The landmen never mention sinkholes when they are leasing your minerals.
The latest sinkhole in Texas:
DENVER CITY – Investigators from the Texas Railroad Commission spent Tuesday trying to figure out why land at a Denver City oil company caved-in.
The sinkhole appeared just on the edge of Denver City on the Oxy site. Officials tell us no one was hurt and no water or power lines were damaged.
The hole drops 50 feet and is 60 feet around.
Fear not! The Texas Railroad Commission is on it and I’m sure they will find that Big Oil and Big Gas are not to blame.
State officials are investigating what caused a large sinkhole to suddenly appear earlier this week in an oil field near Denver City.
The sinkhole, measured at 76 feet by 70 feet and 48 feet deep, was discovered by a worker late Monday on oil and gas land owned by Occidental Permian Limited, said Stacie Fowler with the Texas Railroad Commission.
No one was injured when the ground collapsed, and one well of 1,750 at the field was damaged by the collapse, Fowler said. Some wells in the vicinity have been temporarily shut down.
“We make sure more damage doesn’t happen as best we can,” she said, adding no cause has yet been determined.
Sinkholes are a more common occurrence in East Texas and can be caused by several different factors, said Mike Turco, chief of the Gulf Coast Office for the U.S. Geological Survey.
Oil and gas operations are known to cause sinkholes, Turco said, which might explain the unusual location of the collapse less than a mile east of Denver City.
“During normal times, there is a fluid or a substance holding up whatever is above,” he said. “If that is extracted the pressure is reduced and there can be a surface feature after a collapse.”
Much larger sinkholes appeared in the early 1980s near Wink – about 100 miles southwest of Denver City – also near oil and gas operations.
Sinkholes have to be treated with care, Turco said, as each case is different from the next. While all features share some similarities, there’s no way to tell whether the collapse will expand without further examination.
“It depends on what the rocks are underneath the sinkhole and what caused the sinkhole,” he said. “Typically, once they express themselves after their initial expansion they don’t get much larger.”
Sinkholes out the wazoo in North Dakota:
Sinkholes have developed in the Pembina Gorge of northeastern North Dakota along the route of TransCanada Keystone pipeline, and some of them have swallowed pine trees.
The first sinkhole was discovered in March on the pipeline right of way along the Cavalier-Pembina county line. State Forester Larry Kotchman says an assessment team is working on an environmental restoration plan for the area, which includes the Tetrault Woods State Forest.
Officials have identified seven sinkhole areas where Keystone Pipeline crews used horizontal drilling to bury pipe. Kotchman says the sinkholes are not surprising because of the sandy soils in the area.