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Buccaneer explains plans for seismic work

Posted: January 11, 2012 - 10:19pm

Representatives from Buccaneer Alaska and Weems Geophysical held a second town hall meeting Tuesday to further explain the geophysical survey work planned for in and around Kenai.

Buccaneer is conducting 3D geophysical mapping of its Kenai Loop lease unit.

John Land, the lead permit agent for Weems Geophysical, opened the meeting by explaining that this project was the first in his career in an area that hadn’t previously undergone seismic work. After the first town hall meeting last month, he said he realized that he and his team needed to do more to explain the process to the community.

Joe Crownover, vice president and regional manager for Vibra-Tech Inc., also was on hand to help explain how seismic surveying works. Vibra-Tech, among other things, handles “complex vibration induced issues,” and is the oldest vibration monitoring company in the country, Crownover said. The company has experience in Alaska, including projects in Soldotna and Ninilchik.

Land said the 3D geophysical survey has five phases, beginning with permitting, which is under way.

The next step is a surveying phase, during which all structures and utilities will be marked by GPS. The survey will map the ideal points to set up the seismic sources and receivers, which will then be adjusted to account for any hazards.

Crownover said well water sampling is part of the process. His company will take well samples and analyze them for a variety of substances. In response to a question from the audience, he said that if vibrations were to cause any issues with a well, it would result in a change in chemistry and would be detected in subsequent testing.

Inspections, including photos and video, also will be done to document the condition of structures in the area.

Following the survey, peak particle velocity testing will be done to determine safe parameters for using vibrators mounted on specialized trucks. In town, Weems plans to use vibrators to conduct the seismic survey; in areas away from structures and roads, the company will utilize “shot holes,” which will be drilled using equipment moved into location by helicopter.

“Vibra-seis trucks are designed for an urban environment,” Crownover said.

A baseplate on the truck is lowered to the ground, and vibrations are then sent into the ground.

“The energy travels into the subsurface, much like a rock in a pond, and the ripples spread through the subsurface,” Land said.

Crownover said that the intensity of the vibrations will be kept well below the threshold at which cosmetic damage — cracked drywall, for example — would be likely. He said the vibrations from the trucks are less intense than those generated by typical road construction equipment.

Next comes the recording/vibrating phase of the project. Small charges will be detonated in the shot holes away from town, and the trucks will be put into action in town. The vehicles will be used in a group of three, stopping at predetermined points to conduct a “sweep,” then raising their baseplates and moving forward to the next point.

Geophones will be spread out over the 25-square-mile area to record the data. That information is then downloaded to computers, rendering a 3D map of the area’s geological structures. A cable-less geophone system is being used, so pods of geophones will not need to be linked via cables.

Land said seismic monitoring equipment would be in place for about four weeks.
The last step, Land said, is clean-up — removing all the recording equipment, as well and any markers used during the process.

“Once we’re gone, I want to see everything the way it was when we arrived,” Land said.
Addressing concerns from the audience, Land said the initial letter sent to landowners could have been written better. He said it asked for information not pertinent to the Kenai Loop project, such as Social Security numbers, because parts were taken from agreements used in other parts of the country, where landowners sometimes are paid a “nuisance fee” for crossing their land. He said he would serve as landowners’ point of contact for any damage claims.

The presentation can be viewed online at www.buccenergy.com. Navigate to “Alaska Operations,” and click on “Kenai Loop Seismic Survey.”

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shanaloshbaugh
9
Points
shanaloshbaugh 01/12/12 - 10:43 am
0
0
Where does the resulting info go?

My understanding is that in the past most information gathered from seismic studies has been "proprietary" and locked away by the companies that conducted them. But that information might be useful for planning earthquake safety, waste disposal, or drinking water supplies. Most public information about the area's subsurface dates from the 1970s. Will residents, independent scientists, and local officials be able to access the results about what lies beneath our feet?

kenai-king
255
Points
kenai-king 01/12/12 - 03:35 pm
0
0
Vibrations

Don't for minute think that the vibrations will not affect your well if they are close enough and your well is not very deep, do not let them in close to your water wells.

kenaibear2001
119
Points
kenaibear2001 01/12/12 - 05:26 pm
0
0
Wells

Would like for kenai-king to tell me how many wells have been affected by the constant ground tremors from the earthquakes
that are continuing daily? Give me a break!

http://www.aeic.alaska.edu/recent/macsub/index.html

skeeter66
0
Points
skeeter66 01/12/12 - 07:37 pm
0
0
Seismic Survey

I have a number of questions about the seismic work being done on the Kenai Peninsula? Some of which are below.
1. Will the government or land owner be paid for the use of their property for survey work as the property owners in other oil and gas producing states are paid? Currently there is not any compensation to the government or private landholders in AK for seismic data gathering.
2.Will the data collected be used to produce gas and oil that will used at a reasonable price for local consumers? Think about what is happening today on the Peninsula. Vehicle fuel, home heating fuel, and natural gas cost are some of the highest in the country. We have pipelines running past our homes and business places with products for overseas consumers. How many of us have natural gaslines close to use but cannot hook up to them? Gasoline at a $1.00 more a gallon above the lower 48.
3. Will there surface and subsurface damage? Driveways,soft roads, home foundations,and water systems are some of the areas of concern that have been problems in the use of seismic survey methods.

kksalm
235
Points
kksalm 01/14/12 - 09:31 am
0
0
Re:Wells

kenaibear2001, I thought I'd "give you a break" and clicked on your link. I went right to the first Kenai Peninsula reference. It was an unknown magnitude earthquake 12 miles deep. The following Cook Inlet quakes were measured 2.37ml and were at depths of 32 and 42 miles. Hardly a comparison to the surface generated vibrations and 25 foot depth explosions planned for this project. Why would wells be checked and foundations documented if this was such a non event as you're implying?

gmcjing
0
Points
gmcjing 01/16/12 - 08:14 am
0
0
Wells

kksalm: The earthquake that caused the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia was 6.2 miles deep and 100 miles off shore. The location of a quake doesn't mean much compared to the power. This holds true with seismic surveys. The energy source they are using is miniscule compared to natural forces which occur almost daily in this area. Earthquakes, frost heaving, settling etc.. all will affect your home foundation and water wells much more noticeably than anything these guys will throw at you. That being said, ensure they know the location of your wells and structures so they can avoid them and you should not have any issues.

kenai-king
255
Points
kenai-king 01/17/12 - 08:06 pm
0
0
wells

kenaibear2001

Everytime we have one that shakes close to home my well has to clean itself out.
And most of the time they are driving down the streets doing this and if your well is close to where they are vibrating it will dirty up your well and more of chance if your well is shallow.

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