Texas Brine sues oil driller over sinkhole
NAPOLEONVILLE - Texas Brine accused an oil and gas drilling company in a lawsuit Thursday of creating a massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne through their operations.
The suit claims Oxy Petroleum's drilling and oil production damaged the surrounding salt dome and ultimately caused the sinkhole to appear in August 2012. The sinkhole forced state officials to evacuate Bayou Corne for months and cost Texas Brine, which leased the land the sinkhole appeared on, millions of dollars.
According to Texas Brine's suit Oxy Petroleum drilled a well which pulled oil and gas from a reservoir known as the Big Hum, and their drilling created a difference in pressure between their well and the cavern which collapsed which was far lower than normal. Texas Brine claimed the decrease in pressure put force on the salt wall between the cavern and reservoir, causing it to fall apart and form the sinkhole.
The suit also claims Texas Brine found evidence the drill used by Oxy Petroleum hit that wall at least one time, which may have destabilized it further.
"We contend that given their expertise, Oxy Petroleum should have known that the Hooker #1 Well reservoir provided support to the outer wall of Oxy #3 cavern, and that a depleted, depressurized reservoir would threaten the structural integrity of both," said attorney James Garner, whose New Orleans law firm is representing Texas Brine.
The suit asks for $100 million in damages for the costs Texas Brine has incurred and will undertake in the future.