High Precision Geophysics & Detailed Structural Exploration & Slim Well Drilling Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title High Precision Geophysics & Detailed Structural Exploration & Slim Well Drilling
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Geothermal Technologies Program
Project Type / Topic 2 Validation of Innovative Exploration Technologies
Project Description Existing geologic data show that the basalt has been broken by complex intersecting fault zones at the hot springs. Natural state hot water flow patterns in the fracture network will be interpreted from temperature gradient wells and then tested with moderate depth core holes. Production and injection well tests of the core holes will be monitored with an innovative combination of Flowing Differential Self-Potential (FDSP) and resistivity tomography surveys. The cointerpretation of all these highly detailed geophysical methods sensitive to fracture permeability patterns and water flow during the well tests will provide unprecedented details on the structures and flow in a shallow geothermal aquifer and support effective development of the low temperature reservoir and identification of deep up flow targets.

These surveys and the drilling process have been designed to severely limit the impact of the exploration. The geophysics techniques will have no surface impact in an area of commercial wheat fields and be performed in the off-season to avoid conflicts with wildlife migration. The drilling will apply closed-circuit, low footprint sump-less drilling techniques for the first time in geothermal exploration in the continental US. This technique recycles all drilling fluids and all rock cuttings immediately and eliminates the area of the drilling sump from the surface usage of the operation.

State Oregon
Objectives The Crump High Precision Geophysics proposal will apply ultra-high precision gravity, magnetic, and shallow seismic geophysical exploration data to detail fracture patterns in a shallow buried basalt formation in the Crump Geyser area.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Nevada Geothermal Power Company
Awardee Website http://www.nevadageothermal.com/s/Home.asp
Partner 1 U.S. Geological Survey

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000109
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $1,764,272.00
Awardee Cost Share $1,764,272.00
Total Project Cost $3,528,544.00

Principal Investigator(s) John Casteel, Geologist, Nevada Geothermal Power Company

Targets / Milestones -Discover new 260 and 300 oF geothermal reservoirs in South Central Oregon

-Create short term employment to explore and develop the geothermal power project -Create long term jobs in southern Oregon to operate the discovered resource -Demonstrate a combination of very tightly spaced and extra high precision gravity and multilevel magnetic data, calibrated with shallow seismic reflection and refraction to target geothermal wells in a complex fault intersection zone. The part of the project will be performed in cooperation with a geophysical team from the United States Geological Survey. -Demonstrate sump-less drilling as a low-footprint drilling technology specially suited to environmentally sensitive areas -Demonstrate the innovative use of (FDSP) to monitor the affects of well testing on a known low temperature shallow aquifer as a guide to exploration and resource management

Location of Project Crump Geyser, OR
42.2267°, -119.8819°
About the Area Crump Geyser, Oregon is located in Warner Valley, Lake County, Oregon and is made up of private land covering 7,205 acres. At Crump, the hot springs and the resistivity anomaly extend for about 1 mile consequently the resource size is conservatively expected to be about 10 MW and an estimate by GeothermEx suggesting that the resource might be up to 40 MW.

Impacts Low footprint, sump-less drilling can minimize the environmental impact of drilling operations for geothermal projects and open up new exploration sites and the electrical monitoring of fluids during well tests could improve well characterization.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs