ICELAND DEEP DRILLING PROJECT – DRILLING INTO THE UNKNOWN
IDPP-1 was the first well drilled in Iceland for the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP). It was drilled near the Krafla caldera, northern Iceland, in 2008 and 2009, ending in a molten magma at 2100 m depth, with a temperature of 900 – 1000 °C. Drilling into magma is a very rare occurrence in the world and this was only the second known instance, the first one, in 2007, being in Hawaii. Instead of plugging the well, the IDDP in cooperation with the National Power Company, decided to run and cement a steel casing, leaving a perforated bottom section close to the magma. Then the hole was allowed to heat slowly and later on to blow superheated, high pressure steam at temperatures over 450 °C, beating the world record for geothermal heat. The available power was sufficient to generate up to 36 megawatts electricity.
IDPP-2 was spudded the 11 August 2016 at the Reykjanes Peninsula. The well was completed in January 2017 at 4,659 meters depth; the deepest well ever drilled in Iceland. The depths beneath the production zone of the geothermal field at Reykjanes had never before been explored. IDDP-2 apparently reached temperatures and fluid pressures indicative of supercritical conditions, with suggestions that permeability and supercritical fluids coexist at depth. Flow testing of IDDp-2 is scheduled in 2019
The success of this drilling and research is amazing, and could in the near future lead to a revolution in energy efficiency in high-temperature geothermal areas of the world.
The IDDP was founded in the year 2000 by a consortium of Icelandic energy companies:HS Orka, Landsvirkjun and Orkuveita Reykjavíkur, and Orkustofnun, the National Energy Authority of Iceland. The consortium began by preparing the drilling of a 4-5 km deep drill hole into one of its high-temperature hydrothermal system in order to reach 400-600°C hot supercritical hydrous fluid at a rifted plate margin on a mid-ocean ridge. A feasibility report was completed in 2003.
(Source and image: IDDP – IDDP-2 drilling on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland)
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