Friday, June 18, 2010


June 17/2010 - 12:54 PM EST.
   By : Isaac

     Oil and various hydrocarbon gas products like hydrogen, methane, ethane, propane hexane, etc, etc.  under pressure, are stored in fragile underground artificially produced salt dome caverns on the Gulf coast. Natural gas is force-injected under great pressure into depleted oil and gas reservoirs, aquifers, and salt caverns for future use.Here is a link to a page with many technical papers showing how much leaking happens, as well as how it is responsible for causing earthquakes..

    With such interesting titles as :       Deep Mobile Gases/Relation to Earthquakes    /      Earthquake Predictions Based on Gas Flux    /     Content of Hydrocarbons from drilling mud as a function of tectonic activity.....go read them.

    So , all these underground leaky caverns in the area that is known to be seismically long over-due for a movement The New Madrid faultline. Another absolutely brilliant strategy

   Why are they mined on the coast ?

    They are mined on the coast in the hopes that when they leak, and they do, quite often, they will only be leaking right back into the natural hydrocarbon pathways that line our continental shelf. .
   Construction of each cavern takes approximately two years. In a process called solution mining, they drill a well deep into a natural salt dome and begin injecting water into the well, where it circulates and dissolves the salt. They remove the very salty water, called brine, often by forcing high-pressure natural gas into the cavern to displace the liquid into the water table.Next option is to reinject it through another well into existing salt water reservoirs located in porous or fractured rocks about a mile deep, well below the base of the area’s drinking water table or release it in an under-sea " brine diffuser " in the Gulf.

   The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is an emergency  fuel store of oil maintained by the United States Department of Energy. The US SPR is the largest emergency supply in the world with the current capacity to hold up to 727 million barrels The current inventory is displayed on the SPR's website. As of August 31, 2009, the current inventory was 724 million barrels .

   Every single bit of it is stored in caverns that have been " mined " out of the natural salt domes found everywhere on the G.o.M. coast. They are mined using high pressure water and then the brine is forced-injected  either, into the water table, or at sea in the G.o.M. in sub-sea " brine diffusers " There are also many inland storage sites. Additionally, there are massive amounts of compressed gases being stored . Apparently, various companies have been hollowing out the salt dome deposits in the ground on the Gulf Coast for some time.

   A few specific examples.. one such structure is a salt dome structure that begins 3,700 feet beneath the ground and extends to a depth of 14,000 feet. Beginning 500 feet below the top of the salt dome, there are two caverns that each have a diameter of 265 feet and depth of 1,300 feet. In Erath, La,  there are two caverns 7.5 Billion cubic feet working gas capacity.

    Duke energy alone has the capacity to became the largest owner of salt cavern storage facilities in the United States currently having a total storage capacity of 24 Bcf at caverns in Texas and Louisiana. A salt dome site in Tioga County, Pa., also is being considered for development.

 Underground hydrogen storage....

   The ConocoPhillips Clemens Terminal in Texas has stored hydrogen since the 80's in a solution-mined salt cavern with the cavern roof ~2800 ft underground. The cavern is a cylinder with a diameter of 160 ft, a height of 1000 ft and a usable hydrogen capacity of 1066 million standard cubic feet (MMSCF), or 2520 metric tons.

 "  A relatively large number of salt caverns are used for fluid hydrocarbon storage, including an extensive set of facilities in the Gulf Coast salt domes for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) Program. My attention is focused on the SPR caverns because of available histories that detail events involving loss and damage of the hanging string casing. The total number of events is limited, making the database statistically sparse. The occurrence of the events is not evenly distributed, with some facilities, and some caverns, more susceptible than others......."

Look at it this way....

Liquefied gas deep underground is held in a liquid state under pressure.

Liquids follow the path of least resistance

The hydrocarbon pathways on the G.o.M. extend from several hundred miles the deep Gulf.

   Liquefied natural gas in a salt cavern deep underground will follow the path of least resistance when it encounters cracks. It will go where it can.....which is into the natural hydrocarbon flows. The laws of thermodynamics state it. When gas under pressure meets these flows, it joins them...resistance is futile.

   Learning these things, it is my belief ( not that I know much ) that the petroleum industry has been inadvertently charging up this massive oil reservoir for 60 some years now, our government may already know, and may have possibly allowed the practice to go on to allow well production to remain high. Gas provides pressure to oil underground, it's created under specific temperatures, the temperatures at which gas in oil is produced at is called the " the oil window " , it's a natural thermal cracking process. ...that's how it's created, along with microbial actions.

   It is still unknown how long it takes for various products to reach equilibrium with the ground temperature.
It would seem that forcing cold compressed gas into underground containers would naturally cause stress when the gas expands with the process of the temperature equalizing to temperature of the surrounding earth.

    As required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58), DOE would expand the SPR to
its full authorized 1 billion-barrel capacity by selecting additional storage sites. DOE would develop one
new site or a combination of two new sites, and would expand capacity at two or three existing sites.
Storage capacity would be developed by solution mining of salt domes and disposing of the resulting salt
brine by ocean discharge or underground injection. New pipelines, marine terminal facilities, and other
infrastructure could also be required.

   The Clovelly Dome Storage Terminal is used to store crude oil in underground salt caverns before it is shipped to the various refineries. The terminal consists of eight caverns with a total capacity of 40 million barrels, apump station with four 6,000-hp pumps, meters to measure the crude oil receipts and deliveries, and a 25 million barrel Brine Storage Reservoir.

   Now, go look at the hydrocarbon pathway map of the Gulf coast under my topic " Earthquakes and drilling" at the top of this page. They have been doing this for over 60 years now. What possible effect could it have on the underground concentration of gases in the hydrocarbon pathways, and how they flow ? They pressurize well-fields and undergo complex chemical changes underground. Once they get to a certain depth, theses gases naturally are kept in the phase state they are in and are thus able to easily join the deeper flows of hydrocarbons.

     If they have been flooding one of the biggest deposits known on this planet with various natural and synthetically produced gases for over 60 years,.. and they have,...just to possible pressurize it for later recovery efforts,  it's what could be responsible for great pressures being encountered in the Gulf. There are, after all, many more gases than just methane, benzene, and hydrogen sulfide. being found in the air in the gulf currently.. IMHO, this practice is just flat out asking for trouble,

 Sources :

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