Curacautin, Chile, August 27, 2012 — GeoGlobal Energy Chile successfully completed the exploratory drilling program on the northwestern flank of the Tolhuaca mountain in southern Chile.
One of the wells, Tolhuaca No. 4, is the most productive geothermal well ever drilled in South America, according to the company.
A long-term flow test lasting more than 45 days has demonstrated that the production and injection wells are capable of supporting commercial power production, company officials said.
GGE has been actively exploring at Tolhuaca for more than three years, and is continuing project development of the site — including design, permits and construction of the power plants and transmission lines — with a goal of power operations as early as 2014. Currently there are no operating geothermal power plants in South America.
GGE Chile acquired access to the site in January 2009 and drilled a successful exploration well in March 2009 that represented the first high-quality geothermal resource discovery in the country since the late 1960s. Development of Chile's geothermal energy reserves is a stated priority of the government.
The production well, Tol-4, was drilled to a depth of 2,300 meters and is producing high temperature steam sufficient to generate 12 MW of electrical energy, enough to supply the power needs for 45,000 households. It is the most productive geothermal well ever drilled in Chile or in any other country in South America.
The injection well, Tol-3, drilled deeper at 2,575 meters, is capable of safely accepting all of the geothermal fluids from the power operations with the highest level of environmental protection.
Geothermal energy is used for electrical power generation in more than 25 countries around the world. The U.S. is the largest generator of geothermal power with over 3,000 MW of installed capacity followed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico. While geothermal power plants are also operating in New Zealand, Iceland, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, none are operating in South America.