Stimulation and Microseismicity
Stimulation at the Newberry EGS injection well began on September 23, and continued for just over three weeks, wrapping up on October 15. We began stimulation with a step-rate injectivity test, reaching pressures as high as 2,800 psi at the wellhead. We continued to run the pumps at high pressures over most of the stimulation period, reducing the pressure when needed to replace leaky gaskets and valves and inject diverter.
The first microseismic events from stimulation were recorded on September 24 and continued throughout stimulation, totaling over 250 events recorded to date. Microseismic event data is currently being reviewed by seismologists and while we expect some location adjustments, the initial data indicates a robust reservoir was successfully created. Microseismic data is available for your viewing pleasure at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory website and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.
As microseismic events rolled in and pumps continued to run, we prepped for injection of diverter materials (TZIMs). In the past we’ve relied on contractors to provide diverter injection equipment, but this year the engineers at AltaRock got together and designed what we’re affectionately calling the DIVA- a diverter injection vessel assembly. And we’re happy to report that it worked great! See our previous post for a photo of TZIM swirling in the inlet of the DIVA system.
Flow Test and Sample Collection
A flow test was carried out after stimulation, and water samples were collected for geochemical, isotope, rare earth element and tracer analyses by various research groups involved with the Newberry project. Results from these tests will help us better understand reservoir characteristics in greater detail. Over the day and a half long flow test, over 30 samples were collected for various analyses.
Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) cable and pressure temperature spinner (PTS) survey data indicate six major connection points between the reservoir and the well bore. Over the past three weeks, we analyzed data and developed a plan to further improve reservoir connectivity to the wellbore. The second stage of stimulation for 2014 will run from November 11-21. We will report on those results in the next post.
The Bureau of Land Management has produced and released a new video about the Newberry EGS Demonstration project. The video was shot in early summer, 2014, just before field activities began at the site.
In addition, the Bend Bulletin did a story on the project during the stimulation and shot a video. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!