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Geothermal drilling, hoping for Well #1

Geothermal-Dig-(1)Within hours of speaking to directors at the first geothermal drilling site in Cork Hill came the news that the resource could be close to expectation, or just hope!

Roger Almond and George Fie had told The Montserrat Reporter accompanied by a couple members of  CRM (Committee for the Redevelopment of Montserrat) at 7.30 a.m. that in a few more hundred feet they would have reached the end of the Icelandic rig’s drilling capacity, however they were already feeling 300° F temperature and in the process of tests. That was good news and hopeful information.

However, this created some nervous concerns that should nothing better was encountered, the process might have to be shelved and a new rig imported. These concerns were immediately conveyed to the Premier who was due to have a meeting with the Public Works Director, Ron Beardsley. Among the immediate concerns, the CRM members led by the chairman, presented. “Drill depth currently achieved is 2000m (6150ft).  IDC can only drill another 400-500ft more, so drilling will stop in the next 2-3 days because the drill rig lacks the power to drill any deeper.  This can mean no water, no steam, no pressure, thus no geothermal power!”

The confirmation note to the Premier as to the earlier meeting continued: “…The reason, (problem) we should have had a rig with 1000hp (and not the existing 550hp) with the 200,000lbs lifting power, and most important multidirectional drilling capability which the present rig does not have and the EGS final report recommended.“

The recommendation included, “Firstly, enter into negotiations with IDC for a larger rig as specified by EGS, or cancel the contract and retender again.  We are sure that IDC will be interested in providing what Government requires, in order that we do not lose continuity and the cost of the present well.  In the final analysis, it will simply be changing one rig for what we should have had in the first place.”

The (PWD) director (Ministry of Comms and Works) when contacted and asked how the drilling was progressing, first of all said that at the moment (Thursday, there was an equipment breakdown, that may require the importation of spares). Beardsley said that as of Thursday a.m., the drilling had gone down 2,298 meters. “The plan was to go down 2,000 meters…We will continue to go down far as 2400 meters,” he countered.Geothermal-Dig-(2) BR speaks to Ron Beardsley – geothermal update

He said that there was some excitement and that things were fairly stable, as they were losing water at, ”… a maximum of 160 gallons a minute of water loss, it’s major, we’d like to see bigger loss than that.”

He told TMR much the same as was told to us by the experts at the site on Wednesday and revealed that the geophysicist is due in on the weekend, bringing, “…some very sensitive instruments with them, that can test the pressure and temperatures down the well.”

He added the instruments will check the temperature profile as it goes down the well and show where the hottest point is. “…however the profile goes, if that shows, we have already past the hottest point in the well and start to cool off slightly, then there would be little point drilling down any deeper…” he said, hinting that this could well be the news at this point, which some ‘experts’ have determined, suggest this will mean that Well #1 is in sight. He concluded that if the profile shows (the temperature continues to rise, the drilling would continue to 2,400 meters.”

He also said that regarding mechanical breakdown at the plant, “the engineers are currently assessing that to see how bad it is – it sounds like we’re going to have to get some parts to get it up and running again,” which from positive hopes and unconfirmed accounts will be in time to set up the rig for Well #2.

Photos show, with careful viewing, the water that is returning from the well gushing heavily.

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Geothermal-Dig-(1)Within hours of speaking to directors at the first geothermal drilling site in Cork Hill came the news that the resource could be close to expectation, or just hope!

Roger Almond and George Fie had told The Montserrat Reporter accompanied by a couple members of  CRM (Committee for the Redevelopment of Montserrat) at 7.30 a.m. that in a few more hundred feet they would have reached the end of the Icelandic rig’s drilling capacity, however they were already feeling 300° F temperature and in the process of tests. That was good news and hopeful information.

However, this created some nervous concerns that should nothing better was encountered, the process might have to be shelved and a new rig imported. These concerns were immediately conveyed to the Premier who was due to have a meeting with the Public Works Director, Ron Beardsley. Among the immediate concerns, the CRM members led by the chairman, presented. “Drill depth currently achieved is 2000m (6150ft).  IDC can only drill another 400-500ft more, so drilling will stop in the next 2-3 days because the drill rig lacks the power to drill any deeper.  This can mean no water, no steam, no pressure, thus no geothermal power!”

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The confirmation note to the Premier as to the earlier meeting continued: “…The reason, (problem) we should have had a rig with 1000hp (and not the existing 550hp) with the 200,000lbs lifting power, and most important multidirectional drilling capability which the present rig does not have and the EGS final report recommended.“

The recommendation included, “Firstly, enter into negotiations with IDC for a larger rig as specified by EGS, or cancel the contract and retender again.  We are sure that IDC will be interested in providing what Government requires, in order that we do not lose continuity and the cost of the present well.  In the final analysis, it will simply be changing one rig for what we should have had in the first place.”

The (PWD) director (Ministry of Comms and Works) when contacted and asked how the drilling was progressing, first of all said that at the moment (Thursday, there was an equipment breakdown, that may require the importation of spares). Beardsley said that as of Thursday a.m., the drilling had gone down 2,298 meters. “The plan was to go down 2,000 meters…We will continue to go down far as 2400 meters,” he countered.Geothermal-Dig-(2) BR speaks to Ron Beardsley – geothermal update

He said that there was some excitement and that things were fairly stable, as they were losing water at, ”… a maximum of 160 gallons a minute of water loss, it’s major, we’d like to see bigger loss than that.”

He told TMR much the same as was told to us by the experts at the site on Wednesday and revealed that the geophysicist is due in on the weekend, bringing, “…some very sensitive instruments with them, that can test the pressure and temperatures down the well.”

He added the instruments will check the temperature profile as it goes down the well and show where the hottest point is. “…however the profile goes, if that shows, we have already past the hottest point in the well and start to cool off slightly, then there would be little point drilling down any deeper…” he said, hinting that this could well be the news at this point, which some ‘experts’ have determined, suggest this will mean that Well #1 is in sight. He concluded that if the profile shows (the temperature continues to rise, the drilling would continue to 2,400 meters.”

He also said that regarding mechanical breakdown at the plant, “the engineers are currently assessing that to see how bad it is – it sounds like we’re going to have to get some parts to get it up and running again,” which from positive hopes and unconfirmed accounts will be in time to set up the rig for Well #2.

Photos show, with careful viewing, the water that is returning from the well gushing heavily.