Advanced premium solutions
for geothermal energy projects
Vallourec is committed to developing technical solutions for renewable energy. This is clearly illustrated through the recent awards to supply premium tubes and connections for two important geothermal energy projects in Europe.
Geothermal energy projects use the thermal energy generated and stored in the core of the earth’s geology to generate electricity. Using production wells to extract steam and hot water out of the ground and bring it to the surface, thermal energy is transferred either to a domestic water network to heat homes or transformed into electricity and transferred to the power grid. Once the heat energy has been used, the water is reinjected into the reservoir though an injection well.
A virtuous energy cycle
However, geothermal well profiles are challenging. Concentrated at the edges of the earth’s tectonic plates, the extremely hard and abrasive rock formations create high torsion levels and equipment wear, even worse than conventional oil & gas drilling. High temperatures, high pressure and the presence of hydrogen sulfide are just some of the challenges of geothermal wells.
In 2016, Vallourec supplied premium OCTG for the geothermal plant in Holzkirchen, Bavaria, Germany. This project involved drilling two wells to a depth of nearly 5,000 meters, with temperatures over 180 °C and external pressures up to 743 bars. This year, Vallourec will assist Fonroche Géothermie, the leading French company in high temperature geothermal energy, in the exploration phase of the underground reserves in Alsace. The project will consist of two to four wells drilled in doublets (one injection well and one production well) requiring premium tubes and connections including VAM® 21TM, the highest performing premium connection on the market. A team of VAM® Field Service technicians will supervise the on-site descent. The drilling of the first well is expected to begin in June 2017.
Geothermal plant projects are developing around the world, confirming the rise in this technology for producing electricity from green energy. Today, only 6 to 7% of global geothermal energy is in use, but this is expected to grow fivefold for electricity production and two-fold for urban heating by 2030. Vallourec is positioned as the leading partner in this new environment friendly market.