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Petratherm might supply commercial geothermal power as early as 2012

Drilling rig at Paralana project of Petratherm, Australia (source: Petratherm)
Alexander Richter 3 May 2011

Australian Petratherm might be the first company to deliver commercial geothermal power in Australia, from its Paralana project in northern South Australia.

Reported from Australia, the country might see “its first delivery of commercial geothermal power by the end of next year – from Petratherm’s Paralana project in northern South Australia.

Helping achieve that sector-leading milestone will be the first critical test next month of a sustained fracture stimulation test over three to five days at Paralana.

Addressing the second day in Adelaide today of the Paydirt 2011 South Australian Resources & Energy Investment Conference, Petratherm’s Managing Director, Mr Terry Kallis, said the first production milestone was achievable provided the Company continued to meet its targets, as it had carefully done so in recent years.

‘This is not a race and the sector has had its detractors but we are now within a very real and measureable 18 month horizon of achieving maiden production for ourselves – and the sector – with the commissioning of a first stage 3.75 megawatt power plant,’ Mr Kallis said.

Petratherm in January successfully completed an initial but deliberately small two hour fracture test on its Paralana-2 well where an injection of a small volume of water detected micro-seismic event as far as 300 metres out from the well hole.

‘We have now scheduled our deep well major fracture stimulation over several days to take place next month using higher volumes of water at higher pressure rates to activate a natural fracture network around the 4,000 metre deep Paralana-2 and targeting micro seismic events up to and beyond 500 metres,’ Mr Kallis said.

‘If we achieve this, it basically further de-risks the project as it will help determine our ability to get a commercial flow rate going between the injector and eventual Paralana-3 production well.’

Petratherm plans to drill the Paralana-3 deep production well in the second half of calendar 2011 and complete the final circulation test and proof of flow during the first half of 2012. This will allow the commercial commissioning to be in effect by the end of next year.

The project has attracted Federal Government support to date of $70 million with major partner support from Beach Energy and TRUenergy.

The costs for the stimulation test are largely covered by the joint ventures.

Paralana is well placed to provide offgrid power into nearby uranium and coal mines, as well as a longer link to Olympic Dam to the west. It is also being touted as an ongrid supplier to the emerging multi-mine iron ore province to its southeast – in an area west of and south of Broken Hill.

It is expected maiden customer demand will range between 5- 30 megawatts with the Paralana field having the potential ability to provide base load supply at around 260 megawatts.

Once the project moves to a decision to produce power, Petratherm is virtually free carried through the first stage 3.75 – 7.5 MW capacity operation and to scale-up to a 30 MW demonstration plant which is supported with a $63.8 million government grant.”

Source: Oil Voice