First well successfully drilled for EGS geothermal project in Hainan, China

Drilling rig on site of the HDR/ EGS site in Hainan, China (source: LandOcean Energy)
Alexander Richter 9 Apr 2018

The first well has been successfully drilled for a Hot-Dry-Rock/ Engineered Geothermal System pilot project in Hainan Province, China. Drilling contractor LandOcean Energy Service reports rock temperatures of around 185 centigrades.

Reported by the drilling contractor for the project, the pilot well for the experimental Hot-Dry-Rock (HDR) project has been successfully concluded drilling to a depth of 4,387 meters in mid March 2018. Temperatures at the bottom of the well have been measured at 185 centigrades or around 365 Fahrenhiet. The project is located in Hainan Province, a south-eastern province of China by LandOcean Hainan Company, a subsidiary of LandOcean Energy Service Co. Ltd..

This is the first project of its kind in China. LandOcean says it owns the whole intellectual propriety of such technology. This well remarks the first HDR well in Hainan Province and first success in development of HDR geothermal energy and a milestone in the country’s endeavor to development of HDR geothermal energy.

In a Hot-Dry-Rock system, also described as Enhanced or Engineered Geothermal System, a geothermal reservoir is created artificially, pump down water to be heated and pumped to the surface for electricity generation (or heating).  The water travels through fractures in the rock, capturing the heat of the rock until it is forced out of a second borehole as very hot water, which is converted into electricity using either a steam turbine or a binary power plant system. All of the water, now cooled off, is injected back into the ground to heat up again.

The Government of Central China is promoting the development of Hainan Province into world-class leisure island and a model for eco-friendly development. According to China’s long term plan, geothermal energy will take up to 3% of while energy consumption in year of 2030, i.e., geothermal energy will be equivalent to replacing 180 million tons of standard coal or 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The development of HDR will substantially optimize the energy consumption matrix of China, assure supply security of energy, reduce carbon emission, improve eco-system and eventually achieve green growth.

To accomplish the mission of first HDR well, a series of technical difficulties have been overcome in process of geo-survey, well site determination, engineering design and well construction. A candidate area was finally decided in Qiong Bei Area with the guidance of innovative HDR theory of Professor Li Dewei, CTO of LandOcean. Qiong Bei Area contains little granite and no volcanic activity. Granite and volcanic activity are elemental to screen down the candidates for HDR reservoir. Research has also been done to understand the distribution of HDR energy, formation model and initial development acreage is framed down to 1,854 square kilometers. The location of pilot well was finally made after extensive study of geophysical and geological data, drilling/logging/mud-logging data of adjacent wells. Also LandOcean spent near half year and took comprehensive consideration of site accessibility, operational safety, environmental protection and minimum impact to local residents.

The drilling program lasts 66 days and yields 185 centigrades or 365 Fahrenheit rock temperature and critical core property result and logging data. This is proven a good start and will build the foundation of EGS Power Plant in Hainan Province and the rest of China.

LandOcean will remain a pioneer in the remarkable campaign in exploring and developing HDR geothermal energy, aiming the commercial utilization of HDR energy and EGS.

Source: Idocean