By Nerissa Golden
BRADES, Montserrat (GIU) -- Montserrat on Tuesday signed a contract that will see the island pursue its search for geothermal energy.
Vilhjalmur Gudmundsson, head of marketing and business development for Jardboranir, doing business as the Iceland Drilling Company Ltd (IDC), signed the contract, while Philip Chambers, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Communications and Works represented the government of Montserrat.
IDC was the only company to submit a bid to drill for geothermal on island and was granted a conditional letter of award on 27 September 2012. Since then the contract works were completed in early October with the official signing taking place on 16 October 2012.
Gudmundsson said they are hopeful that they will be able to find geothermal energy. IDC recently completed the drilling of two test wells on Dominica and will be moving their operations here shortly to begin drilling in January 2013.
IDC is a leading high technical company in the field of high temperature deep geothermal drilling and has many decades of experience in both high and low temperature drilling. The company operates internationally, and possesses a fleet of new hydraulic rigs and modern drilling equipment that can be transferred swiftly from one part of the world to another.
The company has well-grounded expertise in international deep drilling projects, with a record of 7,000 wells around the world, of which 260 high temperature wells were found in the last 15 years. IDC´s field of operations has been in the Azores (Portugal), UK, Denmark, Ireland, Hungary, Germany, Caribbean, Switzerland and in New Zealand. Currently the company is working in Iceland, Azores, Caribbean, and New Zealand.
The drilling is estimated to take three to four months, says Ron Beardsley, director of the Public Works Department. Two wells which will be both slim and production wells will be drilled to a depth of 5,000 feet in Zone C, which is part of the island’s Exclusion Zone.
Montserrat pays 1.7 million pounds annually for fuel imports and is 100% dependent on fossil fuel. Beardsley said he is pleased to be a part of this latest phase of geothermal exploration a vision that the island’s leaders first explored in 1976 and again in the early 1990s.
The geothermal wells will be dug between Weekes Village and Garibaldi Hill. A 2012 Geothermal Exploration Report done by EGS of California said there was an 80% likelihood of geothermal energy on Montserrat.