Encouraging signs in geothermal energy project

Close up of Well Mon-01. PWD officials said the next step will be long-term testing to collect date on the chemical composition of the geothermal fluids as well as the temperature and pressure. (Nerissa Golden Photo)

BRADES, Montserrat – Officials in the Ministry of Communications & Works are calling last week’s geothermal flow “encouraging”.

According to Director of Public Works Ron Beardsley the first well which was dug and now designated as Well MON-01 began flowing to the surface on Wednesday September 28, 2013. “It continued to flow overnight and everything is looking very positive. The intention is to let it continue to flow for a few days to monitor temperature and pressure. It is still too early to confidently say that we have a commercially viable well however the signs are very encouraging.”

Beardsley explained that the next step will be to carry out specialist long-term testing. “This will be carried out over several weeks and will determine the chemical composition of the geothermal fluids as well as the temperature and pressure from the resource. This critical data will inform the design of the most cost-effective generation plant for our location. It will also give an estimate of the long term capacity of the resource. The long term testing will be carried out over the next couple of months.”

Work also resumed at the site of Well MON-01 last week after a long stoppage due to damages with the drill rig. The PWD head said “the well will be cleaned out and lined down to its current depth of 2347m. The intention is to carry on drilling a little deeper to provide further geological data.”

It is expected that the drilling operation will be fully completed within the next two weeks.

The Department for International Development (DFID) funded this exploratory phase of the geothermal energy project. The Honourable Premier Reuben Meade has said in recent weeks that he would prefer the UK Government fund the development of the geothermal plant so that the resources and revenue can go to the people of Montserrat rather than to private firms.