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Update from the Field: Stimulation Underway

October 14, 2014

Stimulation of the Newberry EGS Demonstration injection well, NWG 55-29, began on September 23. Since then, we’ve successfully injected approximately 3,000,000 gallons of water into the expanding EGS reservoir. The first microseismic events associated with stimulation were recorded on September 28, and to date over 200 events have been located by the microseismic array (MSA). These events continue to be reviewed by seismologists as data streams in from the field. Data from a number of the MSA stations is available for viewing on the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network  and the Lawrence-Berkeley Nation Laboratory website.

The 15 station microseismic array (MSA) collects real-time microseismic data during stimulation. The data is used to map reservoir growth during stimulation. As a result of the Newberry EGS Demonstration, Newberry Volcano has been the most seismically-monitored volcano in the Cascades Range since 2012, when the MSA was installed.

The 15 station microseismic array (MSA) collects real-time microseismic data during stimulation. The data is used to map reservoir growth during stimulation. As a result of the Newberry EGS Demonstration, Newberry Volcano has been the most seismically-monitored volcano in the Cascades Range since 2012, when the MSA was installed.

Over the next week, we’ll inject TZIM into the well, diverting water flow away from the current zone and forcing it out into other areas to further improve the reservoir. After stimulation is complete, TZIM will biodegrade leaving behind an interconnected, multi-zone EGS reservoir. Once the TZIM has biodegraded, the well will be flow tested; steam and water production and temperature will be recorded and used to analyze results of this year’s field work.

TZIM, or thermally-degradable zonal isolation material (say that five times fast!), swirls into AltaRock’s injection hopper, or DIVA (diverter injection valve assembly). Biodegradable plastic TZIMs block open fractures in the EGS reservoir, forcing water out into new zones during stimulation.

TZIM, or thermally-degradable zonal isolation material (say that five times fast!), swirls into AltaRock’s injection hopper, or DIVA (diverter injection valve assembly). Biodegradable plastic TZIMs block open fractures in the EGS reservoir, forcing water out into new zones during stimulation.

We’d like to extend a thank you to all those who participated in the Geothermal Resource Council’s Newberry EGS Demonstration site tour in late September.  We had a great day in the field showing you the project site, and look forward to seeing you again soon! We also had a great weekend talking to visitors who stopped by our booth at the Bend Fall Festival last weekend.

As part of the Geothermal Resource Council’s Newberry fieldtrip, 24 visiting scientists, government officials, journalists, professors and others interested in geothermal research visited the Newberry EGS Demonstration site in late September while stimulation was underway.

As part of the Geothermal Resource Council’s Newberry field trip, 24 visiting scientists, government officials, journalists, professors and others interested in geothermal research visited the Newberry EGS Demonstration site in late September just after stimulation began.

 

AltaRock’s Dr. Trenton Cladouhos shows site visitors real-time data as it streams to the field office during stimulation at the Newberry EGS Demonstration site.

AltaRock’s Dr. Trenton Cladouhos shows site visitors real-time data as it streams to the field office during stimulation at the Newberry EGS Demonstration site.

Update from the Field: Pumps in Place, Piping Assembled

September 24, 2014

The Newberry site has been busy with AltaRock staff and contractors assembling stimulation infrastructure over the last few weeks. We’re happy to report that the pumps are in place, generators have been wired in and piping has been welded up. All the equipment has been pressure tested and is up and running as planned.

Assembling the piping and valves for stimulation is no small task. The heavy-duty piping delivers high-pressure water to the wellbore during stimulation.

Assembling the piping and valves for stimulation is no small task. The heavy-duty piping delivers high-pressure water to the wellbore during stimulation.

DTS cable spoolLast night, we started to cool the with low-flow cold water injection. After the wellbore is sufficiently cooled, we’ll install a distributed temperature sensing (DTS) fiber optic cable in the well. The cable provides real-time temperature data along the wellbore and is used in stimulation zone analysis.

Once the DTS cable is installed, a step-rate injectivity test will be performed. The step-rate test will establish a baseline permeability, to compare to the permeability enhancement due to multi-zone stimulation. After the baseline permeability is determined,  stimulation will begin.

Other ongoing site activities over the last few weeks have included groundwater monitoring, and geophysical survey projects overseen by Oregon State University.

Panoramic view of East Lake from the boat launch area. We’ll continue to collect water samples at the East Lake hot springs and other sites over the coming months.

Panoramic view of East Lake from the boat launch area. We’ll continue to collect water samples at the East Lake hot springs and other sites over the coming months.

Visiting scientist Ma Feng collects water quality data at East Lake hot springs.

Visiting scientist Ma Feng collects water quality data at East Lake hot springs.

Our ongoing groundwater sampling program continues to add to and improve the scientific data available for the area. As part of the sampling program, groundwater was recently collected from seven sites at and around the Newberry EGS Demonstration injection well. Fore more information about the groundwater monitoring program at the Newberry EGS Demonstration, see our previous post on the topic- Groundwater Monitoring and Water Sampling Update.

Well Repairs Complete, Getting Ready to Stimulate

September 5, 2014

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at the Newberry EGS Demonstration. In early August, a drill rig arrived on site to perform required upkeep on the injection well. This work went very well, and the rig has been released from the site. The next step in this summer’s field work is to prepare the site for stimulation activities. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be bringing our stimulation equipment to the site and assembling support infrastructure on the pad. Stimulation pumps will be installed, piping assembled and valves set to direct the flow of water during stimulation.

Panoramic view of the injection well pad at Newberry EGS Demonstration during summer activities at the site. The drill rig (center- during assembly) arrived in early August, and completed required well upkeep on schedule.

Panoramic view of the injection well pad at Newberry EGS Demonstration during summer activities at the site. The drill rig (center- during assembly) arrived in early August, and completed required well upkeep on schedule. Click to enlarge!

Assembly of the drill rig prior to performing upkeep on the injection well at Newberry EGS Demonstration site in early August, 2014.

Assembly of the drill rig prior to performing upkeep on the injection well at Newberry EGS Demonstration site in early August, 2014. Click to enlarge!

2014 Stimulation

Similar to the stimulation we carried out in 2012, this year’s stimulation will run for several weeks and AltaRock staff will be on site 24/7 to monitor activities. The goal of this year’s stimulation is to improve the permeability and volume of the EGS reservoir developed during the 2012 stimulation. Increased permeability and volume mean a more efficient reservoir with greater potential economic return. As in 2012, we’ll continue working with BLM, DOE, USFS and other governing agencies to keep the Newberry EGS Demonstration project safely moving forward.

oil engine

Field dog Abi’s favorite part of the day might be rolling in the dirt, but she’s also great at helping check the oil and fluid levels for all the engines that keep the Newberry EGS Demonstration running smoothly. 

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who came out to hear our talk at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument last Friday. We enjoyed sharing our science with you, and hope you continue to follow the Newberry EGS Demonstration!

Update from the Field: Early Summer Activities

August 5, 2014

AltaRock staff have been busy planning and organizing for the summer field season, testing field equipment and getting the Newberry EGS Demonstration site ready to roll.

Welcome to new staff:

AltaRock Energy recently welcomed Todd Kjellesvik, Project Facilitator, to the Newberry EGS Demonstration. Todd will be working in the field and from the Bend office to keep the Newberry field activities moving forward over the coming months. Todd has extensive experience in the geothermal, oil and gas, and most recently the environmental industries.

Our summer interns, Morgan Ames, Zhang Wei and Ma Feng have also arrived in Bend. We’re excited to work with them on many aspects of the Newberry EGS Demonstration as they learn more about geothermal energy development practices.

Testing Groundwater Sampling Equipment:

 As part of our groundwater monitoring program, AltaRock samples water from a number of sites surrounding the Newberry EGS Demonstration field site. The Newberry EGS Demonstration was carefully designed by hydrologists and geochemists to protect the local groundwater system, and the water samples we analyze help us ensure that this valuable resource remains so. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to collect groundwater samples from a number of sites, adding to the existing geochemical data set established for the Newberry EGS project.

pump installation 1 pump installation 2 pump installation 3

Our summer interns have been a great help in testing the water sampling equipment this spring, and will continue to be involved in the groundwater sampling program.

Checking on the MSA:

The micro-seismic array (MSA) is a collection of seismic monitoring equipment installed at Newberry in 2012 as part of our ongoing seismic monitoring program. The state-of-the-art MSA provides real-time seismicity data to scientists not only at AltaRock, but also the USGS, Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and other groups. The data collected at Newberry helps us understand naturally-occurring background seismicity at this unique volcano, and is used during EGS stimulation to map reservoir growth. For a glimpse into the seismic life of Newberry, see PNSN’s website: http://pnsn.org/volcanoes/newberry

We’re happy to report that the MSA has held up very well over the past winter, and continues to provide excellent data.

Public Outreach:

We’d like to thank everyone who stopped by our booth in the Conscious Living Showcase at the Bend Summer Festival. We had a great time talking to all of you, and got to hear some great stories about Newberry over the weekend.

We will continue to bring you updates about the project on this blog, and via our Newberry EGS Demonstration Facebook page, found at: www.facebook.com/NewberryEGS

Spring Cleaning at the Newberry EGS Demonstration

May 29, 2014
The Newberry EGS Demonstration site is ready to move forward with another field season despite the snow atop nearby Paulina Peak

The Newberry EGS Demonstration site is ready to move forward with a busy 2014 field season. Snow still caps nearby Paulina Peak, Newberry Volcano’s highest point.

Welcome back!

After a long winter of snowcapped peaks, the Newberry EGS Demonstration site is just about ready to be prepped for this year’s field work. We have a full season of field activities planned this year, beginning in the next few weeks with cleaning up a few downed trees along the roads, making a few road repairs and getting the site ready for contractors and site visitors to arrive. Over the next few months, we’ll make some necessary repairs to the injection well, re-stimulate to increase the size of the EGS reservoir, and continue real-time seismic monitoring.

Once the roads are cleared and the site is ready for heavy equipment, a drill rig will be brought to Newberry to make repairs to the injection well. Next, we’ll move in stimulation pumps and re-stimulate the well to improve the reservoir created during the 2012 stimulation. This year’s stimulation is expected to run for about four weeks, and will target the very deepest, hottest part of the wellbore where the greatest potential for heat transfer and efficiency exists. Improving both the well and reservoir means that Newberry will be in top form when it comes time to drill a production well and begin fluid circulation tests.

Stay tuned for more updates. Once field work gets underway, we’ll be bringing you regular updates via this blog, through our Newberry Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NewberryEGS). If you’re interested in learning what it’s like to work at the Newberry EGS Demonstration site, come by the Bend Summer Festival and find us at our booth in the Conscious Living Showcase area, July 12th and 13th.

Looking Ahead at Newberry EGS Demonstration

January 28, 2014
Frozen over except where hot springs bubble to the surface and warm the water, East Lake on Newberry Volcano quietly waits for summer visitors to return.

Frozen over except where hot springs bubble to the surface and warm the water, East Lake on Newberry Volcano quietly waits for summer visitors to return.

We’ve wrapped up and winterized the Newberry EGS field site for the coming months, and with that in mind we wanted to fill you in on the results of last field season’s well logging activities and AltaRock’s plans for future work to keep the project moving forward.

Analysis of the 2012 stimulation results indicated that further stimulation of the reservoir would be needed to ensure the reservoir is large enough to be economically viable. Next summer, we’ll rig up the injection pumps used during stimulation last year and re-stimulate to increase the size of the deep reservoir.

During re-stimulation, we’ll continually monitor microseismic activity just like we did in 2012, keeping within our permitted boundaries for pressure, volume, microseismic activity and fracture propagation boundaries. Once the EGS reservoir encompasses an economically viable volume of hot rock, we’ll plan for and drill a production well into the reservoir and complete for flow and circulation tests between the two wells. Our goal is to complete the, re-stimulation and planning for the production well by the end of fall, 2014.

Over the coming months, AltaRock staff will be busy further analyzing data, presenting research results at scientific conferences, and working with the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Department of Energy on plans for next year’s field work. Since no more field work will be taking place until spring, we don’t expect to post many updates over the next few months. Please check back in the spring to see what’s happen at the Newberry EGS Demonstration site!

Media Mentions: Newberry EGS Demonstration featured in Bend Bulletin

November 13, 2013

Local Bend, Oregon media source The Bulletin has featured AltaRock Energy’s Newberry EGS Demonstration project in an excellent article AltaRock gathering cash for spring. Author Dylan Darling shares a great summary of the project after interviewing Susan Petty, President of AltaRock Energy Inc.

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