Ram Power announces successful drilling results at San Jacinto project

Ram Power announces successful drilling results at San Jacinto project ThermaSource drilling rig on project site at San Jacinto, Nicaragua (source: Ram Power)
Alexander Richter 25 Mar 2011

Ram Power announces it has successful re-drilled and evaluated production well SJ12-1 and successfully flow tested production well SJ12-2 at its San Jacinto-Tizate geothermal power project in Nicaragua.

In a release by the company, geothermal development company “Ram Power, Corp. (TSX: RPG) announces the successful re-drill and initial evaluation of production well SJ12-1, and the successful flow test results of production well SJ12-2 at San Jacinto-Tizate.

As previously announced, to achieve production in wells SJ 12-1 and SJ 12-2, the Company had decided to re-drill both wells. The re-drills were expected to correct the problems encountered in the original drilling and reach the originally planned intersection of deep production zones. In February 2011, the Company re-appointed Sinclair Knight Merz (“SKM”), a leading global consulting firm in the geothermal industry, which has extensive experience in drilling and analyzing the resource at San Jacinto-Tizate where they successfully drilled 40MW. SKM’s expertise in well targeting contributed to better definition of inclination and azimuth angles for directional wells. SKM’s experience with the San Jacinto-Tizate resource field led to optimal selection of drilling fluids, flow rates, and drilling penetration rates and greater use of perforated liner which were successfully utilized in previous drilling at the resource field. In addition, SKM has a drilling engineer and a scientist on site and is actively evaluating the techniques used for drilling to reduce drilling costs and frequency of drilling incidents. Forking or side-tracking of existing wells has achieved production earlier and at less expense than drilling new wells.

Under SKM’s direction, the Company commenced the re-drill of well SJ 12-1 ST1 (a sidetrack recovery of the SJ12-1 well) in February 2011. The well was completed in March 2011 to a depth of 8,544 ft., and upon completion was immediately evaluated with an injection test designed to determine permeability. A standard three-step injectivity test was conducted by pumping water to depth in the well at high rates for an extended period of injection. The injectivity index which measured 20 t/h/bar indicates moderate to good permeability for the well. Typically wells with similar injectivity index measurements drilled at San Jacinto-Tizate are commercial producers and SKM estimates that the capacity of the well is expected to be in the 5 – 10 MW range. After a heat up period, a long-term flow test which involves the connection of well SJ12-1 ST1 to a test separator will be performed and the results will be certified according to the project lenders protocols in May 2011 by GeothermEx, Inc.

The Company completed the initial drilling of SJ 12-2 in January 2011. The well was drilled to a depth of 7,532 ft. at which point a drill rig power failure resulted in the drill string becoming stuck in the well. At that time the well was experiencing a total loss of circulation of drilling fluids which provided an indication of high permeability. After several attempts to free and retrieve the drill string, the drill string was severed at a depth of 7,228 ft. After four days of initial flow testing, despite having 276 ft. of stuck drilling apparatus at the bottom, the well produced separated steam at a rate of 31 t/hr at design pressures for the turbine inlet with production from a down hole zone that exceeded 510°F. These initial results confirmed that well SJ12-2 will be a production well with an estimated capacity of about 4 MW. In order to maximize the potential production from this well, the Company plans to fork SJ12-2 while retaining this initial productive leg of the well. Drilling of the SJ12-2 fork will commence by the end of this month and completion of the drilling is expected in May 2011.

The San Jacinto-Tizate exploration drilling program is focused on developing the geothermal resources needed for the phased power plant expansion designed to increase production from the current 10 MW to 72 MW. Currently, the Company has 60 MW of certified resource in San Jacinto-Tizate. With the successful re-drill of SJ 12-1 ST1, the flow test results and subsequent fork of SJ 12-2, and the planned acid wash of well SJ 9-3 (currently certified at 4.8MW) the Company anticipates these three wells will increase the certified resource capacity by 12 to 25MW.

Greg Ussher, Geophysicist, Manager Generation Clients at SKM, stated that, “Our team is very pleased to again be working with the Ram Power team on the San Jacinto geothermal project. It is encouraging to have early indications of success with both SJ12-1 ST1 and SJ12-2, which gives us confidence for the on-going production and reinjection drilling program.”

Walt Higgins, interim President and CEO of Ram Power, stated, “We are extremely pleased with these results. The addition of SKM, combined with the Company’s strategic change in the drilling program has produced positive results and we look forward to our continued working relationship with SKM.”

Source: Company release via Digital Journal