Geothermal Resources Tapped in Australia

Renewable Energy company Geodynamics Limited has begun drilling its Habanero 1 well, to access one of the world’s hottest geothermal resources 4.9 km under the Cooper Basin in Australia.

Queensland, Australia – February 19, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Chief executive Bertus de Graaf said Habanero 1 was tapped on schedule and was already at 815 feet (248 meters) as of last Saturday and said it would be the deepest well ever drilled in mainland Australia, taking ten to 12 weeks to reach the 290 degree Celcius Hot Dry Rock (HDR) resource. “Geodynamics is pioneering hot dry rock geothermal electricity production in Australia,” de Graaf said. “Habanero 1 will be the deepest well ever drilled on mainland Australia; the hottest well ever drilled and also Australia’s first deep geothermal well. This is a true milestone for Geodynamics and comes after two and a half years of planning and only four and a half months after we listed on the stock exchange.” The drilling of Habanero 1 was the first stage in developing an underground heat exchanger, to demonstrate the economic extraction of hot dry rock geothermal energy. “Establishing this underground heat exchanger will open up the full potential of the world-class, high-grade HDR geothermal resource,” said Graaf. “Habanero 1 is part of the first step of achieving our goal, to be an emission free base-load electricity generator using renewable HDR geothermal energy.” Dr. de Graaf said Australian and international drilling experts had contributed to the design of Habanero 1, which is situated near Innamincka in South Australia. The company forged close ties with the Soultz HDR project in France, the Central Research Institute for the Electricity Industry in Japan (CRIEPI) and the CSIRO. “With the world’s attention focused on the finite oil reserves of the Middle East, the need for a dependable Renewable Energy resource has never been stronger,” said de Graaf. Experts from Europe, Japan, USA, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, CSIRO, University of Queensland and Primary Industry and Resources South Australia will attend a second peer review of the Geodynamics’ hydraulic stimulation program at the end of the month. The company also has geothermal work underway on an existing 3.7km Santos well, McLeod 1, which is situated about 500 meters from Habanero 1 to convert it to an observation well. An acoustic monitoring network made up of three 850 meter deep wells and four other shallow wells would also be finished during this quarter. “By lowering geophones into these wells we will be able to record the outcome of the hydraulic stimulation program and the results hold the key to the success of the Cooper Basin project,” said de Graaf. The energy stored at a depth of less than 5 km (ie within the “oil window”) within Geodynamics’ two geothermal Exploration Licences totaling 985 square kilometers, is equivalent to 50 billion barrels of oil. By comparison, the proved oil reserves in the USA are estimated at about 30 billion barrels, and in Australia, 3 billion barrels. HDR geothermal electricity qualifies for the Federal Government incentives for Renewable Energy called Renewable Energy Certificates. This has the potential to double the electricity revenue received by Geodynamics compared with fossil fuel power stations. The success of the project does not depend on new technology, but on the economic extraction of heat from the hot granite rocks. The known high temperatures of the granite rocks in the Cooper Basin are at depths accessible by standard drilling rigs, making Geodynamics’ resource unique. The company said it offers the possibility to produce large scale, renewable electricity at a lower cost than hydro, wind, biomass or solar alternatives, at a cost close to that of conventional fossil fuel power stations. HDR energy can also supply power on a continuous basis, further distinguishing it from other intermittent renewable resources.

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