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Only one high-temperature geothermal project in sight in Iceland

Drilling rig Thor at Hverahlid, Iceland (source: Orkuveita Reykjavikur)
Alexander Richter 23 May 2020

With only one drilling project on sight in Iceland, Iceland Drilling is looking to move its largest rig abroad seeking geothermal project opportunities abroad.

A recent article from Iceland highlights that the outlook for further geothermal development in Iceland is rather weak and a worrying sign for the country’s geothermal sector.

Drilling of new high-temperature wells for the Nesjavellir power plant in Iceland will begin now in May/ June 2020, according to the geothermal drilling company Iceland Drilling Company.

The company is now transfering its drilling rig Thor from its current location at the Hellisheidi geothermal field to the Nesjavellir plant (actually the other side of the Hengill volcanic area).

This drilling project for the Nesjavellir geothermal power plant will likely be the last high-temperature well to be drilled in the country for the foreseeable future, according to Sigurdur Sigurdsson, CEO of Jardboranir (Iceland Drilling Company).

He says that the last three years have been used extensively for ON Power (the power generation arm of Reykjavik Energy) in Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir. Now the end of these projects is anticipated and no decision has been made on any further projects at ON. The same story can be told about Iceland’s national power company Landsvirkjun and HS Orka, the only privately owned geothermal power operator in Iceland.

Sigurdur says that the company is active in seeking projects in Europe, including taking part in tenders for drilling projects in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Hopefully, it will be successful and Thor, the most powerful drilling rig of the company, will leave Iceland to be put to work.

Earlier this year, Iceland Drilling signed an agreement on projects in the Azores for almost ISK 3 billion (around USD 21m), we reported. It will be used by Odin to drill nine high-temperature wells, 1,000-2,300 meters deep, and will be there until the middle of next year. One drill company, Týr, is on a drill rig in Djibouti and has completed drilling, but it has not been possible to take it down due to the viral epidemic. A smaller project awaits Icelanders in the country and is expected to go there in the fall when the epidemic goes down.

Source: Iceland Drilling/ Morgunbladid