Alcoa and Landsvirkjun announce collaboration on deep drilling at Krafla
26. June 2008
According to this agreement, Alcoa will contribute USD 3.5 million as its share of the cost with Landsvirkjun in the initial stage of drilling. This beginning stage of the experimental borehole at Krafla was started last week and is progressing well; in the end, this stage will extend to a depth of 3.5 kilometres.
Following that stage, plans call for the hole to be deepened next year down to an overall depth of four to five kilometres. Alcoa will also participate in the additional deepening, as well as in the research part of the project, along with a number of other companies and institutions.
“There is tremendous power lying in the Krafla ground, and it is an honour for Alcoa to take part in this exciting project of deep drilling. If it succeeds, it is clear that Icelandic technology will create new possibilities for the harnessing of green energy all around the world,” observed Bernt Reitan, Executive Vice-President of Alcoa, at the signing.
Fridrik Sophusson, CEO of Landsvirkjun, declared that “Deep drilling is an important project for Landsvirkjun, northern Iceland and Iceland as a whole. The utilization of renewable energy resources and the export of green energy has been for the past few decades, and will continue to be, one of the foundations on which Iceland's welfare society is based. The increased discussion on atmospheric issues makes it foreseeable that interest in Icelandic technology to harness renewable energy will continue to increase throughout the world. The deep drilling project secures our international leadership in this field.”
The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) is a consortium formed to investigate the economic feasibility of producing energy and useful substances by drilling down deeper into geothermal systems down to what are known as “supercritical conditions”. Essentially, these are natural systems found where underground water becomes super-heated by coming into close proximity with nearly molten rocks. Supercritical (high-temperature) geothermal systems could potentially produce up to ten times more electricity than the geothermal wells typically in service around the world today.
The IDDP consortium was announced in September of last year. According to the agreement signed then, additional holes will be drilled by Orkuveita Reykjavikur and Hitaveita Sudurnesja in the geothermal fields they operate, which are located in SW Iceland. These will be comparable to the hole now being drilled by Krafla, and the cost of each of these holes is estimated to be around ISK 700-1000 million.
The other partners in addition to Alcoa and Landsvirkjun are Hitaveita Sudurnesja Ltd., Orkuveita Reykjavikur, StatoilHydro, Orkustofnun and the National Energy Authority. Still further funds are contributed by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, an international foundation based in Germany that supports drilling on land for scientific research, and the U.S. National Science Foundation. Pilot testing is expected to be completed by approximately 2015.