Lava Amps: Tapping into Volcano Power is an article featuring the Newberry EGS Demonstration and recently written by Huffington Post Tech journalist, Don Willmott. Enjoy!
Another busy field season at Newberry wrapped up at the end of November. The pumps, piping and other equipment has been put in storage and the well is shut in for the winter. Over the next few months we’ll be analyzing the data collected during stimulation and working with the Department of Energy to move forward with the project. The next stage in the Newberry EGS Demonstration project includes planning, permitting and drilling a production well.
The stimulation injected almost four million gallons of water over 32 days of pressurized pumping. During this time 397 microseismic events were detected by the seismometer array, indicating the depth and volume of the EGS reservoir produced. Biodegradable diverters were injected on two separate occasions during stimulation and resulted in the creation of multiple zones of increased permeability within the reservoir. More information about the diverters, to TIZMs, can be found in our previous blog post (link). Preliminary results from the stimulation were presented at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting in December, and the poster summary from the meeting can be found here: AGU Newberry 2014 Poster. The analysis of the pressure, flow, seismicity and water data will continue over the next few months. The reports generated from the dataset will inform planning, permitting and execution of the next stage of work at Newberry. While data analysis is ongoing, scientific papers are currently being prepared for publication and will be presented at scientific meetings in the near future.
We’re quite happy with the stimulation results and look forward to future work at the Newberry EGS Demonstration site. The blog will be relatively quiet over the winter months, but you can expect more frequent updates in the spring as we gear up for more work at Newberry. In the meantime, here are a few more photos from the field season.
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