Chevron New Energies International (Chevron), and Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd (MOECO) today announced the signing of a joint collaboration agreement to explore the technical and commercial feasibility of advanced geothermal power generation in Japan.
“Building on Chevron and MOECO’s long-standing relationship, the new collaboration will study geothermal resource potential across Japan and will evaluate the effectiveness of Advanced Closed Loop (ACL) technology for a future joint pilot project in Japan. Both companies may also assess potential collaboration for advanced geothermal technology opportunities using ACL globally,” Chevron said in a statement.
Unlike conventional geothermal projects, which use traditional steam turbines requiring high temperatures often found in concentrated locations limited by geological characteristics, ACL can potentially enable access to geothermal resources at a wider range of temperatures and geologies through the application of alternative technology above and below the surface.
Japan has a geothermal potential of 23,470 megawatts, behind only the US and Indonesia, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, says. However, actual generating capacity totals only 600 MW, trailing countries like the Philippines, New Zealand and Mexico with less than half as much potential.
METI, which is responsible for Japan’s energy policy, requested 18.3 billion yen ($166 million) in the fiscal 2022 budget for exploration and development of new geothermal sources, up roughly 60% from 11 billion yen allocated in 2021, reported Nikkei Asia last year.
“Chevron and MOECO share a goal of delivering lower carbon energy solutions, while meeting the need for reliable, affordable energy,” said Barbara Harrison, vice president of Offsets & Emerging, Chevron New Energies. “This collaboration provides an opportunity for Chevron to combine its subsurface capabilities and technologies with MOECO’s intimate knowledge of Japan’s geothermal potential resource geology and its long history of responsible resource development. The joint team will have the opportunity to test emerging geothermal technology in a real world setting with significant scaling up potential.”
“MOECO entered the geothermal business in 2012 and has been expanding its geothermal portfolio since then. In parallel with conventional geothermal, we have been studying ACL technology for many years and we believe this collaboration with Chevron utilising ACL technology could unlock tremendous geothermal resources in Japan,” said Hirotaka Hamamoto, CEO of MOECO. “This joint collaboration with Chevron, who has been a valued partner of MOECO for several decades in the energy industry, is intended to open a new chapter in the geothermal industry as MOECO aims to continue contributing to an environmentally sustainable world as a member of the Mitsui & CO’s group companies.”