U.S. geothermal drilling rig count lowest since February 2008

U.S. Monthly geothermal drilling rig count, average by month July 2008-June 2011 (source: Baker Hughes)
Alexander Richter 21 Jun 2011

The latest U.S. geothermal drilling rig count, by Baker Hughes, shows that currently only 6 drilling rigs are drilling for geothermal power projects in the U.S.. This is the lowest number since February 2008 and clearly a sign of a lack in financing for this crucial element in geothermal development.

The latest drilling rig count from Baker and Hughes only lists 6 drilling rigs drilling for geothermal in the U.S. at this moment. This is effectively the lowest rig count in the geothermal sector in the U.S. since February 2008.

In a presentation given last year at the Opening session of GRC in Sacramento, Icelandic bank Íslandsbanki made the argument that in order to develop all current projects in the U.S., 22 drilling rigs would need to be drilling on geothermal projects in 2011 alone, the same for 2012 and even more for 2013 and 2014.

With currently only 6 drilling rigs at work, developers won´t be able to prove their resources and develop projects.

This shows the current lack in drilling finance in the U.S. The stimulus funding clearly hasn´t been able to address one of the burning issues of the industry. At this most critical stage in project development, the industry needs support – be it in form of a drilling insurance, drilling grants or any kind of tool that helps to attract investors and banks to provide the necessary financing for the drilling campaigns of developers.

One can only hope that developers will be able to raise the necessary financing to prove the viability of geothermal power development in the U.S.

Source: Baker Hughes Drilling Rig Count (June 17, 2011), Íslandsbanki GRC Presentation October 2010