The Permeability of Rock Salts

by Nelson Cole

At the University of Texas they found Rock Salts to be more permeable than originally expected. It was known that salt generally blocks fluid at a shallow depth. This feature of salt allows reservoirs to form. However, scientist had contemplated that salt may be permeable at a greater depth. When setting out to conduct experiments University of Texas, professors originally thought that Rock Salt would be used as a hydrocarbon seal for the oil industry. Since salt generally blocks fluid at a shallow depth and allows it to flow at a greater depth. It was quickly confirmed that salt becomes permeable at a greater depth. The real surprise came in that the fluids were sometimes able to flow through the salt at a shallow depth. The findings could have important implications for nuclear waste storage. Previous work on the permeability of salts has focused on the cracks formed by the nuclear waste itself. The findings from the study show that undisturbed rock salt can be permeable as well and it is permeable because of deformation. Continue reading

Revisiting Oil Wells

by Nelson Cole

The insurance journal is doing a three part series regarding the current state of hydraulic fracking. In this first article they describe how due to the improvements in fracking technology, companies are able to revisit previously fractured wells and reach further oil. However, the risks involved with wells that are completed using hydraulic fracturing are significantly higher and different than conventional wells.

As companies revisit these old wells it reminds us of the age and risks of these wells. Oil and gas wells do not have an infinite life span. A well can blowout at any phase of its life whether producing, shut-in, or plugged and abandoned wells. With older wells that stretch back to 1859, the casing and cementing deteriorate with time and the risk of a blowout significantly increases. Re-fracturing these wells with new technologies is similar to a kid playing with fire. Everything is fine until a blowout occurs and pollutes a whole community’s groundwater and air. We saw this happen in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and later Los Angeles in 2015. (Insurance Journal)

Again, the likelihood of a blowout increases with these older wells being revisited which create a problem with insurance cost. Companies look to dodge paying higher insurance cost but what is most important in this process is that companies should be pressed to ensure that the proper casing is applied to the older wells when fractured again. (Insurance Journal)

In previous post I have discussed how the people lose in terms of royalties as land is handed back and forth within companies. The people lose big when land is handed back and forth and companies are not pressed to ensure the highest quality casing is implemented as new companies reopen wells.

A well drilled in one policy period, where coverage for the well completion was paid for, may not be completed via fracking until several years later, and possibly with a different carrier. Fracking risks have evolved to the point where the idea of creating a separate insurance coverage for hydraulic fracking and separating it from drilling exposures has come up and must be applied. (Insurance Journal)


Insurance Journal


Court Case in Desoto Parish

by Nelson Cole

It was recently discovered my grandfather signed to join in a lawsuit just before he passed away. The lawsuit is a dispute regarding who owns the mineral rights (i.e. the oil & gas) under the 300 acres: the Whorton Family (and others) or an oil exploration company who leased the mineral rights in 1982.

At the trial court, the Whorton Family won. In the attached appellate decision, the court of appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and sent the case back for a full trial on the issue. The explanation for the court’s decision and analysis of the energy companies actions are provided below. Continue reading

Louisiana Oil and Gas Association

by Nelson Cole

An article written by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) clearly explains the process of horizontal fracking in sedimentary shale rock located over 10,000 feet below the Earth’s surface. The article addresses all concerns that local land owners and communities could have. This article should be referred to those who have concerns regarding horizontal fracturing. I found the information to be very helpful when providing it to my own family. My father’s family owns close to 250 acres of land in Desoto Parish, Louisiana and with my grandfather recently passing my father and family join many other landowners and residents in having concerns of being exploited by major gas companies who are rapidly increasing production in the northwest region of Louisiana. Continue reading

Hydraulic Fracking in Abita Springs, Louisiana

by Nelson Cole

Near Abita Springs, Louisiana; Helis Oil and Gas Company has been granted permission to use hydraulic fracturing to reach gas 13,000 feet underground (Louisiana Advocate). Local residents hoped to cancel the wetlands permit that was issued to Helis Oil in January 2015, requesting instead that they search for alternative destinations. After a year of delay on January 12th federal Judge Carl Barbier rejected the community’s efforts on a basis of what he felt to be a “lack of merit.” According to Barbier, the plaintiff (community residents) failed to suggest alternative drilling sites. Also, Helis provided “clear evidence that there were no other locations in the state that did not involve wetlands” (Louisiana Record). Thus because all other drilling sites are in wetlands the judge evidently felt this one should be permitted to be as well. Continue reading