Meritorious awards for engineering innovation

May 1, 2015

Geothermal energy is one of the leading renewable sources of environmentally friendly power generation.

Recent improvements in drilling and extraction technology have enabled the creation of geothermal power plants in areas where the thermal resources lie deep under the surface. These developments represent a challenging set of downhole conditions and reservoir characteristics, with unique problems caused by high-volume, hot water flows. Temperatures up to 315 C (600 F) and 100% aqueous environments create well completion and operating problems.

The Inferno completion system was developed during a time when completion tools that could withstand extreme conditions were needed by Geodynamics, a company focused on enhanced geothermal systems, in the Cooper Basin in South Australia. Packers Plus designed, prototyped and tested production packers, liner hangers, liner hanger packers, polished bore receptacles, seal assemblies, anchor latches and float equipment for 7-in. and 95⁄8-in. casing to withstand bottomhole temperatures of 315 C and pressures of 10,000 psi.

With the successful design and delivery of the Inferno completion tools within a short time frame, Geodynamics and Packers Plus Field Operations personnel were able to work past upfront challenges involving intense heat to successfully complete the well in preparation for hydraulic stimulation. Because the limits of oil and gas completions continue to be pushed by targeting deeper and hotter formations, the Inferno tools also have applications for multistage hydraulic fracturing.