GA Drilling, a.s. ("GA Drilling") conducted the first public demonstration of its new deep drilling tool, ANCHORBIT®. GA Drilling developed the tool to materially cut the cost of deep geothermal drilling by doubling the drilling speed and extending the drillbit lifetime in hard and abrasive formations.
The test was performed on April 25, 2023, in partnership with Nabors Industries Ltd. ("Nabors") (NYSE: NBR) at their technology center in Houston. Integrating the innovative drilling tools of GA Drilling into Nabors' industry-leading automated drilling operations is expected to accelerate field commercialization and eliminate traditional economic barriers to deep geothermal projects. This should expand global access to geothermal energy.
GA Drilling, a geothermal technology company with operations in Houston (USA), Bratislava (Slovakia), and Bristol (U.K.), is a pioneer in advanced drilling using plasma and thermomechanical technologies as well as in movement/anchoring expertise.
Unlocking geothermal anywhere requires new, deep drilling technologies
Geothermal power plants have delivered 24/7 energy for decades but only in specific tectonically active areas like California or Iceland, where only relatively shallow drilling is required. In all other places, conventional technologies have until now not allowed for cost-efficient drilling. GA Drilling is launching breakthrough technologies to gradually unlock this massive fossil-free baseload energy source anywhere needed, delivering terawatts of clean energy from unprecedented depths globally and unlocking the commercial opportunity of geothermal energy.
ANCHORBIT® is purpose-built for high-temperature, hard rock formations
ANCHORBIT® is a downhole walking system that prevents vibrations and improves stability when drilling with rotary systems in the hard and abrasive formations commonly encountered in deep and hot geothermal projects. In these conditions, ANCHORBIT® should double the rate of penetration and bit lifetime since the tool allows for the stabilization of the bit in the wellbore and thus applies more weight to the bit. Currently, drilling in such conditions is accompanied by vibrations, a low rate of penetration, and frequent replacement of bits.
ANCHORBIT® is designed to improve drilling economics and make more geothermal projects economically feasible. It is a plug-and-play solution with conventional rotary drilling, which will enable immediate commercialization after the final development cycle. It is also designed to be part of the GA Drilling’s PLASMABIT® technology, a game-changer for the geothermal drilling industry.
Meeting Decarbonization Goals
Geothermal energy is the only clean, renewable, and reliable baseload energy source; however, due to the limited geographical distribution of high-temperature rocks close to the surface, its full potential remains largely untapped until now. ANCHORBIT® is engineered to enable deep drilling in high-temperature hard formations at a cost comparable to conventional drilling in shallow wells. These proven technologies aim to penetrate crystalline rock at high penetration rates at depths exceeding 5 km (3 miles). Clean energy is generated by producing water heated in the earth's crust and converting it to power at the surface. Building on a common technology infrastructure and the ability to access geothermal almost anywhere in the world, GA Drilling will speed up and expand the availability of carbon-free energy options for power generation. Geothermal is also an ideal solution to retrofit carbon-intensive coal power plants, eliminating emissions and strengthen countries' energy independence from fossil fuels.
Igor Kocis, Founder and CEO of GA Drilling, said: "For several years, our team worked relentlessly to enable clean, baseload geothermal power in any place of the world. We are thrilled that today we demonstrated in a real well a significant achievement: the successful use of our first ANCHORBIT® tool, applicable to today's geothermal projects. It will improve their returns, reduce the risk, and help the current industry to expand projects into new territories. We are starting a new era for our company and for the whole geothermal sector to become a decisive player in the energy mix. With this breakthrough, we have made another big step toward delivering our promise of 'Geothermal Anywhere.'"
Tomas Kristofic, Founder and CTO of GA Drilling, said: "ANCHORBIT® is an excellent mixture of existing technologies, 'spiced' by unique innovations. As a result, it brings unparalleled enhancement in drilling performance and consistency to existing drilling technologies. It is a long-awaited leap on the path to the breakthrough technology enabler of a geothermal revolution."
Siggi Meissner, President, Energy Transition and Industrial Automation at Nabors Industries said: "Congratulations to GA Drilling on the successful demonstration of ANCHORBIT technology. The test provided valuable experience and information as we look to integrate new, innovative geothermal tools on Nabors rigs. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with GA.”