The hunt is on for Australia’s first proposed natural hydrogen well

The hunt is on for Australia’s first proposed natural hydrogen well

October 16, 2023 0 By Erin Kilgore

Gold Hydrogen can enter key phase with new approval.

Gold Hydrogen Ltd. (GHY), an Australia-based company of energy experts working to unlock natural hydrogen within the nation, is entering its key phase after securing approval for test drilling the first natural hydrogen-purposed well in Australia. The approval comes from the South Australian Government Department for Energy and Mining.

The test drilling will take place on the Ramsay Project.

Gold Hydrogen planned to begin its drill testing for a natural hydrogen (also known as white hydrogen) well within 24 hours after being granted approval. The first testing will be carried out on the flagship Ramsay Project in South Australia.

To start, Gold Hydrogen’s plan is to drill the Ramsay 1 well to confirm the presence of natural H2 within the subsurface geological formations of the Ramsay Project. This first well is adjacent to the historic well, the Ramsay Oil Bore 1, where tests conducted over 90 years ago revealed the presence of hydrogen. The goal is to mirror this historical discovery and to confirm GHY’s geological understanding of the region on a broader scale.

After the first well is drilled at Ramsay 1, a second site in the PEL 687 treatment area is expected to be ready for drilling in November.

Natural hydrogen was first detected on the Ramsay Project in 1931.

Gold Hydrogen was established after geologists uncovered records dating back to nearly 100 years from oil and gas drilling tests on the Yorke Peninsula. Those tests found hydrogen at 90% purity. However, back then, this wasn’t considered to be much of a discovery as H2 had no commercial value.

Natural Hydrogen - Image of drilling into the ground

It is the belief of GHY that natural hydrogen is constantly generated from the interaction underground of certain rock formations and water. Pulling this hydrogen from the sub-surface could mean a major cost reduction to human-made hydrogen, including green and blue hydrogen.

In fact, according to GHY, independent estimates have shown that the South Australian field has the potential to hold enough gas to power the city of Adelaid for 40 years.

Completing the first step.

hydrogen news ebook“The South Australians have moved faster on hydrogen than anyone,” Gold Hydrogen managing director Neil McDonald said. “As you can imagine, there is huge excitement in our team as we try to be the first in this country to discover natural hydrogen.”
“We hope to be part of the solution, and we’ll know in weeks how big an opportunity this is for us, and the country,” McDonald added.

For Gold Hydrogen to achieve the first step of its objectives at the Ramsy Project, it must confirm the presence of natural H2, especially in an economical-sized resource.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Natural Hydrogen

Natural hydrogen, the product of subterranean water and iron mineral reactions deep within the Earth’s crust, is gaining recognition as a potentially abundant and renewable energy source. This insight comes courtesy of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in October 2022. The continuous formation of this type of hydrogen under extreme heat and pressure conditions sets it apart from fossil fuels, which are derived from ancient organic deposits over millions of years. Initial observations from boreholes extracting natural hydrogen in the past has indicated a steady flow rate, thereby bolstering its credibility as a sustainable energy option.

Despite the promising outlook, our knowledge about natural hydrogen remains nascent. Fundamental queries regarding its genesis, movement, and most importantly, its accumulation in commercially viable amounts still remain unanswered. Nevertheless, the potential advantages of natural hydrogen are sparking both interest and investment. Given that the projected extraction cost of natural hydrogen significantly undercuts its production cost, it has been dubbed as “gold”. An increasing number of startups are delving into hydrogen prospecting, while well-established organizations like the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and USGS are honing their focus on locating lucrative hydrogen production areas. If substantial reserves of natural hydrogen are unearthed, it could offer an eco-friendly alternative for veteran drillers in the oil and gas sector, and might even dethrone fossil fuels.

In short, Gold Hydrogen Ltd.’s approval for testing natural hydrogen in the Ramsay Project is a landmark moment. This venture may not only reveal a commercially viable and sustainable energy alternative but also reshape the global energy landscape. Despite uncertainties, the drive for this renewable energy source is strong. The results of the drilling tests could usher in an era of cleaner energy and redefine the oil and gas industry. 

Ready to test your knowledge on the most abundant element in the universe? Take our fun and engaging Hydrogen Quiz now!

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