Officials: Crude oil source may link sinkhole and failed cavern - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Officials: Crude oil source may link sinkhole and failed cavern

Posted: Updated:
Source: Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Source: Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

Information from Department of Natural Resources:

BATON ROUGE, LA - Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh said Wednesday that detailed, comparative analysis has revealed that the liquid hydrocarbon from the failed Texas Brine cavern and samples from the nearby sinkhole/slurry area strongly indicate that both are naturally occurring crude oil and not diesel – likely from the same underground source.

Experts theorized that early analysis of the substance coating the surface of the sinkhole/slurry area showed it could be a "diesel-range" hydrocarbon – meaning it contains some of the same hydrocarbons as refined diesel fuel; however, that classification has now been ruled out.

Welsh said that early analysis was primarily aimed at establishing potential toxic effects, and used the term "diesel-range" as a rough classification, with further analysis needed to determine the nature of the substance more precisely.

"Distinguishing between ‘diesel fuel' and ‘diesel-range crude oil' is critical to the effort to ensure public safety by determining the cause of the cavern failure and the sinkhole, and their possible link to each other and to the natural gas that has been found in the aquifer in the Bayou Corne area," Welsh said. "While our ongoing review of operational records on the Napoleonville Salt Dome has not shown one single underground source known to contain enough diesel fuel to cover the sinkhole/slurry area, an underground oil-and-gas formation could easily account for the amounts found on the sinkhole/slurry area surface and in the cavern."

Welsh said that better understanding of the source of the crude oil could also help better identify the source of the natural gas in the aquifer because oil and natural gas are often found together in productive formations.

Additionally, he noted that ongoing "fingerprint" analysis of natural gas samples from Bayou Corne-area bubbling sites has now ruled out the nearby Crosstex butane storage caverns and Acadian natural gas storage caverns as potential sources of the natural gas bubbling.

Welsh also said that as analysis of the failed cavern and sinkhole is ongoing, work has progressed on construction of the vent wells – with initial flaring of natural gas expected to begin by Friday.

"We discovered natural gas in both wells sites near the sinkhole and are now working as quickly as possible to remove it through these vent wells," Welsh said. "However, the initial analysis of the third well, sited on the west side of Bayou Corne, reveals that it does not have an accumulation of natural gas, though analysis will continue at that well as the work continues throughout the area to resolve the situation for the community."

  • Officials: Crude oil source may link sinkhole and failed cavernMore>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Ocean Springs man's outlook inspires those around him

    Ocean Springs man's outlook inspires those around him

    Sunday, April 20 2014 2:38 PM EDT2014-04-20 18:38:59 GMT
    June 4, 2008 Steven Lowery dove into a local river, broke his neck, and was left paralyzed. Many would have become depressed and withdrawn. But Steven's remarkable outlook on life is inspiring others.More >>
    June 4, 2008 is the day that Steven Lowery's life changed forever. That day he was spending time with friends at a local river. He dove in, broke his neck, and was left paralyzed. Many people suffering that tragedy would have become withdrawn and distant. But you don't know Steven and his remarkable outlook on life.More >>
  • Spring breakers enjoy the coast

    Spring breakers enjoy the coast

    Sunday, April 20 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-04-20 12:00:18 GMT
    It was a busy day on the beaches of Biloxi Saturday, as people came out to enjoy the sun on the second day of Mississippi Gulf Coast Spring Break.More >>
    It was a busy day on the beaches of Biloxi Saturday, as people came out to enjoy the sun on the second day of Mississippi Gulf Coast Spring Break.More >>
  • Water advisories issued for 6 areas of the beach

    Water advisories issued for 6 areas of the beach

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:55 AM EDT2014-04-19 11:55:08 GMT
    Advisories have been issued for several sections of the beach in Harrison and Hancock counties. The beaches aren't closed, but there may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming in these areas.More >>
    Advisories have been issued for several sections of the beach in Harrison and Hancock counties. The beaches aren't closed, but there may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming in these six areas.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.