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The total number of geothermal wells drilled in 1982 decreased to 79 from 99 wells in 1981. Total footage drilled in 1982 decreased to 559,326 ft from 676,127 ft in 1981. An increase in average well depth from 6,830 ft in 1981 to 7,080 ft in 1982 indicated that operators are having to drill deeper in their efforts to extend the productive limits of proven geothermal reservoirs. Of the 79 geothermal wells completed in 1982, about 80% (i.e., 63 wells, which accounted for 90% of the total footage) were drilled in California.
Two major acquisitions occurred during 1982 in The Geysers geothermal field in northern California. Geothermal Resources International, Inc. (GRI), purchased Thermogenics, Inc. (TGI), including the steam-producing property from which TGI sells steam to the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) Unit 15 geothermal power plant. Additionally, GRI purchased the 50% interest of Aminoil USA, Inc., in about 60,000 acres within and around The Geysers for $26.25 million in the largest transaction negotiated in the geothermal industry during 1982. GRI then entered into agreements for the exploration and development of the acreage with the Central California Power Agency.
Geothermal power generation was highlighted at The Geysers by an increase of 110 MWe of electricity. With the start-up of PG&E Unit 17, the total capacity of The Geysers at year end was 1,019 MWe. In the Salton Sea KGRA in the Imperial Valley in southern California, the Southern California Edison Co. 10 MWe single flash demonstration plant became operational in 1982, bringing the total geothermal electricity generation capacity in the Imperial Valley to about 31 MWe. By mid-year, 5 development wells were completed by California Energy Co., Inc., at the Coso Hot Springs KGRA on the China Lake Naval Weapons Center in south-central California. These wells confirmed the dry steam discovery of late 1981 and established the Coso area as another important geothermal resource for electric l power generation.
Other achievements included the accelerated federal geothermal leasing program reaching its goal of offering about 600,000 acres in 14 sales held by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Five other geothermal lease sales were conducted by 3 state agencies. Private industry paid more than $18.7 million in bonus bids in 1982 for geothermal leases at these competitive federal and state lease sales, an average of $113.20/acre. In 1982, 2 significant technical developments, the Crystallizer Clarifier Processor and the EFP System, were successfully demonstrated and will accelerate the commercial utilization of liquid-dominated geothermal resources in the United States and elsewhere. Finally, the dedication of several district heating projects highlighted the direct-use application of geotherm l resources in 1982.
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