BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh today issued an amended directive to Texas Brine that- if followed promptly by the company- could cut months off the time needed to assess the impact the company’s failed cavern has had on the stability of the west side of the Napoleonville Salt Dome and the surrounding area. Under the amended directive, Texas Brine will be required to use the 3-D seismic survey process to assess the area around the sinkhole and provide the information from that process to the Office of Conservation for analysis by April 21. The information obtained will help agencies on the ground ensure the continued safety of the people in the area and help determine the problems caused by Texas Brine’s failed cavern.
The new directive replaces the portion of Conservation’s December 2012 directive requiring the drilling of two 6,000-foot geotechnical wells – one on either side of the failed cavern and sinkhole site. The primary purpose of the original geotechnical well directive was to drill wells that could house imaging equipment so experts could better assess the area and identify the extent of any potential subsurface void spaces, as well as determine the source of the crude oil and natural gas that were released by the cavern failure. The 3-D seismic survey process will achieve the same purpose, but in a quicker amount of time.
“The Office of Conservation continues to look at all ways to expedite the response to Texas Brine’s failed cavern so we can ensure the safety of the public now and in the future and return these people’s lives back to normal,” Welsh said. “Texas Brine has indicated it can meet this shorter timeline by using 3-D seismic imaging, and we hope this is a sign that the company is finally beginning to respond with the sense of urgency required in responding to this ongoing situation.”