Eastland completes drilling at Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project in New Zealand

Eastland Group said that drilling of the production well and two injection wells has been completed at the Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project, near Kawerau.

Project manager, Ben Gibson, said today that the drill rig and associated equipment have now completely demobilised from site, where they had been working since May.

The drilling process targetted known sources of geothermal fluid, which could be as hot as 200-300 degrees Celsius, he said.

“The drilling was successful – we located the high-temperature fluid that will ultimately fuel the geothermal power plant, and the injection capacity necessary to manage the cooler fluids that have passed through geothermal power plant.”

Well pads were constructed on site and the Old Coach Road, near Kawerau, was upgraded in preparation for the drilling rig’s arrival in late April. Drilling began in May following assembly, inspections, and karakia and blessings from local kaumatua.

Mr Gibson paid tribute to the internationally recognised drilling specialists who have worked on the project including rig contractor, MB Century; ancillary service provider, Halliburton; and supervising engineers, Jacobs, together with a number of smaller contractors based locally and further afield.

Mr Gibson noted that drilling was completed without any major incidents or harm to any person or the environment. “Drilling these wells to plan, without any major incidents, is testament to the professionalism, skill and experience of the entire team.”

The project focus now shifts to the construction of the power plant, transmission line and steamfield. Mr Tomairangi Fox, Cultural Adviser to the project, said “We are very happy to have completed drilling and the next stage is very exciting too.”

He reminded anyone who may have once come onto the block to hunt or get firewood that the area is now closed off. “This is for the safety and security of everyone working on the project.”

The Te Ahi O Maui project has engaged Israeli company Ormat for the next phase of the development. Ormat is a world-leader in the development and construction of state of the art and environmentally sound geothermal power solutions. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange and employing over 1,000 people worldwide, Ormat has supplied geothermal power to over 23 countries.

Matt Todd, chairman of the Te Ahi O Maui board and chief executive of Eastland Group, says he is pleased the project has partnered with Ormat for construction of the power plant. “Ormat has over 30 years’ experience in the New Zealand geothermal energy industry and is involved in 12 geothermal projects around the country. They have the necessary skills and knowledge that we can rely on for the successful delivery of the Te Ahi O Maui project.”

Resource consent for the project allows for the transfer of 15,000 tonnes of geothermal fluid each day from the Kawerau reservoir for 35 years, with the new plant on track to be operational in 2018.