RESPEC, Dewhurst, and Geothermal Energy

In 2011, Dr. Matt Minnick, Manager of Hydrogeology at RESPEC, met with Dr. Warren Dewhurst at a geothermal symposium at the Colorado School of Mines. From there, RESPEC and the Dewhurst Group (Dewhurst) signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement in 2013 to support each other’s efforts in providing geothermal consulting services.

This partnership combines strengths from both companies and builds on Dewhurst’s expertise in the realm of geophysics (primarily magnetotellurics used in geothermal reservoir exploration), geothermal reservoir exploration, business development, and project management. RESPEC brings modeling and instrumentation services to the partnership.

Dewhurst currently operates an office in Bogota, Colombia, and seeks to further expand geothermal development services to a growing market in South America.

“Our flagship project,” Dr. Minnick says, “has been a geothermal exploration and development project for Empresas Publicas de Medellin E.S.P. (EPM) in the Nereidas Valley on the west slope of Nevado Del Ruiz Volcanic Massif in Colombia, South America.” For this project, Dewhurst conducted extensive geophysical surveys and geological mapping over a 50-km2 area on the side of one of the world’s most active volcanoes. RESPEC helped integrate the data into a 3D conceptual model for resource evaluation and exploration drilling targeting. We also provided technical expertise in implementing a remote monitoring program to gather meteorological and hydrologic data.

Together, RESPEC and Dewhurst have installed multiple weather stations and a stream gauging station and conducted a fiber-optic stream temperature survey throughout the Nereidas Valley. This work has become a featured project for Campbell Scientific, another business that partners with RESPEC.

Today, exploration drilling plans for the EPM project are moving forward despite the project being on hold for the last few years. Dewhurst won a group contract to manage the Latin America Geothermal Development Fund (LAGDF) in 2016 and should see funds distributed in 2018. Geothermal development is currently slow-moving in Latin America, but the future looks promising with new investments, the LAGDF, and the first geothermal power plant coming online in Chile in 2017. We look forward to continued work with Dewhurst in 2019 and beyond as we help develop the first geothermal power station in Colombia.

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