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Fervo Energy drilling results show advancement of geothermal performance

Fervo Energy published early drilling results from its Cape Station project that exceed the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) expectations for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). These results substantiate the rapid learning underway in the geothermal industry and signal readiness for continued commercialization.

The company began its drilling campaign at Cape Station, its 400 MW project in southwest Utah, in June 2023 and over the last six months has successfully drilled one vertical and six horizontal wells there, rapidly reducing drilling times from well to well as learnings have accelerated. These advancements build on Fervo’s pioneering Project Red, commissioned in 2023, where Fervo drilled one vertical well as well as two horizontal wells.

Fervo has consistently reduced drilling times and costs in horizontal, high-temperature and deep granite drilling. Though Cape wells are hotter and over 2,100 ft deeper than Project Red wells, Fervo drilled its fastest Cape well in just 21 days, a 70% reduction in drilling time from Fervo’s first horizontal well drilled at Project Red in 2022. This increase in drilling efficiency has translated into significant cost reductions, with drilling costs across the first four horizontal wells at Cape falling from $9.4 million to $4.8 million per well.

“Since its inception, Fervo has looked to bring a manufacturing mentality to enhanced geothermal development, building a highly repeatable drilling process that allows for continuous improvement and, as a result, lower costs,” said Tim Latimer, Fervo Energy CEO and Co-Founder. “In just six months, we have proven that our technology solutions have led to a dramatic acceleration in forecasted drilling performance.”

Its drilling performance to date fits an expected learning rate of 35% for drilling time improvement, portending far more significant advances in performance and cost.

“Fervo’s drilling improvements are like the early days of the shale revolution,” said Trey Lowe, Chief Technology Officer of Devon Energy. “When you operate continually and understand the resource, you dramatically streamline operations. That’s the unique value of Fervo’s approach to enhanced geothermal.”

The company achieved its results by increasing both the rate of penetration (ROP) and life of drill bits. On the fourth horizontal well drilled at Cape, Fervo sustained an average ROP of 70 ft/hr, already outpacing NREL’s 2035 projections for moderate technology improvement.

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