February 11, 2008
Minister of Communications, Works and Public Utilities on Nevis the Hon. Carlisle Powell, said that the second phase of the drilling for geothermal energy represented a another thrust for the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) as it sought to reduce the cost of living for the people of the island.
Minister Powell made the comment on Friday February 8, 2008, at the commencement of the second phase drilling operation at the West Indies Power (WIP) Nevis 1 drill site located at Spring Hill, St. James Parish, moments before Minister Robelto Hector released the lever to commence the drilling operation.
“I am delighted to be a part of the start of the second phase of the drilling for geothermal energy. They [WIP] have spent a lot of money [and] done a tremendous amount of work in getting to this stage. We [NIA] are interested in not only getting geothermal power and the ability to harness the geothermal power but the ability to offer to the domestic and commercial consumers in Nevis, power at a reduced cost which for us [NIA] would signal a reduction in the cost of living for the average person in Nevis,” he said.
Mr. Powell said that various studies had shown one identical finding that indicated the island had great potential for geothermal energy and it was a matter of drilling in the right place to harness these energies and be able to produce it.
“WIP Nevis Ltd. have given themselves the very best chance because they not only have brought in some professionals to do the drilling but also some sophisticated equipment here which they tell me can be monitored from practically any place in the world.
“They have given themselves the very best chance by getting (a) quality professionals, (b) quality equipment so we are hopeful that they will be able to make some rewards on their investment which has been significant to date,” he said.
The Minister also disclosed that the NIA had looked at and began preparations to accommodate new industries and companies who wished to take advantage of the cheaper energy.
“We very recently entertained and signed an MOU [Memorandum Of Understanding] with a company which is looking forward to locating its headquarters on Nevis. It’s a telecommunications company and so even in advance of geothermal power being available, that company has identified Nevis as the place for its headquarters. We are in negotiations with several major hotels that would be looking to locate to Nevis as well.
“Any number of those companies coming here can significant affect the bottom line for NEVLEC [Nevis Electricity Company Ltd.] and make sure that those workers in that company will be able to get better wages,” he said.
Meantime, General Manager of West Indies Power Nevis Limited, Mr. Rawlinson Isaac said the company was confident that it would find the geothermal resource and all works pointed specifically to its availability potential on the island.
He said WIP Nevis Limited was vigorously pursuing the location of the geothermal resource and had employed some local employees to compliment the Therma Source drilling team which was moving towards the development of another phase of the project.
Head of the Therma Source drill team, Mr. Bobby Kingsley explained the drilling process and said collecting water samples and temperature gradients would allow them knowledge of the location of the reservoir which held the volume of water and the heat required for testing. He said the drill team would be installing drill rods and clean out the predrilled hole by Trinidad based drilling company Lennox.
“We will clean out the hole and install 5 1/2inch metal casings which will go down to 505 ft below the earth surface. The PQ drill pipe is expected to go to 1200 feet and the HQ which will be the next size we intend to try to get to around 4000 feet and the smaller NQ we intend to take it down to around 7 thousand feet.
“The drill rods that are to be used for coring will bring out the rock samples. We do what we call circulating condition, we will circulate drilling mud and it will clean the rocks and solids out of the hole, prepare the hole clean for the casing to go in and then we will cement that casing all the way back to the surface. We will let the ceiling set up for approximately 24 hours and then we can start installation of the Blow Out Prevention (BOP) and then the coring system will come right after that,” he said.
An on location office set up with a computerised control system allows the team to monitor the depth as well as the fluids coming in and out of the hole, the pressures that exist there and other critical information.