Geothermal well drilling begins

An Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi is predicting the drilling for new geothermal wells will provide an opportunity to develop and create local expertise and employment for the community.

Drilling is now underway on the first of three wells for Te Ahi O Maui geothermal power project near the Eastern Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau.

Eastland Group's board of directors visited the Te Ahi O Maui drilling site last month. From left: Keiran Devine, Mike Glover, John Rae, Nelson Cull (chairman), John Clarke, Tony Gray. Photo: Supplied.

Following completion of the well, two further wells will be drilled later this year.

Project Manager Ben Gibson says the drilling process will target known sources of geothermal fluid, which could be as hot as 200-300C.

'It's this high-temperature fluid that will ultimately fuel the geothermal power plant,” he says.

Te Ahi O Maui project team is working with internationally recognised drilling specialists including the New Zealand owned and operated rig contractor, MB Century; ancillary service provider, Halliburton; and supervising engineers, Jacobs (formerly SKM).

Te Ahi O Maui is 100 per cent New Zealand owned via a partnership between Eastland Generation and Kawerau A8D Ahu Whenua Trust.

A8D owner and past-trustee and assistant to the project team Colleen Skerrett-White says the project will benefit the landowners, wider community and New Zealand.

'Te Ahi O Maui will provide opportunity to develop and create local expertise and employment well into the future.

'We expect as many as 100 people will be involved in the construction phase and throughout the life of the power plant. People will be required to operate and maintain it.”

In a statement, Colleen says these activities require businesses to support them, including engineering firms to provide the technical know-how and skills and lunch bars and cafes to feed staff.

'Much of this support will come from local businesses, which will mean a large part of the money spent on the plant will be spent locally. The employment opportunities for our local people, and particularly youth, are one of the important benefits of this project,” says Colleen.

Well pads were constructed on site and the Old Coach Road, near Kawerau, was upgraded in preparation for the drilling rig's arrival in late April.

The drilling rig was commissioned this month following assembly, inspections, and karakia from local kaumatua.

A8D trustee and project cultural advisor Tomairangi Fox says the start of drilling is a major project milestone.

'The blessing is important to ‘clear the way' for successful drilling.”

Ben says the project's focus for the coming months is ensuring the wells are drilled as safely and efficiently as possible.

'We will be able to provide further updates towards the end of 2016, once the three wells are complete.”

1 comment


Posted on 21-06-2016 08:42 | By dumbkof2

so its ok to drill a well to find something they can use but not ok to drill a well to find something someone else can use

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