Eden to drill Riverland for hot rocks

SOUTH Australia’s drive to develop hot rock energy will now take in the state’s Riverland district for the first time under new government exploration funding announced yesterday for Eden Energy.

Eden’s plan for a hot fractured rock geothermal energy project near the Riverland town of Renmark, northeast of Adelaide, has attracted $100,000 under the latest round of the State Government’s PACE (plan for accelerating exploration) grants. This will fund the company’s first drill hole to test the geothermal potential of the Renmark-Tararra Trough.

Eden holds Geothermal Exploration Licences 175 and 176, which are in the Renmark district and are close to major powerlines for distribution.

“The Renmark area stands out as a significant temperature anomaly on the Australian National University’s Austherm 2004 image of estimated hot rock temperatures at 5km depth,” Eden executive chairman Greg Solomon said yesterday.

“This potential is supported by data from the nearby Nulla Nulla-1 well just over the border in NSW.”

Eden’s first geothermal well is intended to confirm the anomalous heat flow status of the Renmark area as suggested by the Austherm image.

“The temperature data will enable an estimate for the area of its temperature at depth,” Solomon said.

“Core from the hole will enable thermal conductivities to be directly measured and a robust estimation made of heat flow and temperature gradient.”

Solomon said the drilling program would also dovetail with data to be available shortly from a new SA Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation (DWLBC) saline water re-injection test well near Lock 6 on the Murray River, providing a more regional view of the heat flow.

“Success will confirm a major new style of geothermal target in SA and accelerate exploration of this particular resource as well as highlighting the prospectivity of naturally permeable zones in sedimentary basins with high heat flows,” he said.

The Renmark-Tararra Trough is a 300km-long sedimentary basin running in a northeasterly direction, located just to the north of Renmark. It has significant accumulations of sediments that Eden has said could provide effective thermal insulation.