A significant milestone has been reached at the Reykjanes Peninsula in SW Iceland on the 25th of January 2017 when the IDDP-2 well was successfully drilled and completed to a depth of 4659 m (cemented to 3000 m), making it the deepest well in Iceland. The drilling operations took approximately 168 days with major drilling challenges of total drilling fluid losses, stuck pipe accidents and poor, at times, core recovery. The main targets of the project included drilling and completing a reconstructed RN-15 well to the supercritical depths, extract core samples, measure the temperature and search for potential permeability. Temperature at the bottom of the IDDP-2 well amounted to an extreme value of 427°C, with fluid pressure of approximately 340 bars (measured using wire-line tools, soon after drilling operation ceased), making it a first well, exceeding not only critical temperatures, which was already observed in countries such as Italy, Mexico or Japan, but also critical pressures, in the history of geothermal drilling.
Once the most positive outcome of the project is achieved, the well can be directly used for highly efficient energy production. It would open new dimensions for the future geothermal energy utilization and electricity production. It is due to supercritical fluids having much higher energy content, in comparison with the conventional high-temperature geothermal systems with temperatures below the critical temperature of water. Once such ‘supercritical’ wells would be able to produce more power than conventional high-temperature geothermal wells, fewer wells would be needed to produce the same power output, leading to smaller environmental impact, improved economics, and wider social acceptance. Another investigated solution will be to use the IDDP-2 well for deep water injections to enhance the performance of the overlying production zones within the Reykjanes geothermal field.
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Author: Michal Kruszewski
Sources: https://www.sci-dril.net/23/1/2017/sd-23-1-2017.pdf and Equinor
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