Saturday, January 13, 2007

Blowing Up the Bay

According to a reputable source, an oil and gas company is conducting a survey of the lower Laguna Madre looking for oil and gas. The air boats are setting most of the charges so they can literally blow up the bay, and then measure the shock waves for suspected hydrocarbon deposits way down deep. This activity should be on-going through the month of February.

If anyone has any further information please pass it along.

I did ask my source about whether there was already some oil and gas operations in the lower Laguna Madre. The fellow looked at me as if I was stark raving nuts. "Just yesterday I was out fishing and almost ran into three well heads." I had absolutely no idea. Can you imagine hitting submerged oil field trash at 47 miles per hour?

No, the sky isn't falling; they're blowing up the bay instead!


Anonymous said...

"BLOWING UP THE BAY!"...Geez, these guys that are moving around the bay now are contractors doing the "ditch diggin" work for instrument and charge placements.

As for the charges themselves, since they are not that strong, you might only "feel" a thud. NO DEPTH CHARGE type explosion either.

Don't get tooooo excited. The fishing was still good out there with all the boat traffic...having fun!...Toddieie

Anonymous said...

Oh...the guy that I talked to said that the actual data gathering wouldn't start until February and that all work would probably be done by April....Toddieie

Sam said...

Thanks dude. It really isn't a big deal at this time of year, even if we could be talking about 80 pounds of kerplosive in every hole. Correct me if I am wrong. /Sammie

Sam said...

I did some more research on "blowing up the bay" and still think it was a good posting just to raise the level of awareness of the Laguna Madre. Sure, the title was sensationalistic, and yes it did appeal to me, like how exploding toilets are to commedian Dave Barry.

That said, if you or I went out there into the bay and started setting off fairly large charges of dynamite, we'd be behind bars in a New York Minute.

What happened was that somebody got a Seismic Permit from the GLO. The permit basically allows the operator to do as he or she pleases, as long as they pick up any trash afterward. They don't have to replant any eel grass. If some fish die as a result of the charges, it is no violation of state law - or at least this is my understanding. Texas laws were written to favor mining interests such as oil and gas extraction.

What would be the real impact of the weismic survey? Immediately, probably not much. However, a company doesn't go investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in surveys without expecting to hit some "pay dirt." Visually, having active rigs in the bay would not be attractive. Shallow water drilling can be done in a fairly clean manner but let's admit the tryth, it is a nasty business that fouls the water and has the potential for toxic or hazardous releases.

Then there's subsidence. Did you know our Island is sinking? So when you remove the hydrocarbons from underground sources, it will sink even faster. In Houston the land used to sink in millimeters per year but after all the pumping, is now sinking at a rate that can be measure in inches per year. That's not good, especially if the sea levels start rising from global warming.

Sure, a little seismic survey is probably OK. But some people are deeply concerned, such as when they found out that three rigs were working off SPI beaches in federal waters. Why weren't we consulted? How are operations being conducted to reduce environmental impacts?

Could you (whoever is permitting the deal) at least have the courtest to let us know when a huge drilling rig comes down Route 100? That's the next step, some exploratory "wildcatter" wells.