Permits granted for Canoe Reach Geothermal Project

Dianne St. Jean

BCOGC issues first geothermal resource well authorization

The BC Oil and Gas Commission stated in a recent report that they have granted geothermal resource well authorizations to Borealis GeoPower Inc. for four thermal gradient wells for their Canoe Reach Geothermal Project south of Valemount.

The permits were issued on May 29 and, according to the report, represent the first time the Commission has issued a well authorization under the Geothermal Resource Act.

The Commission was made the provincial regulator of geothermal resources on March 31, 2017, and has jurisdiction over operational requirements.

The authorizations allow Borealis to begin drilling for the purpose of acquiring geotechnical and temperature gradient information.

This fulfills what Alison Thompson, Principal at Borealis in Calgary, said last spring was the next step they were waiting to achieve.

Throughout last spring and summer teams led by Craig Dunn, Principal and Chief Geologist with Borealis were on the field gathering data on possible sites. Teams included students from the University of Alberta as well as from Borealis.

Researchers and developers ideally want to see three key qualities when looking for sites suitable for geothermal power: temperature, depth, and flow rate.

“You want to be able to drill it shallow enough rather than deep, so that it’s economically attractive,” Thompson had remarked.

The deeper they have to drill, the more expensive it gets.

But of course, temperature is also important and determines what can be done with the water.

Higher temperature geothermal resources with a temperature at surface in excess of 80 degrees C can be used to produce electricity, and the more flow rate, the more can be used with the resource.

The Geothermal Resources Act governs the development and use of geothermal resources that are 80 degrees C and over.

What the teams ultimately find will determine what can be done with the heat.