Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil and a group of Icelandic partners have begun test drilling for what they hope will be the world’s hottest geothermal production site.
“The concept of the research well at Reykjanes is to explore the opportunity to extract renewable energy by drilling wells into reservoirs of high-temperature water heated by the earth’s magma,” JWN Energy reports. “The drilling involves deepening of an existing geothermal well down to five kilometres depth at the Reykjanes site operated by HS Orka,” one of the project partners. “At this depth, superheated steam can be brought to the surface at 400-500°C and used for efficient electricity production in steam turbines.”
Drilling is set to conclude by the end of the year, JWN reports. After that, the partners will take 2½ years testing reservoir performance, well integrity, and power production potential.
“Research and technology is crucial for Statoil in a short- and long-term perspective, and having the high-beams on means looking many years ahead and beyond current business,” said Statoil Chief Technology Officer Elisabeth B. Kvalheim. “Geothermal energy is a renewable resource where we see potential for leveraging several of our core competencies from oil and gas.”
Statoil also announced last week that it had boosted its investment in one offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom and will soon take over operation of another one, Sheringham Shoal, a 317-MW facility that can power up to 220,000 homes.
“Taking over the operatorship for Sheringham Shoal represents a milestone for Statoil, as our first operatorship during commercial operations,” said Irene Rummelhoff, the company’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions. “As operator of both the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farms, located in the same area, we can further improve efficiency and increase competitiveness across the projects.”
Statoil is increasing its ownership share in the newer Dogger Bank project—the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with intended installed capacity of 4,800 MW—from 25 to 50%. “This is in line with our strategy to gradually complement Statoil’s oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions,” Rummelhoff said.