Job: Drilling Operations Manager, Corbetti Geothermal Project, Ethiopia

Job: Drilling Operations Manager, Corbetti Geothermal Project, Ethiopia Project site for the Corbetti Geothermal project, Ethiopia (source: ThinkGeoEnergy, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 20 Aug 2018

Corbetti Geothermal is seeking to fill the position of Drilling Operations Manager for its geothermal project at Corbetti, Ethiopia.

Geothermal developer Corbetti Geothermal has published a job vacancy for a Drilling Operations Manager, reporting to the Project Director and the Director of Construction for the Corbetti Geothermal Project with location in Addis Ababa.

Project Background

Corbetti Geothermal Plc (CGC) is developing a geothermal power project (the Project) in Central Ethiopia near Lake Hawassa with a resource potential and contracted off-take for up to 520 MW. The Project has the potential to be one of the largest geothermal projects in Africa and is the first of its kind independent power project (IPP) in Ethiopia.  A 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) and an Implementation Agreement (IA) with the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) were signed on 19 December 2018 and the IA is in the process of being ratified by the Ethiopian Parliament.

The Project is planned to be implemented in phases.  Phase I is a “proof of concept”, all equity, project supported by 3 to 5 geothermal wells with an electrical generating capacity of 10 MW using wellhead generators.  Phase II is planned to be 50 MW; will be incorporated with Phase I; and will be financed substantially using limited recourse senior debt.  Successful completion of the initial two phases will create a foundation for expanding the Project to 500 MW in multiple additional phases with a total estimated cost of at least $2 billion. Separate debt and equity fundraising will be required for each phase.

The debt associated with financing is expected to come from international Development Finance Institutions (“DFIs”).  The philosophy of CGC shareholders, CGC management and the DFIs dictate that the Project must comply with the highest standards of technical, environmental, social, health and safety.

CGC is owned by Corbetti Holdco, (Holdco) a Mauritius company.  The majority shareholder of Holdco is an investment vehicle called Rift Valley Geothermal Holdco (RVGH) which is owned by the African Renewable Energy Fund (AREF) under the management of Berkeley Energy (BE) and Infraco Africa Limited (Infraco). There are two Icelandic investors in Holdco alongside RVGH: Reykjavik Geothermal (an international geothermal resource developer) and Icelandic Drilling Company (a specialized geothermal drilling company also based in Reykjavik).


The Drilling Operations Manager (DOM) will be a full-time employee based in Ethiopia reporting to the Project Director. He/she will lead the drilling function for Corbetti and will oversee the final design, planning and safe execution of the Project drilling program. Specific responsibilities will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. Lead the drilling function of CGC and act as the primary contact for all the Project’s drilling matters.
  2. Be aware of all Project workstreams and communicate regularly with other managers, contractors, third-party consultants and stakeholders including investors, lenders and governmental agencies.
  3. Ensure that adequate resources exist to fulfil CGCs drilling plans (e.g. personnel, rigs, equipment).
  4. Contribute to setting, monitoring and reporting of drilling performance measures for the Project.
  5. Be familiar with all project documentation, particularly that related to the geothermal field development, geology, geochemistry, geophysics, drilling services agreement, PPA and IA, and all relevant permits and licences.
  6. Depending on timing of appointment, contribute to tendering, negotiation, finalisation and amendments to the drilling services agreement.
  7. Ensure that the necessary drilling processes and procedures exist and ensure compliance with local legislative requirements and internal standards.
  8. Oversee the implementation of these processes and ensure all drilling-related employees and contractors meet the appropriate national and international standards.
  9. Together with the Project Director, oversee recruitment of the necessary personnel or contractors for drilling supervision, well testing, and well-field operations.
  10. Take line manager responsibility for the drilling team, carry out staff training and professional development.
  11. Manage the performance of third party service providers to the drilling function, with a primary focus on the drilling contractor.
  12. Take responsibility for the safety of drilling operations at site and oversee the performance of the drilling contractor, drilling supervisors/company men, drilling engineers and well-testing contractor.
  13. Be accountable for operational performance, including cost management of drilling operations.
  14. Oversee the preparation of [daily and monthly] drilling reports to management and produce other memos/reports as required to document drilling plans and activities. Present at Board meetings as and when required.
  15. Provide rig site engineering support and assistance to the Drilling Supervisors as required. This includes coordinating with supporting experts, on and off site.
  16. Provide required logistical support for a continuous un-interrupted drilling program including coordination for the timely supply of materials, equipment, services and personnel to the project storage area and/or rig site.
  17. Take responsibility for responding to and resolving issues escalated by the drilling team at site, developing revisions or enhancements to solve and troubleshoot drilling problems, while coordinating with other departments where necessary.
  18. Ensure wells are planned and constructed as per design and internal processes.
  19. Oversee the issuance of the notice to proceed to the drilling contractor, supervise the mobilisation process, participate in drilling rig inspections and ensure that the rig is on site and ready to spud by the agreed date.
  20. Provide input to strategic decisions that affect the functional area of responsibility.
  21. Take responsibility for overseeing the drilling budget and provide input into the Project budget as required.


Experience and Qualifications

  1. Bachelor’s degree in geothermal or petroleum engineering.
  2. Minimum of [15] years drilling experience with at least 5 years of recent experience in geothermal drilling operations.
  3. Prior experience of exploration drilling in new unexplored geothermal areas highly desirable.
  4. Experience of planning, negotiating and implementing complex drilling services agreements with strong preference for prior exposure to integrated management-style agreements, all in non-Recourse Project financing Environment.
  5. Experience in managing an international team of drilling experts.
  6. Demonstrated track record in effectively dealing with drilling issues.
  7. Relevant HSSE qualifications to geothermal drilling operations.
  8. Experience of working on a project financed by international DFIs.
  9. Experience of working in remote areas including sub-Saharan Africa or other developing countries.
  10. Excellent interpersonal, written, verbal and electronic communication skills.
  11. Must have strong planning and organizational skills. Ability to lead and promote teamwork.
  12. Willingness to live and work in Ethiopia. Some international travel will also be required.


Applications to be sent to and before midnight 16 September 2018.

Source: by email