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Nabors invests in plasma driller pioneer

Bermudian-based Nabors Industries Ltd has added to its clean energy portfolio with an $8 million investment in GA Drilling, the geothermal technology company with headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The company said this strategic investment expands Nabors' commitment to deep-drilling technologies tapping super-hot, ultra-deep rock reservoirs.

Nabors said GA Drilling is a pioneer in plasma drilling.

By integrating its innovative, contactless Plasmabit drilling tool into Nabors' industry-leading automated and lower-emission drilling operations, the collaboration aims to accelerate field commercialisation and eliminate traditional economic barriers of ultra-deep projects to expand global access to geothermal energy.

It added that this agreement complements the pre-series investment round recently concluded by GA Drilling, with the total value of those new investments exceeding $20 million.

GA Drilling joins Nabors' geothermal ecosystem, which is comprised of three other prior venture investments in geothermal companies. These technologies were purposefully assembled to help to make geothermal energy widely accessible across geographies, while reducing cost per unit of energy generated to match the cost of other energy sources, the company said.

Geothermal energy is one of the only clean, renewable and reliable base load energy sources. However, due to the limited geographical distribution of high-temperature gradients and high legacy drilling costs, its full potential remains largely untapped, Nabors said.

Plasmabit is engineered to enable ultra-deep drilling in high-temperature hard formations at a cost comparable to unconventional horizontal drilling. Using an electric arc with a chemically assisted plasma pulse, this laboratory-proven bit aims to penetrate crystalline rock at high penetration rates, at depths exceeding 6.2 miles.

Nabors said clean electricity is generated by producing water heated in the earth's crust and converting it to power at the surface. Building on a common technology ecosystem and infrastructure, and the ability to access geothermal almost anywhere, this solution should speed up and expand the availability of carbon-free fuel options for power generation.

Anthony G Petrello, Nabors chairman, CEO and president said: "Now is the time to invest in innovative and bold geothermal solutions that have the potential to unlock terawatts of clean, renewable and reliable energy on a truly global scale.

“Given the expected sharp growth in global energy consumption over the next decades, the world will require an even sharper growth in sustainable energy supply. I am convinced that geothermal energy will be a key contributor to the necessary increase in clean energy generation.

“With our unmatched portfolio of drilling, automation and digitalisation technologies, Nabors intends to become a key player in the upcoming expansion of geothermal energy. We look forward to leveraging the GA Drilling Centre of Excellence and integrating their technologies into our ecosystem."

Nabors owns and operates one of the world's largest land-based drilling rig fleets and is a provider of offshore platform rigs in the US and numerous international markets.

The company provides directional drilling services, performance tools and innovative technologies for its own rig fleet and those of third parties.

Anthony G. Petrello, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Bermudian-based Nabors Industries Ltd (File photograph)

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Published March 31, 2022 at 7:38 am (Updated March 31, 2022 at 7:38 am)

Nabors invests in plasma driller pioneer

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