacuation of the Bayou Corne area, effective immediately.

Parish Police Jury President Marty Triche said that after speaking with Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and Governor's Office officials, that he was advised there is a risk that the slurry area appears to be expanding and there is a risk, though not probable, that the area could expand to a size of about 2,000 feet across.

Triche said authorities are concerned that if the slurry area expands to that extent, it could affect natural gas wells, water wells and other wells working the nearby Napoleonville salt dome.

Triche added that sheriff's deputies would not make area residents move, but he was issuing a mandatory evacuation order similar to one that would go out if a hurricane threatens the area.

The parish president said the evacuation area extends from a point just west of Bayou Corne and La. 70 eastward to the point where La. 69 intersects La. 70.

He added that La. 70 would remain open to vehicular traffic.

A large "slurry area" that has toppled trees formed overnight Thursday in the swamps of northern Assumption Parish below La. 70 where unexplained gas bubbles have been rising from nearby bayous and tremors have been felt for more than two months, parish officials said.
The formation of the "slurry area," which parish officials initially described as a sinkhole, was also accompanied early Friday by a slight diesel smell in the area that has since dissipated, parish officials said.

The odor prompted parish officials to call in a variety of state agencies Friday morning.

In a statement released mid-Friday morning, Assumption Parish officials changed the terminology they were using to describe the occurrence in the swamp, which they originally called a sinkhole.

Kim Torres, parish Police Jury secretary-treasurer, said parish officials are calling the muddy patch a slurry area because the term "sinkhole" creates the wrong impression in people's minds.

She said the area is not a pit that things are falling inside.

"Obviously, it could change, but right now, that's not what it is," Torres said.

She said the area looks as if the earth has turned over upside down, creating a slushy, muddy area that has caused trees to collapse.
John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, initially estimated the area was about 200 feet by 200 feet.

He said the area is on private land near the Texas Brine Co. LLC facility.

The mid-morning news release said the slurry area is about half-mile from La. 70. It is 2,500 feet from the nearest residence, 600 feet from nearby pipelines and 1,900 feet from the nearest bubbling location.

Bob Gresser, a spokesman for Houston-based Texas Brine, said employees detected a hydrocarbon smell resembling diesel in the vicinity of a plugged well tied to a salt cavern around 6:30 a.m.

Gresser said the well and the nearby "slurry area" are on Texas Brine property. He said company officials do not believe the smell was emanating from the well, which has been out of service for two years. He said they believe it was coming from the "slurry area" although that is still under investigation.

He said the brine facility is operating normally and company officials are cooperating with authorities. A brine facility mines salt from the Napoleonville dome and then stores hydrocarbons such as natural gas in the caverns that remain after mining is completed.
Parish Homeland Security has started 24 hour operations effective immediately.

Natural gas has been seeping up from Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou, which run below and along the side of the area of the reported "slurry area". A suspected water well in the same area has also been venting natural gas.
Residents have also reported contemporaneous tremors in the area, which has a known fault and a salt dome that is mined for brine and used for storage of natural gas and other hydrocarbons.

Federal, state and parish official have been unable so far to pin down the cause of the earthquakes or the source of the natural gas releases, despite of battery of tests on the oil, gas and brine production infrastructure in the area.

It was not immediately clear whether the smell and "slurry area" are related to the natural gas bubbles, the earth tremors or each other.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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