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Earlier this month, the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) organized a 2 Day Workshop on the ‘African Union Code of Practice for Geothermal Drilling’ with 125 participants in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) organized a 2 Day Workshop on the ‘African Union Code of Practice for Geothermal Drilling’.

The workshop with approximately 125 participants took place on June 13-14, 2018 at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The audience represented the full spectrum of public and private developers, investors and international donor agencies currently active in the geothermal industry in Ethiopia: Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE), Directorate of Energy Study and Development Follow-Up, Ethiopia Energy Authority (EEA), Geothermal Resource Development License & Administration Directorate (GRDLAD), Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), Geological Survey of Ethiopia (GSE),  Cluff Geothermal Ltd. Corbetti Geothermal Ltd., OrPower 12 Inc., Reykjavik Geothermal ehf (RG), Tulu Moye Geothermal Operations Plc., and ELC Electroconsult S.p.A., Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Worldbank, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand (NZ-MFAT), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), US Energy Association (USEA).

The African Union Commission and GRMF delegation was led by the Director for Infrastructure & Energy who welcomed the audience and opened the 2 days workshop.

The ‘African Union Code of Practice for Geothermal Drilling’ was developed by the African Union and BGR during 2014-2015, based on the New Zealand Drilling Regulations (NZS:2403), and released in 2016. However, a number of important changes were made in order to better meet the needs of geothermal drilling in Africa. The ‘African Union Code of Practice for Geothermal Drilling’ brings together over 50 years of international experience in drilling, completion and testing of geothermal wells. It is designed as a guide to “best practices” in all aspects of geothermal drilling and if the recommendations provided are closely adhered to, will help ensure that geothermal wells are drilled in a manner that protects the environment and at the same time provides for the health and safety of personnel, regulatory staff, visitors and nearby inhabitants of the area.

In addition, the Code sets out clear guidance as to data that should be acquired during drilling, logging and testing operations in order to ensure that such data becomes a key to making decisions relative to future drilling operations as well as contributes to the national geothermal data base of the country where the drilling takes place. Data obtained during and immediately after drilling, through well testing, provides critical understanding of the initial conditions of the system, and if not captured during drilling and testing operations is lost forever. Finally the Code provides guidance that should greatly improve drilling success thus significantly reducing the risks of ‘dry holes’ or unsuccessfully completed wells.

The Ethiopian government will adopt the ‘African Union Code of Practice for Geothermal Drilling’ by proclamation within the next months, and hence the Code will become legally binding for all geothermal project developers in Ethiopia. Therefore the 2 day workshop at the African Union addressed the needs of those responsible for planning, for carrying out drilling operations, and for regulating geothermal drilling activities. The workshop instructed directors, senior decision makers of ministries, private as well as public sector developers, project managers, and drilling supervisors whom soon must comply with the provisions of national geothermal rules and regulations and the ‘African Union Code of Practice for Geothermal Drilling’ as well as those responsible for ensuring that geothermal wells are drilled, completed and tested in a responsible manner.


This article is taken from thinkgeoenergy/Alexander Richter, 27 June 2018

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