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Drilling cost effectiveness and feasibility of high-temperature drilling - Reykjavik, Iceland, Workshop4
Drilling cost effectiveness and feasibility of high-temperature drilling - Reykjavik, Iceland, Workshop4
1-5 July 2007 ISOR
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The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP)
A status report on the IDDP was presented at the 
Engine Workshop 2 in Volterra in April 2007. Since then, 
two important developments have occurred. 
Last month, the two PIs of  IDDP reluctantly  
recommended that the first deep IDDP well should be 
rotary drilled to target depth (4.5 km) rather than 
continuously core drilled between 3.5-4.5 km.  
Secondly, an international aluminium company, Alcoa, 
has now joined as a partner in the IDDP. As a 
result, we now anticipate that drilling into a supercritical 
reservoir in Krafla, NE-Iceland,  will be realized late 
summer or autumn next year, 2008. 

To compensate for the lack of continuous core, a 
reasonable number of spot cores should be collected 
below 2.4 km to target depth.  From the scientific 
viewpoint continuous coring is much more preferable to 
spot coring as it provides much better information 
about the reservoir, about the nature of the fracture 
system, about water-rock reactions, and allows 
measurement of physical properties necessary for 
calibration of geophysical interpretations.  If total loss 
of circulation occurs during drilling, coring it is the only 
way to get rock samples as drill cuttings will not be 
Accordingly, spot coring is recommended in the event of 
total circulation loss.

A balance needed to be struck between scientific 
rewards, costs, and safety. Continuous coring is 
inherently slower and more expensive than rotary 
drilling and we have extremely limited experience of 
continuous coring at very high temperatures.  
Questions have been raised about the cooling of the 
bottom hole assembly and its integrity at high 
temperatures, that are still being debated amongst 
drilling engineers. It is likely that these issues can only 
be addressed by actual experience in continuous coring 
at high temperature. At present, however, the chief 
goal of IDDP is to drill into supercritical fluid and to 
get it up to the surface for testing. Thus, in order to 
lower the risk in drilling the hole and complete it sooner 
for flow testing, we reluctantly recommended to 
IDDP to delete the planned continuous coring in the 
first IDDP well. There is a need for improved core drilling 
technology, especially to improve the rate of 
penetration which would result in lower drilling cost, 
and to improve the cooling efficiency to meet hostile 
environments of rock temperatures of 500-600°C.  
Continuous coring should still be seriously considered in 
the 2nd and/or the 3d IDDP well, which will be drilled at 
Hengill and Reykjanes in SW-Iceland before 2010.

The main financial supporters of IDDP constitute the 
Icelandic energy consortium, which is composed of 
three leading Icelandic energy companies 
together with the government of Iceland. Last month 
negotiations with Alcoa proved positive for participation 
in the energy consortium,  Alcoa now becomes  
the forth industrial partner in IDDP.  In addition,  the 
International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP) and 
the US National Science Foundation (NSF), have 
sine 2005, allocated funds for scientific studies by 
supporting considerable core drilling in the deeper parts 
of the IDDP well(s). The plan is to seek additional 
funds to the EC-FP7 for developing the engineering 
pilot plant test of the supercritical fluid for power 
production, likely to be needed in 2009-2010.  

The poster shows the IDDP drillhole design, drilling 
schedule and time plan. Drilling a fully cased and 
cemented well to about 3.5 km is scheduled for 
immediate deepening to ~4.5 km in 2008. After heat-up 
period of unknown length, the drilling will be followed 
by a major flow test and detailed chemical 
study of the deep supercritical reservoir fluid, provided 
we will find such fluid below 3.5 km depth.  Most likely, 
a mechanical and chemical engineering pilot 
test will be needed before power production from 
supercritical resources is realized.  Discussions for 
involving more international industrial partners in 
IDDP are underway.
Id: 24
Place: ISOR
Grensasvegur 9
Room: Vidgelmir
Starting date:
02-Jul-2007   11:35
Duration: 20'
Primary Authors: Mr. FRIDLEIFSSON, Gudmundur Omar (Iceland GeoSurvey - ISOR)
Co-Authors: Mr. ELDERS, Wilfred (Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside)
Presenters: Mr. FRIDLEIFSSON, Gudmundur Omar
Material: slides Slides
poster Poster
3D vizualization of the 3 IDDP sites
3D vizualisation of the Krafla IDDP site

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