Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. (ZN) announces formal approval from the Israel Ministry of Energy of its drilling plan for its next well in Israel.
ďThe amount of progress has been miraculous given the strains on the Israeli government due to Covid-19 and their operating at approximately 30% capacity,Ē expressed Rob Dunn, CEO. ďThis drilling plan approval demonstrates Israelís commitment to further energy exploration and the ongoing partnership between Zion and the State of Israel.Ē
Zion submitted its proposed drilling plan to the Ministry for approval on April 12, 2020, and after considerable work by Zion and Ministry personnel, received plan approval on July 29, 2020. Zionís plan anticipates drilling activities will commence in mid to late third quarter, 2020. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Zion expects it will take approximately five months from spud to target depth to drill the Megiddo Jezreel #2 well.
The importation of Zionís drilling rig has been delayed due to the uncertainties of Covid-19 and, as a result, severely restricted visa issuance within Israel for Zionís rig crews. During the pandemic-related delays, Zion also has been working simultaneously with customs authorities and shipping agents to deal with all of the logistical issues posed by transporting approximately 150 truckloads of rig and related equipment to the port of Constanta, Romania for importation into Israel.
All required customs documentation has now been delivered to the required Ministries within Israel, and Zionís drilling rig is ready to ship from Constanta to Haifa, Israel once the visa issuance restarts. Zion estimates a 5-7-day transit from Romania to Israel.
Zion plans to start civil work on the pad location in mid-August with the construction of the cellar and setting of the conductor pipe. Other required items have been procured, including wellhead, casing and drill bits, many of which are shipping out of Houston, Texas.
APPROVALS AND PERMITS
Since late quarter one 2020 Zion has worked diligently to obtain multiple, required approvals from more than a dozen different Israeli regulatory bodies to allow drilling to begin as soon as possible. A partial list of these regulatory bodies include Israel Defense Forces, civil aviation, national road infrastructure, Israel Electric Corporation, gas pipelines, communication/cable lines, antiquities authority (archaeology), and petroleum and engineering infrastructure.
Applications for Zionís rig crew visas were submitted in early April to the Ministry of Interior, which has yet to approve them. With the unforeseen effects of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health became involved with the visa-issuance process, which is a new development that continues to be very fluid with the Covid-19 environment. Zionís crews are prepared to travel once visas are issued and quarantine measures and mitigation plans are in place.