Interview with Dr. Warren T. Dewhurst, CEO of the Dewhurst Group

Nevados del Ruiz Volcano, Colombia (source: flickr/ Aztlek, creative commons)
Francisco Rojas 22 Sep 2014

ThinkGeoEnergy interviews Dr. Warren T. Dewhurst, CEO of the Dewhurst Group, an american company specialised in geothermal exploration and development in the US and worldwide.

Following our series of interviews to key players in the geothermal industry, ThinkGeoEnergy has had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Warren T. Dewhurst, CEO of the Dewhurst Group.

The Dewhurst Group (DG) is the result of over 20-years of scientific cooperation between International and American scientists. They specialize in geothermal exploration and development. In addition to American geophysicists and engineers from Utility Mapping Services, Inc. (UMS) their geoscientists possess unparalleled expertise with the magnetotelluric method, mathematical inversion and interpretation for geothermal exploration.

warren2DG was founded by CEO Dr. Warren T. Dewhurst and features prominent internationally recognized geologists, geophysicists, and engineers with unparalleled experience in volcanology, geophysics, inversion theory and interpretation. The firm os also specialized in resistivity imaging using their own equipment and methods and can also provide complementary data such as shallow temperature measurements, gravity, magnetics, and seismic data.

The firm operates at an international level and has operations in Colombia, operating in conjunction with Empresas Públicas de Medellín E.S.P. developing the first of several geothermal projects planned in the vicinity of Nevado Del Ruiz. Other projects are centered in the US in Nevada and New Mexico.

Where is your company based and where are you right now?
We are located in Germantown, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC, which is where I am at this moment.

How international is your business and how does this affect your work?
Most of our current business opportunities are international. We have not conducted any geothermal exploration projects in the United States since 2012.

How much do you travel?
A lot. I think that perhaps half of my time is spent away from the home office.

What technology do you carry on a trip?
For normal business travel I take with me the usual devices, mobile phones, cameras, tablet, and computer. When we are performing an exploration survey we carry with us about a metric ton of equipment but that is usually shipped separately.

What are two (3?) key things that differentiate your company in the market (Set your firm appart)
We started out as an exploration company that specialized only in magnetotelluric surveys and only for geothermal exploration. Now we are more vertically oriented, providing early reconnaissance using satellite data and remote sensing, geophysical (multidiscipline) and geological mapping, drilling supervision, and environmental and social impact assessments, all in-house. We also provide reservoir engineering with our partner, RESPEC, Inc. We are the only US geothermal exploration company with offices in Colombia, South America and as far as I know we are the only geothermal exploration company that is an institutional member of the Society for International Development (SID – Washington Chapter). For the past three years we have been working and developing an unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) capability using a number of sensors. I am pretty sure we were the first to see and use UAVs for geothermal exploration. We also work very closely with international scientists and we make many of our geophysical tools, tuned to the requirements of geothermal work. Perhaps we are the only geothermal exploration and development company in Washington, DC! Since most of our work is international, and Washington, DC is definitely a major international hub, with three large airports at our disposal, it makes sense to be here. So, to summarize, 1.) We only do geothermal exploration and development – not oil or gas or mining, 2.) We chose, make and tune our techniques and tools for one purpose – geothermal work, 3.) We are probably the only geothermal exploration company with a fleet of UAVs, 4.) We are the only US geothermal exploration company with offices in Colombia, and 5.) We are the only geothermal exploration company that is an institutional member of SID.

What are the main obstacles for your business today?
Money. Developers need to be able to mitigate and manage early exploration risk (perhaps with more insurance programs besides later stage drilling insurance) and have increased avenues to fund projects – both through equity and debt financing.

What are the key markets for the geothermal industry right now and why?
There are many! Key markets continue to be places that are geologically advantageous, although there are some efforts, perhaps in Germany, that can be a market due to government support rather than stellar geology. Africa, Latin America, the Philippines, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, the USA (Alaska, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, the Dakotas, etc. Perhaps even Pakistan, India, and China and the islands in the pacific. This is hardly a conclusive list.

Where do you see the industry in 20 years from now?
That is a good question. Hopefully the industry can work more closely with governments and venture capital and insurance firms to develop ways to finance projects and manage that early stage costs. If that happens, and if we can develop more efficient and novel engines that can utilize lower temperature resources then markets can increase dramatically.

If you had unlimited funding to promote geothermal, what would you do?
Unlimited funding for the promotion of geothermal would be best spent creating easily accessible drilling risk mitigation funds. Allowing investors to more readily and confidently support early stage development programs. By altering the current front loaded high risk development model, many more projects would move from the exploration to production phase in a timely fashion, giving smaller developers and public entities the ability to take advantage of a geothermal resource.

What would be your key advice for people wanting to enter the geothermal industry?
Geothermal projects are about more than science and technology: they are components of infrastructure that directly provide services and opportunities to people. By including the needs and well-being of the local population directly affected, you can aide in the success and acceptance of a project.

ThinkGeoEnergy would like to thank Dr. Warren T. Dewhurst for the Interview.

To learn more from the Dewhurst Group, please visit the company website