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Drilling Summary, by Mark Person, February 6, 2010

Due to unexpected drilling problems (and associated costs in addressing them), we only
reached a depth of 1100 feet in our slim hole project. We initially drilled open hole using an air hammer method with a Gardner Denver 1500 rotary rig. The target was 1500 feet. The well was completed on January 8th 2010 (Figure 1A). We experienced repeated bore hole collapse events as we drilled. We completed six cement jobs in an attempt to stabilize the formation we were drilling through. We switched drilling methods from open hole drilling to advancing with casing (Atlas Copco Symmetrix system using compressed air) using an Ingersol Rand TH100 top drive drill rig (Figure 1). We were not charged for mobilizationdemobilization costs for the change of equipment. We used the casing advance method to drill through the highly fractured Paleozoic sedimentary rocks before we returned to open
Ingersol Rand TH100 top drive drill rig

Figure 1. Rodgers and Company Ingersol Rand TH100 top drive drill rig
hole drilling. Essentially all available funds were used to complete the drilling to 1100 feet depth. We were unable to perform detailed bore hole geophysics or complete a long‐term pumping test as initially planned. Total drilling time was much longer than expected due to winter storms and logistical problems associated with getting the Symmetrix equipment on site. Well site geologists included Ariel Dickens, Lara Owens, Lewis Gillard, and Jim Witcher (Figure 2; left to right).

Well site geologists logging NM Tech slim hole
Figure 2. Well site geologists logging NM Tech slim hole. From left to right are Ariel Dickens,Lara Owens, Lewis Gillard, and Jim Witcher.

Final Well Completion Information
We set 17‐1/2 inch steel casing to a depth of 60 feet through mines tailings and alluvial fill (Fig. 3A). This was cemented in place. We then advanced using a 12 inch air hammer bit to a depth of 291 feet. Steel casing (12”) was set at 285’ and cemented in place. We then advanced with a 7‐1/2 inch air hammer bit to a depth of 450 feet. Progress was slow during this phase of open hole drilling due to borehole collapse and loss of air into the heavily fractured formation which compromised the removal of cuttings. We performed six cement jobs to try to stabilize the fractured Paleozoic sediments. We then switched to a casing advance system (Atlas Copco Symmetrix) driving 6‐5/ 8 inch steel casing as we drilled with the air hammer method. The outer bit assembly failed at 540 feet. However, at that

Final Well Completion Information

Final Well Completion Information
Figure 3. (A) Schematic diagram showing NM Tech slim hole well completion information
and geologic formations encountered during drilling. (B) Detailed temperature profile completed by Lara Owens on December 23, 2009 of the NM Tech slim hole.

and were able to maintain a clean hole with maximum air pressure despite producing large amounts of water (>1000 gpm) utilizing a jetted rotary bit.
Drilling was completed on January 8th, 2010. Flow rates were estimated to be over 1000
gpm using a v‐notch weir (Figure 4). Because we drilled with compressed air, these
estimates are probably reasonably accurate (although they are not a substitute for longterm pumping tests). Drilling with advanced casing lowered the observed flow rates considerably because only the bottom of the hole was open to the formation. The maximum temperature of produced fluids was only 42°C. Photos of discharge from the bluey line and the weir are shown in Figure 5.

Estimated flow rates during drilling

Figure 4. Estimated flow rates during drilling of NM Tech slim hole. Estimates are based on vnotch wier flows of produced fluids.

bluey line during drilling
Figure 5 (A) Jim Witcher monitors discharge from bluey line during drilling. (B) Bluey line
discharge cuts into rock wall. (C) Measurements of discharge during symmetrix drilling
(about 100 gpm) using vnotch weir.

On January 12th , four days after completing the well, Dr. Marshal Reiter ran a detailed
temperature log of the well. His log was consistent with our earlier logging (Fig. 1B). The borehole became isothermal between 490 to 1100 feet (150 to 335 m). While we were surprised at such an abrupt change in thermal gradient, this was not entirely unexpected (Bredehoeft and Papodopolus, 1968; Barroll and Reiter, 1990; Mailloux et al. 1999) and was consistent with the vertical hydraulic gradient (0.12 m/m) we encountered during drilling. It is not clear whether the observed temperature overturns in temperature profile in Figure 3B at 600 feet was caused by drilling or were due to transient lateral flow (Ziagos and Blackwell, 1986).
Analysis of the geochemistry of the produced geothermal fluids (Table 1) indicates that the produced fluids are not potable (total dissolved solids concentration of about 2000 mg/l).
To proceed with a district heating system, these brackish waters must be safely disposed of at depths of about 3000 feet in sands within or beneath a thick playa confining unit so that they will not degrade the shallow fluvial aquifers of the Rio Grande Valley.

Table 1. Results of Chemical Analysis NMT 467T
Ph 7.3
TDS 1970
Arsenic 0.021
Barroll, M. W., and Reiter, M., 1990, Analysis of the Socorro hydrothermal system: central New Mexico: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 95, no. B13, p. 21949‐21963.
Bredehoeft, J. and S. I. Papadopulos, 1965. Rates of vertical groundwater movement
estimated from the earth’s thermal profile, Water Resources Research, 1, 325–328.
Dennis Engineering, 2004, City of Socorro Production Well Project Results of Phase One –
Exploration, March 2, 2004, 9 pages.
Mailloux, B., Person, M., Strayer, P., Hudleston, P.J., Cather, S., Dunbar, N., 1999, Tectonic
and Stratigraphic Controls on the Hydrothermal Evolution of the Rio Grande Rift,
Water Resources Research, v. 35(9), p. 2641‐2659.
Shuster, S. M., 1981, Life history characteristics of Thermosphaeroma Thermophiilum, the Socorro Isopod Crustacea: Peracarida, Biol. Bull. 161, 291‐302.

Witcher, J.,

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