WorldWide Drilling Resource

23 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® JANUARY 2021 Drilling Begins on First Highly Deviated Deep Well for EGS Adapted from Information by the Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy The Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) has started drilling its first highly deviated deep well. Although highly deviated wells are frequently used in the gas and oil industry, they haven’t been used for geother- mal purposes, and the FORGE team hopes to be the first to tackle this challenge while drilling in hot, hard crystalline granite. The upper part of the well will be drilled vertically through approximately 4700 feet of sediments, at which point it will pen- etrate into hard crystalline granite. At about 6000 feet, the well will be gradually steered at a 5-degree angle for each 100 feet until it reaches an inclination of 65 degrees from its vertical point. The total length of the well will be roughly 11,000 feet with the toe (the end of the well) reaching a vertical depth of 8500 feet. The temperature at this depth is expected to be around 440°F (226ºC). “This is an exciting phase in the Utah FORGE project and is key to proving Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technolo- gies are commercially viable,” said Joseph Moore, Ph.D., and principal investigator of Utah FORGE. The goal of this research is to test tools and technologies for the creation of a geothermal resource where none exists natu- rally. Developing cost-effective EGS technologies is an impor- tant step in capturing the energy potential beneath our feet and bringing low-cost, environmentally green, and renewable energy across the U.S. Once the well is completed, a series of tests will be run to accelerate the development of the EGS resource. Some of the tests will include determining the stress conditions through short-term injection experiments, during which microseismicity will be carefully monitored. Other tests will allow for the interpretation of the orientation and distribution of the existing and induced fractures in the granite, which will form the pathways for water to circulate and heat up in the newly created EGS reservoir. The results of these tests and research and development activities will be used to plan the second deviated well. Drilling of the second well is tentatively scheduled for early 2022. GEO