Assumption Parish OEP Director John Boudreaux, DNR Secretary Stephen Chustz, and Dr. Gary Hecox, CB&I Bayou Corne Science Lead, and other members of DNR and CB&I staff met today at DNR in Baton Rouge with Texas Brine officials and consultants to provide the company with guidance on several issues related to determining gas extent and location in the aquifer and shallower soils and venting it more efficiently, including:
∙ Moving forward with CB&I-recommended method to improve vent well performance of existing wells through actively swabbing plugged perforations and installing pumps to continuously remove water from wellbores to minimize buildup of sand/clay in well perforations and ensure water weight in well bore does not prevent flow of gas to flares. The initial test of the new vent well operation method is to be applied to existing vent wells within the next two weeks.
∙ Based on results of this initial testing, alterations to vent well design for future vent wells will be determined as part of the ongoing efforts to improve venting performance overall. Analysis of vent well data requested by the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) and provided by Texas Brine is currently ongoing by CB&I. The goal is to improve the vent well design and operations for removing gas from the aquifer. This initial analysis is being reported to the BRC Friday.
∙ Following detailed technical discussions regarding the ongoing with cone penetrometer testing (CPT) program to define gas in the aquifer, it was agreed that the current CPT equipment and procedures can continue to be used to identify gas zones in the aquifer. In addition, it was agreed that an enhanced direct push method based using a new probe (Membrane Interface Probe/Hydraulic Profiling Tool) – which, in limited use in Bayou Corne area, thus far has shown promise for direct detection of natural gas–has the potential to more readily determine the location of gas zones in the aquifer and shallower subsurface. This agreement includes analysis of the early CPT to determine if some of the initial CPT work needs to be repeated.
∙ Standards for safe operations in conducting CPTs and plugging CPT boreholes, as well as communicating to the public when and where work will be conducted in the community, will have to be met if Texas Brine is to be allowed to resume CPTs in the community.
State and parish officials also made clear to company officials and all contractors working in the Bayou Corne response that they are to be respectful of members of the community and their property when working in the residential areas, and that even when conducting work on property for which they have access agreements, contractors are to ensure that property owners are notified of what work is to be conducted and when.