Image courtesy of Geodynamics Limited
Geodynamics Limited became registered as a public company in November of 2000. It was created to focus on the development of renewable energy in the form of geothermal power from hot fractured rocks in Australia.
This is the largest ASX-listed company in Australia devoted to developing hot fractured rock geothermal energy. The company has been developing its geothermal resource position in the Cooper Basin in South Australia for the past 7 years. Hot fractured rock refers to the heat generated by granite rock located 3km or more below the Earth’s surface. The heat inside these granites is trapped by overlying rocks which act as an insulating blanket. The heat is extracted from the rocks by circulating water through them in an engineered, artificial reservoir or underground heat exchanger.
Geodynamics hot fractured rock idea is based on existing technologies and engineering processes such as drilling and hydraulic fracturing. These techniques have been well established by the oil and gas industry. A standard geothermal power station would be built to convert the extracted heat into electricity.
In 2007 the company purchased the Le Tourneau ‘Lightning Rig’ The 3000hp rig has great mobility and the capacity to operate at extreme depths, up to 6000m. This rig is said to be the industry’s highest quality, highest performing drilling equipment, engineered for safe, efficient drilling operations as well as rapid deployment. The Lightning Rig is solidly constructed and has the structural reliability of a conventional rig in a quick set-up design. The rig began drilling its first production-scale well – Habanero 3 – in August 2007.
To this point the company has drilled five wells – Habanero 1, Habanero 2, Habanero 3, Jolokia 1 and Savina 1. Of these, Habanero 1 and 2 are not of commercial scale, while Habanero 2 is not sufficiently connected to the reservoir because of lost equipment in the hole.
Habanero 3, is the first well to be drilled using the ‘Lightning Rig’, and likely to be the first commercially viable well. The target depth was 4,221 m (13,850 ft) and this was reached on January 22, 2008. The completion of drilling in Habanero 3 according to the company’s web site “was a significant milestone in the development of Geodynamics, making it the largest well of this depth ever drilled onshore in Australia and the first commercial scale Hot Fractured Rock production well to be drilled. Jolokia 1 was drilled to 4879 m and Savina 1 was drilled to 3871 m.”
This company is currently well placed to develop the first commercially viable geothermal power station. However, one of the issue with developing an electricity generation in the back blocks of Australia is the significant transmission infrastructure and associated costs required to bring the power to market.