Zephyr Energy plc (AIM: ZPHR) (OTCQB: ZPHRF) provides an update on operations on the State 36-2 LNW-CC well (the "State 36-2 well" or the "well") at the Company's flagship project in the Paradox Basin, Utah, U.S.
On 19 January 2023 the Company announced that it had intersected a major, highly-pressured, natural fracture network while drilling the well. This resulted in a significant influx of hydrocarbons into the wellbore. The well was subsequently stabilised, and on 20 March 2023 the Company announced that workover and subsequent production test operations were set to commence.
On 7 April 2023, as workover operations were being completed, what appears to be a failure in a safety valve led to a significant well control incident despite multiple attempts to secure the well by the rig crew. As a result, hydrocarbons were released from the well in an uncontrolled manner.
In keeping with safety procedures, all personnel were safely evacuated without injury. All relevant authorities were notified and a specialist well control team (recommended by the Company's insurers) was deployed in order to bring the well under control as quickly as possible.
The Company can now report that well control efforts have proved successful. While the well pad has been impacted by hydrocarbon residue, efforts are already under way to remove impacted soil as well as to clean the service rig and ancillary equipment. Although it is unclear at this time as to the total volume of gas and condensate released, surface impacts appear to be limited to an immediate area around the pad, and the Company plans to conduct a confirmatory environmental survey in the near term.
Regarding progression and timing of the planned well test, the Company will provide a further update in due course once it has had the opportunity to comprehensively assess the situation and complete any necessary additional well work prior to testing.