WorldWide Drilling Resource®

CUSTOM SPECIALTY WINCHES FOR WELL DRILLING AND PUMP HOIST TRUCKS Manufactured with your specifications in mind BLOOM MANUFACTURING, INC. Custom Engineering Solutions Since 1910 Independence, IA 50644 USA P: +1 319-827-1139 P: 800-394-1139 F: +1 319-827-1140 DESIGNED FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE & SAFETY MAINLINE WINCHES 3000 to 35,000 pounds Up to 130 feet per minute SANDLINE WINCHES 1800 to 8000 pounds Up to 800 feet per minute WINCHES 32 JANUARY 2020 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® Japan Invests in Geothermal Exploration Compiled by Bonnie Love, Editor, WorldWide Drilling Resource ® Japan's government has decided to take the reins on developing the country’s geothermal power resources. Although Japan ranks third in the world for geothermal resources, behind the U.S. and Indonesia, development of geothermal resources has struggled. No stranger to geothermal power, the country’s first geothermal plant opened in 1924, and the first commercial geothermal plant opened in 1952. However, the country has only developed about 2% of its geothermal resources. Japan has stated it wants to produce 22-24% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030, and geothermal power seems to be the answer. Unfortunately, the cost of exploration has taken its toll on exploration companies and they are calling on the government to help move things along. Until recently, drilling to determine whether conditions are right for geothermal power development was left to private developers. This test- ing takes years to conduct and costs millions of dollars without any guar- antees of production. Although state subsidies cover part of the cost, companies have called for greater national involvement. State-owned JOGMEC (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation) is developing several methods to locate viable geothermal resources using technology from the gas and oil, as well as the mining industries. It has decided to assist Japanese companies with surveys on geothermal resources by subsidizing part of the survey cost to de- termine the influence on the surrounding environment. The extensive, high-precision surveys use airborne geophysical technology by a heli- copter. Expenses for the high-risk initial surveys, such as surface survey, geophysical exploration, and well drilling surveys in potential areas for geothermal resources will also be subsidized. With about 80% of the country’s geothermal resources located in national and local parks, approval for drilling requires coordinating with various levels of government, from local authorities to the Environment Ministry. JOGMEC plans to help fund environmental assessments and monitoring surveys to develop geothermal resources in harmony with the natural environment and hot springs. The company will begin conducting test bores for geothermal projects this year; including work to help reduce the regulatory issues associated with exploration drilling efforts. This may encourage geothermal power plants to come online quicker. Currently, going from test bores to a working geothermal plant can take a decade or more. GEO The Wasabizawa Geothermal Plant, which began operations earlier this year, is the first large-scale geothermal plant to go online in Japan in 23 years. Photo courtesy of Toshiba.