Dynamite blast to shake up parish

Last year, residents complained that study caused their walls to tremble

March 19, 2008 at 9:18 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Don't be surprised if the ground shakes around or near homes and businesses in Ormond, New Sarpy, Montz, Hahnville and Norco.

That's because Merlin Oil Company, located in Lafayette, will be sending representatives to conduct a seismograph study in St. Charles Parish on March 24.

“We're looking for oil and gas,” Ian McGill, spokesman for the company, said. “We might just find it because we know that it's been found here before.”

Some residents, mainly those living in the Willowdale and Willowridge area, complained last year that the vibrations that occurred from the study shook their walls.

“The vibrating is not as bad as people say it is,” McGill said. “The ground might move a little, but not a lot.”
McGill says that oil and gas have been discovered in St. Charles Parish before and that detectors placed in the ground will search for minerals that are likely to store oil and gas.

“If we find oil on your property and you own the mineral rights, you will share in royalties with the company,” he said. “But my job is to come in and just do the initial search.”

McGill says the vibration that the machine picks up on as well as wavelengths from computer-generated readings can point to underground oil or gas reserves.

What we are doing is making a map of the layers of land under the surface,” said McGill. “We are looking for rock structures that typically contain hydrocarbons.”

McGill said officials with Merlin have spent the past few weeks laying out receivers in locations throughout the testing area. He said many of the receivers, which look like small microphones, are positioned in area neighborhoods.

These receivers will collect data from seismic charges the company will send through the land layers in an effort to acquire velocity levels. The source of the seismic charge will be by dynamite blasts that are detonated underground.

“To determine what the layers are, we need to stimulate the subsurface levels,” McGill said. “Every medium, whether it be limestone, shale, etc., has a different velocity. The blasts send vibrations through the layers to determine what the layers are.”

Merlin Oil has obtained all the necessary permission to conduct the study.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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