Idaho, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] U.S. Geothermal Inc. has started development drilling at the Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Project located in eastern Oregon. Well NHS-5, the first well in this new program, is currently drilled to a depth of 300 feet. The total depth of the well is planned to be drilled to approximately 2,800 feet where it is expected to encounter a large aperture fracture containing geothermal fluid.
Up to three large diameter wells, ranging in depth from 2,300 to 3,800 feet are planned in this drilling program. Construction of the associated drill pads began during the week of August 17. One drill pad is complete and a second pad is currently under construction. Trinity Drilling has been contracted to drill the wells and initiated drilling on September 18.
Permits for four exploration wells were received from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries on September 11, 2009 allowing for expansion of the program based on results. The Bureau of Land Management has issued a Record of Decision for an Environmental Assessment which allows surface access and pad construction to a well site that is located on federal surface lands that overlay private geothermal rights.
In addition to these deep, large diameter production wells, a temperature gradient well program consisting of up to 9 small-diameter wells each approximately 500 feet in depth was initiated during the week of September 7, 2009. The temperature gradient well program will acquire field data necessary to better understand the full geothermal resource potential at Neal Hot Springs, U.S. Geothermal said.