Zephyr Energy Site chosen for Paradox Basin Test Well in DOE backed project to test optimization analyses for more focused, efficient, and less environmentally impactful oil production strategies
EGI’s Carbon Management Group confirmed this month that it had selected a site for a vertical stratigraphic test well as part of its ‘Improving Production in the Emerging Paradox Oil Play’ project. The project is led by PI and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Dr. Brian McPherson, in collaboration with other departments at the University of Utah and the Utah Geological Survey. The project is sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.
The group selected a site in the northern Paradox Basin leased by Zephyr Energy. The site represents a strongly favorable location with an existing well pad and a high-quality subsurface 3D seismic dataset. The final site selection for the project comes after several months of analysis of potential locations throughout the Paradox Basin.
As part of the study, the project team plans to drill a vertical stratigraphic test well by the end of the year to gather core and geophysical logs from the Pennsylvanian Cane Creek clastic unit. The stratigraphic well data would be used to better characterize and understand the geology, hydrology, and geomechanics of the Cane Creek.
Of particular interest to the project team are the prevalent natural fractures within the Cane Creek. While the fractures are known to dominate hydrocarbon production, most wells in the Cane Creek have failed to intersect these zones, as forecasting and finding the fractures in the unconventional Paradox Play is challenging, often involving costly and unsustainable speculative drilling. To minimize effort, resource consumption, and expense, better methods must be developed to evaluate the Cane Creek and potential pay zones. To this end, the project team will utilize the data from the stratigraphic well and the 3D seismic data to develop models that will more accurately constrain the location and extent of natural fractures within the Cane Creek. The knowledge gained from the characterization and modeling work will be used to test a future well location and drilling strategy, with the goal of optimizing exploration activities while reducing the overall number of wells and their environmental impact.