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general australian geothermal news: february

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    Hot rocks players pick up PACE

    Monday, 11 February 2008

    GEOTHERMAL explorers Torrens Energy and the Paralana Joint Venture, which comprises Petratherm and Beach Petroleum, have been awarded $100,000 each for seismic work under the South Australian Government's Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) Scheme.

    Petratherm and Beach will use their PACE grant to at their Paralana energy project to evaluate how effective a new seismic exploration tool is at characterising engineered geothermal reservoirs.

    Known as shear wave splitting, the technology will use data captured by sensitive geophones positioned around the Paralana site to monitor natural seismicity – or micro-earthquakes – in the area.

    "Shear wave splitting is the phenomenon whereby the propagated shear waves from a seismic event splits in two, a fast component wave and a slow component wave, as it moves through a fractured medium," Petratherm said in a statement on Friday.

    "By recording where this phenomenon occurs at the depth targeted for heat extraction, possible zones of natural fracturing can be identified.

    "Such fracture zones have the potential to improve the connectivity between production wells and to yield improved fluid flow through geothermal reservoirs in the production stage of the project."

    Petratherm said that results from this program would complement information from the recently completed seismic reflection and magneto-telluric surveys.

    It will also help determine the location of the Paralana-2 deep well, scheduled for drilling in the second half of the year.

    Meanwhile, Torrens Energy has said it will use its PACE grant for 2D seismic work at its Adelaide Project Area, which already has an exploration budget of $6 million, comprising $3 million in funds raised by Torrens and a matching $3 million Federal Government REDI (Renewable Energy Development Initiative) grant.

    "The 2D seismic survey will complement hot-rock exploration drilling in the Adelaide Project scheduled for the second half of 2008, and will form the basis of the company's innovative 3D-TFM 3D temperature field model heat mapping program designed to identify and quantify hot-rock geothermal resources," Torrens chief executive Chris Matthews said.

    According to Torrens, the company has already used the 3D-TFM exploration methodology to successfully identified high heat flows and temperature gradients in its Torrens Project Area north of Port Augusta in South Australia.

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