Gas well bursts in Grand County

A freshly drilled oil and gas well in Grand County ruptured Friday, releasing an uncontrolled flow of gas into the environment and blocking access to recreational targets over the weekend as crews struggled to stem the leak.

Rose Petroleum LLC, a small Parker, Colorado-based energy company affiliated with Zephyr Energy, drilled the well in February, according to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining. The well is on a State Trust trend that is part of the White Wash oil and gas entity in a remote area south of Interstate 70 and east of the Green River.

Due to an “equipment malfunction,” natural gas began leaking from the well around noon Friday, driven by pressures of about 2,000 pounds per square inch, according to a report by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Crews hired by Rose stopped the leak three days later, but the extent of the environmental damage and how much hazardous material was released has yet to be determined.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

“To ensure the process was successful, Rose had to mobilize specialized contractors and materials, and complement its existing equipment. This was in addition to the extensive time required to prepare the heavy mud mixture required for the well control operation,” Rose executive Colin Harrington said in a press release. “Rose has notified the appropriate local, state and federal regulators of the incident and we will update them on our remediation work that has already begun. We will carry out the refurbishment work conscientiously and promptly until it is completed.”

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While the well was venting gas over the weekend, the Grand County Sheriff closed Ruby Ranch Road to the White Wash Sand Dunes areas, a popular motorized recreation destination. The road reopened Monday, but the closure affected participants in last weekend’s Jeep Safari.

“We know this was a major inconvenience to the individuals and families who were unable to use the road over the weekend,” said the Rose manager. “We sincerely apologize to the community for any inconvenience caused by the road closure and well control incident.”

Justin Scaccy

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