CURACAUTIN, Chile, Aug. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- GeoGlobal Energy Chile Limitada (GGE Chile), a wholly-owned affiliate of U.S.-based GeoGlobal Energy LLC (GGE), today announced the successful completion of the exploratory drilling program on the northwestern flank of the Tolhuaca mountain in southern Chile. One of the wells, Tolhuaca No. 4, is the most productive geothermal well ever drilled in South America.
A long-term flow test lasting more than 45 days has demonstrated that the production and injection wells are capable of supporting commercial power production, company officials said. GGE has been actively exploring at Tolhuaca for more than three years, and is continuing project development of the site – including design, permits and construction of the power plants and transmission lines – with a goal of power operations as early as 2014. Currently there are no operating geothermal power plants in South America.
"Completion of the wells is a historic development for Chile," said Rudiger Trenkle, GGE Chile general manager. "Large hydro projects are being suspended in Chile and coal projects are being delayed for environmental reasons. Geothermal energy by contrast is a clean, baseload domestic fuel source that can play a critical role in helping meet the country's power needs."
GGE Chile acquired access to the site in January 2009 and drilled a successful exploration well in March 2009 that represented the first high-quality geothermal resource discovery in the country since the late 1960s. Development of Chile's geothermal energy reserves is a stated priority of the government.
"The discovery of a proven commercial field is a game changer for geothermal in Chile," said Gregory Raasch, executive vice president and co-founder of GGE, who has spent his career leading geothermal exploration and development programs worldwide. "This project demonstrates that geothermal energy can be a significant part of the Chilean electrical system and provide clean, reliable electrical power."
The production well, Tol-4, was drilled to a depth of 2,300 meters and is producing high temperature steam sufficient to generate 12 MW of electrical energy, enough to supply the power needs for 45,000 households. It is the most productive geothermal well ever drilled in Chile or in any other country in South America. The injection well, Tol-3, drilled deeper at 2,575 meters, is capable of safely accepting all of the geothermal fluids from the power operations with the highest level of environmental protection.
Geothermal energy is used for electrical power generation in more than 25 countries around the world. The United States is the largest generator of geothermal power with over 3,000 MW of installed capacity followed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico. While geothermal power plants are also operating in New Zealand, Iceland, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, none are operating in South America.
About GeoGlobal Energy LLC
GeoGlobal Energy LLC is a privately-held geothermal company focused on the worldwide development and acquisition of geothermal resources to generate baseload, renewable, low-carbon electricity to meet the growing need for global renewable electricity. The company's website is http://www.geoglobal-energy.com/.
GGE's experience covers all aspects of geothermal power exploration, development and operations. The company's leadership has managed the development and operations of more than half of the existing geothermal power projects worldwide. The company is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Md., with regional offices in Santiago, Chile and Munich, Germany. GGE, via its partnership with Energy Source, recently completed the construction of a 50 MW plant at the Salton Sea in Southern California, which has been in operation since March 2012.
With more than 50 employees, GGE Chile is the largest geothermal company in Chile.
SOURCE GeoGlobal Energy LLC