Iceland Deep Drilling Project. The first IDDP Drill Hole Drilled and Completed in 2009


Guđmundur Ómar Friđleifsson, Bjarni Pálsson, Björn Stefánsson, Albert Albertsson, Einar Gunnlaugsson, Jónas Ketilsson, Richard Lamarche and Pal E. Andersen

Key Words:

Iceland Deep Drilling Project, supercritical geothermal fluids

Geo Location:

Krafla, Iceland


World Geothermal Congress




39. Iceland Deep Drilling Project



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Deep Vision (the steering committee) of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) announces that the first IDDP-well should have been completed to target depth (4.5 km) by early July 2009. However, after series of drilling problems and several weeks delay in proceeding as planned, the drilling operation abruptly had to be terminated on 24th June, once it became clear that an active magma body existed below 2104 m depth. Rhyolitic volcanic glass (obsidian) was retrieved with the circulation fluid after the third attempt to drill below 2104 m depth in a sidetracked well labeled as IDDP-1C. Prior to that the IDDP-1 well had been sidetracked twice and a cemented casing inserted to 1958 m depth. When drilling into the magma for the third time, under total circulation loss condition, the drillers narrowly managed to avoid getting permanently stuck at that depth for the third time. Volcanic glass began returning to the surface for several hours during cooling, until all circulation fluid was lost again into the feed zone just above the magma body. The lowest 20 m of the well was plugged by obsidian. Deep Vision decided to complete the well by inserting a production/protection casing, partly cemented to the anchor casing, with a slotted liner in the lowest 120 m of the well. This enabled a flow test that was scheduled for autumn 2009. The wellhead valve is class 2500 as are the flow testing equipments, capable to deal with the expected superheated dry steam, which could be 400-500°C hot and at pressures well over 100 bars.

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of this drilling and discuss the future of the IDDP project, while the result of the first flow test need be discussed at the WGC-2010 conference. The details of the various topics of the IDDP progress will be described in a series of

The aim of the IDDP drilling was to penetrate into supercritical geothermal fluids and to study them as a potential source of high-grade geothermal energy. The concept behind the Iceland Deep Drilling Program is to flow supercritical fluid to the surface in such a way that it transitions directly to superheated >450°C hot steam at subcritical pressures, with up to 10 fold energy output of some ~50 MWe, as compared to average high enthalpy geothermal wells. By flow testing the IDDP-1C well under the current condition we still expect to get superheat dry steam but at somewhat lower pressure than aimed for. The experiment at Krafla may develop from conventional dry steam production, if the well does not sustain production, into the world hottest EGS experiment, by watering the magma body.

Funding for the IDDP-1 well was secured by Landsvirkjun and Alcoa down to 3.5 km, and by them including the IDDP consortium, deepening the well to 4.5 km, flow testing it and pilot studies for energy production. Wells IDDP-2 and IDDP-3 are planned to be drilled in 2010-2012 in the Hengill central volcano and into the Reykjanes volcanic system, both in SW-Iceland. Funding for these wells to some 4 km depth, including cement of the 9 5/8” production casings will be secured by the energy companies the Reykjavik Energy for IDDP-2 and HS Orka hf for IDDP-3. Funding for the drilling and testing these wells in the supercritical regime remains to be accomplished. As only part of the allocated fund from the IDDP consortium was needed for the IDDP-1 well, Deep Vision will consider transferring it to the IDDP-2 and IDDP-3 wells.

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