Thermal Stimulation and Injectivity Testing at Raft River, ID EGS Site

The Raft River geothermal field is the site of an innovative Department of Energy Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) project to determine the viability of using combined thermal and hydraulic stimulation techniques to improve energy production. Well RRG-9 is currently undergoing a stimulation program using injectate from the US Geothermal Raft River Power Plant and cold water from a cooling tower make-up water well. The stimulation began on 13 June 2013 with injection from the power plant at a temperature of about 39 °C and a pressure of 275 psig. Next, two positive displacement plunger type pumps were used to increase the injection pressure and flow rate for about one month. The highest rate achieved was 258 gpm at a pressure of 741 psig. During this time, fluid from the cooler water well was injected for about 2 weeks at various pressures. Then, the pumps were removed and plant injection resumed on 25 September. Plant injection will continue until the spring of 2014, when a high pressure hydraulic stimulation will be conducted. A series of seismic monitoring stations deployed around the well are providing data on seismic events occurring at the site. Over the past year, 51 microseismic events have been recorded, all less than Magnitude 1.
During injection, several diagnostic tests were conducted to gain a better understanding of the well and reservoir. A step-rate test was performed on 22 August to measure the in-situ stress and aid in modeling in-situ fractures. A tracer was injected into the well on 9 September. No tracer was detected in adjacent production wells after several months. A second borehole televiewer survey was conducted for comparison to pre-stimulation images. A third borehole televiewer survey is planned after the high pressure stimulation.
Injection test data is evaluated in real time. A modified Hall plot analysis indicates the effective permeability is increasing. The injectivity index supports the results of the modified Hall plot analysis. As the thermal stimulation has continued, the injectivity index has consistently followed an upward trend from 0.1 gpm/psi to 0.53 gpm/psi.

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