Categorized | Letters, Local, News

GEOTHERMAL : An Outside View

Information on this subject is non existent from official sources.

I asked the Minister responsible, via an e mail, when the final report on the wells would be available.

In April the Premier among others said that more testing was needed and that the final report would be here in July. We are well into the month and the Minister has chosen to ignore my request. This does not mean that nothing has happened.

The Premier indicated on ZJB that our benefactors had agreed to fund the drilling of a third well. This was confirmed by the DFID Representative at the Governor’ press conference when he stated that a Business Case had been presented to H.M.G. and had been accepted.

This is very strange since Officially there is NO concrete information regarding the state of either well!

In April, at a press briefing the “Geothermal Expert” confirmed that the two wells were producing (approximately) four (4) megawatts, it was not entirely clear if this was individually or in combination. In either case that amount would be sufficient to meet the electrical needs of the island now and for the next four or five years.

Why then, do we need to drill a third well?

One reason may be to overcome a problem with the original drilling contract which DID NOT include the requirement to carry out Directional or Sidetrack drilling and like ALL contractors if it isn’t in the contract it is not undertaken!

This grave omission along with others concerning the capacity and capability of the rig meant we did not get what was needed.

The same expert said in April that the wells had been drilled into the outflow rather than the clay cap which in turn meant we did not get the right temperature and flow.

He complained that due to physical restrictions they had not been able to get close enough to the volcano.

Had this person included “ Sidetrack “ drilling in the contract as the Energy Committee/Oversight Team requested it would have been possible to drill under St George’s hill by going sideways.

Lateral drilling of this type is now commonplace and is used extensively in the “Fracking” industry. This could have been undertaken for a relatively small increase in cost while the IDC

equipmet was on island. Now a new contract will have to be raised at a cost similar to the original.

Be that as it may, the question is why go there at all?

Information on the ground indicates that a further delay of four weeks or more is likely before the report will be available.

Another snippet of information, very hard to prove is that no more testing can take place because the measuring probe has been “LOST” down one of the wells and there is no equipment available to recover it.

Testing has now been ongoing for more than 8 months, this is in marked contrast to Dominica whose Minister announced after 6 yes six days of testing that one of their production wells would provide at least 11 Mw of power this was on 18th June.

This would all be laughable if it were not so serious. I agree that geothermal is fundamental to the prosperity and well being of Montserrat BUT it will be much less than three years in coming as the Premier has stated unless the government machine goes into reverse.

We should all remember that the longer the delay the more it costs each and every consumer of power, Without the fuel surcharge of 94 cents per kilowatt the average user would have many dollars a month to spend on other essentials.

Sam Rhys-Williams

Comments are closed.

Newsletter

Archives

Information on this subject is non existent from official sources.

I asked the Minister responsible, via an e mail, when the final report on the wells would be available.

In April the Premier among others said that more testing was needed and that the final report would be here in July. We are well into the month and the Minister has chosen to ignore my request. This does not mean that nothing has happened.

Insert Ads Here

The Premier indicated on ZJB that our benefactors had agreed to fund the drilling of a third well. This was confirmed by the DFID Representative at the Governor’ press conference when he stated that a Business Case had been presented to H.M.G. and had been accepted.

This is very strange since Officially there is NO concrete information regarding the state of either well!

In April, at a press briefing the “Geothermal Expert” confirmed that the two wells were producing (approximately) four (4) megawatts, it was not entirely clear if this was individually or in combination. In either case that amount would be sufficient to meet the electrical needs of the island now and for the next four or five years.

Why then, do we need to drill a third well?

One reason may be to overcome a problem with the original drilling contract which DID NOT include the requirement to carry out Directional or Sidetrack drilling and like ALL contractors if it isn’t in the contract it is not undertaken!

This grave omission along with others concerning the capacity and capability of the rig meant we did not get what was needed.

The same expert said in April that the wells had been drilled into the outflow rather than the clay cap which in turn meant we did not get the right temperature and flow.

He complained that due to physical restrictions they had not been able to get close enough to the volcano.

Had this person included “ Sidetrack “ drilling in the contract as the Energy Committee/Oversight Team requested it would have been possible to drill under St George’s hill by going sideways.

Lateral drilling of this type is now commonplace and is used extensively in the “Fracking” industry. This could have been undertaken for a relatively small increase in cost while the IDC

equipmet was on island. Now a new contract will have to be raised at a cost similar to the original.

Be that as it may, the question is why go there at all?

Information on the ground indicates that a further delay of four weeks or more is likely before the report will be available.

Another snippet of information, very hard to prove is that no more testing can take place because the measuring probe has been “LOST” down one of the wells and there is no equipment available to recover it.

Testing has now been ongoing for more than 8 months, this is in marked contrast to Dominica whose Minister announced after 6 yes six days of testing that one of their production wells would provide at least 11 Mw of power this was on 18th June.

This would all be laughable if it were not so serious. I agree that geothermal is fundamental to the prosperity and well being of Montserrat BUT it will be much less than three years in coming as the Premier has stated unless the government machine goes into reverse.

We should all remember that the longer the delay the more it costs each and every consumer of power, Without the fuel surcharge of 94 cents per kilowatt the average user would have many dollars a month to spend on other essentials.

Sam Rhys-Williams