Feasibility Report of a Deep Geothermal Single Well, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

Report of study which examined the technical, logistical, contractual and economic feasibility of installing a deep geothermal single well system at the new site of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Project Delivery And Costs

Due to previous recent project experience, the costs for the proposed project at the new AECC site are well constrained. Further, drilling and installation costs can be controlled under an EPC contract. For project delivery, our previous experience suggests that the following milestones/ work packages will be required:

1. Agreements, Contracts and Permitting (Planning and SEPA)

2. Drilling/ completion of the well and pipework installation

3. Testing and commissioning of the well /system

4. Integration with the system on site

5. Data analysis and reporting of the system operation

Each of these is explored in more detail in the following sections:

Agreements Contracts and Permitting

This first work package will cover all of the agreements, contracts and permitting for the project:

  • Legal Agreements. Legal agreements regarding access to the site during the construction period and a long term lease of the area of the site where the well-head is located (normally a car parking space in size) will need to be drawn up and signed
  • Well design. A site-specific detailed well design and methodology will be developed for HSE, SEPA and Planning Approval. This will also be used as a basis for the drilling tender documentation.
  • Permitting - SEPA. All the required documentation will be prepared and submitted to SEPA for approval
  • Permitting - HSE. Although not legally required for the project, all documentation will be submitted to HSE and an external well examiner appointed
  • Planning Permission. The documentation outlined in previous sections will be prepared and submitted to Aberdeen Council. A public consultation day will also be held in a similar manner to that described above. RHI. If appropriate (dependent upon funding routes), we will also start the pre-accreditation process with Ofgem for the Renewable Heat Incentive. We have recently been through this process for a similar project in England.
  • Heat Purchase Agreement. This will be drafted and agreed in principal between all parties
  • Drilling tender and drilling contract. A tender process will be run for the appointment of a drilling contractor and other works for the project. The contractual arrangements and liabilities will need to be legally agreed between all parties
  • Insurances. The legal responsibilities for the project will be allocated to all of the parties involved and sufficient insurance policies put in place.

Drilling and Completion of The Well, System Installation

Once all of the required agreements, permits and contracts are in place, the next work package will be to drill the vertical well to the target depth and install the single well equipment. A draft programme for the drilling stage of the project has been included as part of this report. In total, we expect the drilling rig to be on site for approximately 40 days with the drilling itself taking 20 days. The whole process (including site preparation, mobilisation, fitting of the well equipment will take approximately 70 days.)

Testing and Commissioning

Once the well has been drilled, we will conduct a suite of tests at the site in conjunction with St. Andrews University. The majority of these tests will involve the use of our Thermal Response Test rig that has been specifically designed and constructed for deep geothermal single well tests. Proposed tests include:

1. Wireline logging of the well

2. Temperature profiling

3. Geothermal water analysis

4. Bleed flow testing (hydraulic parameters of the well) - step draw down tests

5. Short and long term energy abstraction tests

This part of the project is estimated to take four months to complete.


Following the testing period, the system will be integrated into the plant room of the AD unit at the new AECC site. The integration consists of installing the heat exchanger, pipework connections, the pump control system and the interface with the Building Management System (BMS). The design, integration and commissioning of the system will be undertaken by M&E engineers at Arup.

During this stage of the project, the pipework will also be laid for the supply of return flow heat to the nearby residential dwellings and the individual heat pumps fitted in each unit.

Operation, Analysis and Reporting

Once operational, the entire system will be monitored for performance over the first three years of operation. Monitoring will include:

1. Thermal performance of the well

2. Changes to the geo-fluid properties

3. Thermal delivery and efficiency

4. Maintenance requirements

The aim of the data analysis will be to complete the picture on how best to operate and manage DGSW systems under a variety of conditions. Due to the relative longevity of this work package, this has not been included in the overall project costs. It is expected that the long term monitoring of the project will be met from internal funds.


Email: Johann MacDougall

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