January 1, 2020 Prior to the Brumadinho Tailings Dam collapse on 25th January 2019, rainfall was 3.6 times greater than the mean rainfall of the prior 10 years. During the past two months, rainfall in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil, has been 5x the mean rainfall of the prior 10 years, see below figure. Minimal preventative measures have been implemented to increase the stability and reduce the risk of collapse of existing unsafe tailings dams. So, given the current rainfall, is it highly likely that another tailings dam collapse is imminent?
September 2019 Oil & Gas Authority Oversight of Preston New Road Hydraulic Fracturing Operations
From a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request, it has been disclosed that the numerous warnings by GeoSierra on the Cuadrilla hydraulic fracturing operations at Preston New Road, when unheeded. The OGA solely solicited the views of Cuadrilla on these warnings, and never followed up with GeoSierra, or solicit the views of any technical expert. Cuadrilla dismissed GeoSierra's warnings as "flawed", without any technical explanation, and the OGA simply ignored GeoSierra's warnings.
If, the OGA had read GeoSierra's Peese Hall review, then they would have realized that the last person to have reasonable calculated BHPs (Bottom Hole Pressures) was Cuadrilla and their consultants. All of the calculated BHPs presented by Cuadrilla and their consultants for the Preese Hall well were incorrect and inconsistent. As of late 2014, Cuadrilla was misrepresenting measured WHPs (Wellhead Pressures) as calculated BHPs. These errors in Cuadrilla's calculated BHPs, required GeoSierra to recalculate BHPs, using their inhouse slick water fluid simulator, from Peese Hall well measured WHPs and flowrates. Our conclusion from the Preese Hall review still stands, i.e. it is impossible to fracture enhance the Bowland-Hodder shales with current hydraulic fracturing technology.
Newdigate, Surrey, UK Earthquakes and a plausible link to Horse Hill petroleum activities
GeoSierra has prepared a brief summary, that postulates a probable scenario of a direct link of the seismicity at Newdigate, Surrey, UK with activities and petroleum production at the Horse Hill well, HH-1. The timing of seismic events and the activities at HH-1 well are too compellingly time correlated, that a meaningful scenario linking the two should have been explored before now. The conclusions from the OGA workshop, October 2018, chaired by the BGS, cite that no casual link between the two could be conceived, and thus concluded that the seismicity was of natural causes. How the seismicity can be labelled as natural, just because a viable scenario linking the two can’t be formulated, is not considered a scientific approach to the issue.
It is postulated that hydrocarbon fluids are being generated and have been over centuries, at or near the current epicenters of the seismic events. Fluid over-pressure from their generation open the hyper-stress sensitive bedding planes leading to hydrocarbon fluid migration some 3 kms to the reservoirs at HH-1. Such a scenario has been in equilibrium over centuries, with no or minimal induced seismic activity. For this scenario to occur, slight fluid over-pressure must be present at HH-1 and in its surrounding reservoirs.
If the fluid over-pressure at HH-1 is removed, by bleeding off excess pressure at the wellhead or by production, the bedding planes close, hydrocarbon fluids can’t migrate from the source area, thus raising fluid over-pressures in the source area. These excessive fluid over- pressures, 3kms from HH-1, give rise to the significant induced seismicity.
VoluMetrix have progressed will past the prototype stage in their National Institute of Health (NIH) fast track program, to develop and obtain FDA approval for a new wearable device for heart failure patients following hospital release. The wearable device will enable the patient, at home, to monitor their excess fluid retention, thus significantly reducing hospital re-admission rates. Mayo Clinic is conducting the fifty (50) patient trial. Our founder is a part owner and full time researcher of VoluMetrix.
Savannah River Site, S.C. Deep Iron Permeable Reactive Barrier
GeoSierra Environmental, Inc. are installing a 135’ deep iron Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB) at the Savannah River Site, SC, to treat chlorinated contaminated groundwater. The PRB is constructed by the injection of 760 tons of recycled iron, and will be completed by November, 2019. The iron PRB is constructed and monitored in real time by GeoSierra’s trenchless PRB installation method. To see how we construct these deep trenchless PRBs, view our video. Any PRB enquiries contact Deborah Schnell.
Preston New Road, Lancashire, UK
The hydraulic fracturing induced events at Preston New Road from the 15 to 29 August 2019 are shown below. Rather than hydraulic fracture the shale formation, Cuadrilla have opened near horizontal bedding planes creating a heightened risk of induced seismicity, as the frac fluids have migrated ~750m, towards the east, updip on these hyper-stress sensitive slicken-sided bedding planes.
GeoSierra has made a short video on why the Bowland-Hodder shales at Preston New Road can’t be commercially enhanced by current hydraulic fracturing technology. The presence of extensive slickenside bedding planes, makes it impossible to frac enhance these shales by current technology. Hopefully, the video will better articulate this issue, that the numerous written communiques over the past year or more, have failed to do. Or click the image below to see the video.
With OGA approval, Cuadrilla have injected fluids into the sub-surface at BHPs far exceeding the overburden pressure, leading to a significant heightened risk of induced seismicity. Such induced seismicity is significant, >>1.0 ML, and far greater than what should be allowed in populated areas. So who are the responsible parties leading to this heightened risk of induced seismicity, which could have been easily avoided. GeoSierra has been warning the UK Oil & Gas Authority for more than a year of the risks of heightened seismicity at Preston New Road by excessive injection pressure. These persistent warnings were futile, as no action was taken in 2018 and nor in 2019. A short video that ponders the question:- "Who are the Responsible Parties?", and descibes GeoSierra's futile efforts to convince the OGA of the excessive risks due to high injection pressures.
August 2019 Induced Seismic Events of 2019 and 2018 at Preston New Road, Lancashire, UK
The hydraulic fracturing induced events in 2019 as of August 22, 2019 05:10:01 (UTC) are shown below. Rather than hydraulic fracture the shale formation, Cuadrilla have opened near horizontal bedding planes creating a heightened risk of induced seismicity, as the frac fluids have migrated ~750m updip on these hyper-stress sensitive slicken-sided bedding planes. The events induced from injection on the 23 August 2019, the 2.1 ML and the 2.9 ML had very similar epicenters as the 1.6 ML event shown below. The induced seismicity being 750m from the injection point should be raising alarm bells at the UK regulatory agencies.
A 2.1 ML induced event on 24 August at 22:01:35 (UTC). A 2.9 ML induced event on 26 August at 07:30:47 (UTC).
Finally the UK regulatory agencies have acted. As of 26 August 2019, OGA state that hydraulic fracturing operations at Preston New Road have been suspended.
In a series of emails, 13 to 22 August 2019, GeoSierra had requested from Cuadrilla the names of the Schlumberger persons responsible for the frac fluid pumping schedule design for the PNR-2 hydraulic fracturing operations. Cuadrilla responded that they, Cuadrilla, do all the frac fluid pumping schedule design inhouse, and that Schlumberger are a service provider that execute on Cuadrilla's instruction and design.
Cuadrilla contacted GeoSierra on the 23rd August 2019, and mentioned that on the 21st August 2019 they were injecting in either sleeve 5 or 6, i.e. close to the toe of the well. GeoSierra stated that they were being proactive in warning Cuadrilla of the induced seismicity risks associated with excessive BHPs, and the consequences of opening the slicken-sided bedding planes. Cuadrilla stated that the TLS was excessively restrictive hindering their ability to hydraulic fracture the well. GeoSierra replied that even if it was doubled, being a log scale, i.e. to 0.8 ML, it would not have changed the outcomes. From the discussions, it was apparent that Cuardilla do not have a plan on how to tackle the slicken-sided bedding planes.
The hydraulic fracturing induced events in 2018 are shown below. The largest seismic event in both cases is at the same location, that further confirms GeoSierra's concerns and issues raised below. Rather than hydraulic fracture the shale formation, Cuadrilla have opened near horizontal bedding planes creating a heightened risk of induced seismicity, as the frac fluids can migrate significant distances on these hyper-stress sensitive bedding planes.
Analysis of the induced trailing seismic events from hydraulic fracturing of 21 August 2019, are shown below, indicating that on the 22 August 2019, 15:23:34 (UTC), having the same epicenter, the frac fluids had migrated to a different depth, giving rise to the ML 1.0 event. Time is measured from the first major trailing event.
August 2019 Preston New Road, Lancashire, UK
GeoSierra's 2017 review of the Preese Hall 2011 well stimulations concluded that, due to the presence of extensive slickensided bedding planes, the Bowland-Hodder shales could not be commercially fracture enhanced by current hydraulic fracturing technology. The review was conducted in 2016, and posted online in early 2017, after GeoSierra had decided it didn't want to pursue UK onshore shale.
Fracturing operations began on the 15th August 2019 on the PNR-2 well. Review of earlier operations on PNR-1Z and Preese Hall well stimulations, indicate a high risk of induced seismicity with minimal gas production enhancement - see PNR-1Z Review.The stimulations of the stages of the PNR-1Z well, initially induced hydraulic near vertical fractures, whose height growth was terminated by the presence of slickensided bedding planes, which were encountered in the PNR-1 well, as reported by Clarke et al., 2019 (SPE-195563-MS). Subsequently, the Bottom Hole Pressures (BHPs) rose sufficiently to exceed the normal stress of the near horizontal bedding planes, opening these hyper-stress sensitive bedding planes and thus significantly increasing the risk of induced seismicity, without any or minimal gas production enhancement. This heightened risk of induced seismicity can be avoided by placing limits on BHPs during injection.
The lack of any tiltmeter monitoring in the HFP (Hydraulic Fracturing Plan) for PNR-2 is rather strange, as it was recommended to the UK agencies in 2018, as a prudent measure considering what occurred during the Preese Hall well stimulations. Tiltmeters would show conclusively whether the frac opening was vertical or near horizontal, whereas seismic monitoring can be misleading into where frac opening is occurring since it is in response to slip.
Shutin data analyses of the PNR-1Z well hydraulic fracturing stages show conclusively and unambiguously, that near horizontal bedding planes (dipping at ~20° to the west) were opened by the excessive hydraulic fracturing pressures, leading to a significant heightened risk of induced seismicity.
GeoSierra notified the relevant UK agencies, (Environment Agency, Oil & Gas Authority, and the British Geological Survey) and Cuadrilla of the above issues and the significance risks of induced seismicity in early August 2019, prior to the start of hydraulic fracturing of the PNR-2 well. As of the 22nd August 2019, GeoSierra has had no response from any of the UK responsible agencies or Cuadrilla concerning the significant risk of induced seismicity due to excessive BHPs occurring during the hydraulic fracturing operations at Preston New Road.
April 2019 Prior to the Brumadinho Tailings Dam collapse, rainfall was 3.6 times greater than the mean rainfall of the prior 10 years. February and March rainfall of this year were 3x the mean rainfall of the prior 10 years, see below figure. What preventative measures are being implemented to increase the stability and reduce the risk of collapse of existing unsafe tailings dams? News reporting doesn't mention any remedial actions being taken to increase the stability of existing unsafe tailings dams, especially those unsafe tailings dams located in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil.
February 2019 In an analysis initiated by the recent Brumadinho Tailings Dam failure, GeoSierra discovered significant surface water ponding had occurred on the crest of the Brumadinho Tailings Dam just a month before it tragically failed. Upstream tailings dams, such as the Brumadinho tailings dam, are especially prone to failure due to an increase in the pore water pressure; such as caused by surface water ponding on the dam crest, by either dam instability or piping failure.
This ponding of surface water is the most likely cause of the Brumadinho tailings dam failure. Surface waters infiltrate into the dam over time, thus significantly raising the dam's pore water pressures, which reduce the tailings mean effective stress, until liquefaction is triggered. Once liquefaction is triggered, in this case it is called "Static Liquefaction", the failure process following the liquefaction triggering is extremely dynamic and leads to flow liquefaction, as earlier seen in the tragic Aberfan disaster of 1966, and numerous tailings dams failures over the years, and more recently the Fundao tailings dam collapse of 2015, and now this recent tragic flow liquefaction failure, with its significant loss of human life and environmental damage.
BBC News reporter: Ricardo Senra, article of 22 February 2019. “There was a spring above the dam, but the pipe was broken,” he says. “The water was falling directly on to the dam. So much so that the middle of the dam was no longer dry. This was more than a month ago.”
GeoSierra's electro-osmosis system, when activated by seismic or motion sensors, stabilizes such high risk structures; such as an upstream tailings dam, during an earthquake event and/or due to excessive pore water pressures.The electro-osmosis system can be powered continuously at low current to dewater and/or permeation grout the tailings, with automatic control to raise the current to stabilize the dam, due to sensed motion or excessive pore pressures. Following the dewatering/stabilization of the tailings by electro-osmosis, decommissioning work can begin. If the electro-osmosis stabilization system was not implemented prior to decommissioning, there are extremely high risks of tailings dam failure being initiated and induced by decommissioning activities
Brumadinho Tailings Dam
Rainfall over the past 5 months of 2018, was 3.6 times greater than the mean of the past 10 years.
January 2019 GeoSierra Environmental, Inc. is finalizing the design report for a 200' deep iron PRB (Permeable Reactive Barrier) at the Savannah River Site, SC. Full scale construction will be begin later this year. Any PRB enquiries contact Deborah Schnell. The PRB construction at Norco, CA is almost complete.
Grant Hocking, GeoSierra's Founder and President, was co-inventor of four (4) patent applications in the past 18 months, relating to biomedical applications, waveform analysis and biomedical devices. This month, he has filed three (3) patent applications as the sole inventor, relating to hypertension, blood pressure, vascular blood vessel properties, ageing and exercise impact on hypertensive state, and biomedical devices to measure hypertensive state, vascular properties and vasodilation, and also measure blood pressure without a cuff. These technologies are being developed for commercial use by VoluMetrix, of whom Kyle Hocking (Grant's son) is CEO.
January 2018 GeoSierra Environmental, Inc. is mobilizing for the installation of an iron PRB (Permeable Reactive Barrier) for groundwater remediation in Norco, CA.The PRB is 300' long, to be constructed from 20' depth down to a total depth of 95' BGS along a busy city street. Any PRB enquiries contact Deborah Schnell. The PRB construction will be monitored in real time by GeoSierra's active resistivity imaging technology.
August 2017 - Funding for the Geothermal Energy trial cell has been approved, subject to the bench scale performance of the lithium enrichment cell, for the final design, land and lease acquisition for construction in the 4th qtr 2018 in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, Imperial County, California. The trial cell will extract groundwater geothermal brines, store and cycle supercritical carbon dioxide in the sub-surface for electric power generation, and extract lithium from the geothermal brines. Revenue for the trial cell is from four streams: 1) carbon dioxide storage, 2) electric power generation, 3) minerals extracted from the groundwater brine, primarily Lithium, and 4) sale of desalinated groundwater.
The lithium enrichment cell uses alternating polarity electrodes constructed from calcined petroleum coke proppant as developed by Asbury Carbons in association with GeoSierra, for GeoSierra's ERG - electric resistive heating enhanced bitumen/heavy oil recovery process - see Electric EOR. The calcined coke proppant is coated with different compounds to produce the alternating polarity lithium and chloride ion selective electrodes, that extract the lithium ions from the geothermal brines and concentrates the lithium ions in a battery grade lithium concentrate solution.
Without significant lithium revenue, baseload geothermal electrical power generation in southern California is not an attractive investment, primarily due to the lack of a meaningful tax on carbon emissions, the regulated electrical pricing is tied to the current natural gas price, and the low revenue/MWhr for baseload electricity. Using supercritical carbon dioxide as the subsurface working fluid, a large portion of the baseload generation can be provided as on-demand peak generation capacity, thus significantly increasing the revenue/MWhr. The performance of the lithium enrichment cell and the siting of the field trial in high lithium groundwater are both crucial for a successful field trial of the lithium enrichment process.
GeoSierra Environmental, Inc. has been awarded a design/build contract for a 900' long, deep (96' bgs), iron PRB for groundwater remediation in a southern Californian city. The PRB is to be constructed along a busy residential street. Any PRB enquiries contact Deborah Schnell.
March 2017 - GeoSierra recently completed a review of the UK 2011 Preese Hall well stimulations. A copy of this review and recommended alternate stimulation methods are contained in this review report. GeoSierra presented to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January on the importance of anelasticity in petroleum geomechanics - view the abridged presentation.
December 2016 GeoSierra Environmental Inc. completed the construction of 1,100' PRB at the former Scotia Navy Depot.
October 2016 GeoSierra is under contract to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to assist MIT in a large multi- year research project on hydraulic fracturing, with specific emphasis into the interaction and propagation of hydraulic fractures with natural fractures and formation interfaces, funded by a major national oil company.
August 2016 Cascade Environmental Holdings LLC acquires GeoSierra Environmental Inc and Panther Technologies Inc to enhance their environmental capabilities and services - see announcement.
March 2016 GeoSierra's geothermal electrical power generation system in enhanced hot ductile low perm formations is in final feasibility assessment study for field pilot deployment mid-2017.
GeoSierra's carbon energy storage system in ductile turbidite reservoir legacy oil and gas fields is in final feasibility assessment study for field pilot deployment mid-2017.
GeoSierra Environmental Inc. is finalizing the design and mobilizing for the construction of a 1,000' long iron proppant Permeable Reactive Barrier at the former Scotia Navy Depot, Glenville, NY. The PRB is to be constructed to a total depth of 110', and it's injected geometry will be mapped in real-time by GeoSierra's active resistivity mapping technology. For enquiries into design/build services of PRBs in the USA contact Deborah Schnell at email@example.com.
March 2015 The planned in situ heavy oil recovery ERG field trial, using electric resistive heating with gravity drainage is on indefinite hold due to the low price of Kern River crude.
The stimulation of the light oil turbidite reservoirs in the Southern San Joaquin Valley using the Azi-Frac technology is postponed until the price of WTI stabilizes at $65/bbl or higher.
October 2014 GeoSierra Environmental Inc. recently completed an iron proppant PRB at a SuperFund site in Peterborough, New Hampshire for groundwater remediation. More than twenty (20) iron proppant PRBs have been installed in the USA by GeoSierra's trenchless technology.
GeoSierra's electrically conductive -8/+20 proppant and grahite electrodes are now ready for deployment in the EOR field trial of the ERG system, i.e. electrical resistive heating with gravity drainage. The first trial is planned to be conducted in a shallow heavy oil unconsolidated sand reservior in western USA.
GeoSierra's electrically conductive calcined petroleum coke proppant is available in three size distributions: coarse -8/+20, medium -20/+40 and fine -40 mesh.
GeoSierra's retrofit stimulation tool for stimulating deep existing wells in turbidite formations is not expected to be field deployable until mid-2015.