The Office of Conservation, following discussions with Assumption Parish Incident Command, has issued a new order to Texas Brine, directing the company to conduct new tests to further assess conditions in the vicinity of the company’s Oxy Geismar 2 cavern, located to the east of the failed Oxy Geismar 3 cavern. In recent weeks, the seismic monitoring system that Conservation ordered Texas Brine to install has detected increased seismic activity that appears to have been located in or near the eastern wall of the original Oxy Geismar 3 cavern.
The number and strength of the seismic events, while elevated, have since diminished and were much lower than those witnessed in previous major events such as sinkhole sloughing or the initial failure of Oxy Geismar 3. Though that activity has decreased and the two caverns are several hundred feet apart, the Office of Conservation is requiring a full assessment of the Oxy Geismar 2 cavern to ensure protection of the public and the environment – ordering Texas Brine to conduct a pressurized Mechanical Integrity Test, run a new top-to-bottom sonar survey and develop an action plan if any issues are identified. While the strength and number of events in the recent seismic activity are not, by themselves, indicative of significant new problems, part of the purpose of the seismic monitoring network is to detect activity at an early stage and give time to assess whether additional actions are necessary.
A copy of the directive is available on DNR’s Bayou Corne web page at http://dnr.louisiana.gov/assets/OC/BC_All_Updates/ORDER_DIRECTIVES/Emergency.11th.08.2014.pdf