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Progress continues for geothermal facility in southeast Saskatchewan

Progress has been made on a number of fronts
DEEP Earth drilling
Drilling is underway on the Border-6 stratigraphic test well.

SASKATOON – The Deep Earth Energy Production Corp. continues to advance the company’s first ~35-megawatt geothermal power facility in southeastern Saskatchewan.

As a Canadian first, the facility is planned to produce emission-free baseload power. This initial facility is planned for commissioning in early 2025. As envisioned, a four-stage build aims to scale the project to produce approximately 140 MWs of geothermal power generation in approximately 35-MW increments.

Phase 1 development plans include one ~35-MW gross geothermal power facility. Negotiations are ongoing with SaskPower to increase the five-megawatt power purchase agreement, secured in 2017, to align with phase 1 development that averages ~35 megawatts annually of baseload geothermal power.

Thirty-five MW is roughly equivalent to the power required to supply 35,000 households.

Some recent highlights include:

  • Completed successful feasibility engineering in September;
  • Design basis memorandum (DBM) engineering currently underway by Calgary-based SCOVAN Engineering;
  • Negotiations ongoing for enhanced SaskPower power purchase agreement (PPA);
  • Secured 80 acres of land under an 18-month offer to purchase for the surface area requirements for the first planned ~35-MW geothermal facility;
  • Resolved critical engineering challenges such as corrosion mitigation and reducing parasitic pumping power;
  • Reviewing optimization strategies to build low emission natural gas (NG) power generation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) for parasitic power requirements (primarily brine pumping). This aligns with the federal government’s recent unveilling of a 50 per cent tax credit aimed at spurring investment in carbon capture and storage technologies;
  • Engaging SaskPower and SaskEnergy on use of natural gas and CCS technologies to help address parasitic loads and related issues;
  • Completed Canada’s first large volume 53-day production and injection geothermal pump test;
  • Entered a strategic partnership with Prairie Lithium to exchange subsurface mineral permits and establish an area of mutual interest (AMI) to explore future lithium opportunities;
  • Actively engaged with stakeholders, including local communities. DEEP said in a news release that a meet and greet in Torquay was well received by local officials and residents; and
  • Drilled and tested the Border-06 stratigraphic step out well to demonstrate lateral geological continuity of the geothermal reservoir properties. Production and injection testing demonstrated excellent productivity.

DEEP’s government subsurface lease for geothermal power is a contiguous 39,120-hectare (99,667-acre) block. In addition to geothermal power production, and with proper regulatory approvals, separate stratigraphic intervals within this subsurface lease could also be used for CO2 storage.

DEEP is exploring strategic CO2 storage opportunities to develop a major multi-use CO2 storage field.

In the coming months, DBM engineering for the surface facilities will be completed through SCOVAN engineering with opportunities to maximize the economics of the project prior to reaching a final investment decision (FID) strategy.

Extensive reservoir engineering data has been obtained from DEEP’s six test wells. Several subsurface field development options have been evaluated to finalize the optimal drill hole spacing, number of wells and options for mitigating corrosion tendencies of brine on carbon steel. The geothermal field development will consist of 34 horizontal wells (18 production wells and 16 injection wells) to be drilled and completed from the location of the surface facility and 4 additional drilling pads. To prevent corrosion, all wells will be completed with carbon steel tubing using a non-metallic coating.

A final investment decision strategy is expected this fall along with the SaskPower PPA. DEEP is actively pursuing strategic partnerships and options to secure debt and equity, aligning with the full project financing set to commence later this year. Subsurface engineering will be third party reviewed by GeothermEx (a Schlumberger Company). DEEP says GeothermEx’s due diligence has resulted in more than US$14 billion in project investments and 8.5 gigawatts of power, more than half of the world’s operating geothermal capacity.