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GDC putting up steam pipeline in Nakuru

By Tony Owori | December 31st 2014

Construction work by Geothermal Development Company (GDC) for the Steam Gathering System at the Menengai Geothermal Project in Nakuru is rolling off earnestly in preparation for the first 105 MW power plants.
Contractor, H.S Young is on site to build the network of pipes that will collect geothermal steam from different wells and channel them to the power plants. Already, a control room is almost complete. GDC and the three IPPs have already identified locations to put up power plants.
The Steam Gathering System is a critical step in any geothermal project. it is the link between the well and the turbine and therefore calls for a high level of sophistication in design and construction.
GDC is also commissioning three new rigs it acquired recently. “The additional rigs are critical to our operations. It means that we are going to accelerate drilling for steam and that more Kenyans will be employed at the drilling sites,” explains Dr Silas Simiyu, the GDC Managing Director and CEO.
“We are on course. Our projections are just within the timelines. As we speak, we have drilled 25 wells with an output of 120MW.”
The MD noted that GDC has enough steam for the first phase of 105 MW. The company has embarked on the second phase of drilling for 60 MW.
Recently GDC struck a mega well of 30 MW – a major break-through in search of affordable and reliable energy.
“This well alone, drilled in about 80 days, is equivalent to six other wells of 5 MW each. It has saved us the cost of six wells, and about one year of drilling,” says Mr Cornel Ofwona, the Manager in charge of Geothermal Reservoir Management.
After drilling several appraisal wells, GDC embarked on directional drilling. In this method, geologists map out critical subterranean structures and with precision direct drilling horizontally as opposed to the usual vertical method.
“This is one the biggest wells you will find in the world,” Ofwona ethuses. “With this method, we are going to cut down on the cost and time of drilling. This means that the tariffs will come down accordingly.”
The GDC boss explained that with more reduced costs in drilling, cost of geothermal energy from Menengai will be trading at 5$cts about Ksh 5 per KwH.

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