WWJ Closeup, July 2023

Published On: June 15, 2023By Categories: Drilling, Geothermal Technology, WWJ Closeup

DOM DURBIN
Owner
Durbin Enterprises Inc.
Beecher City, Illinois

TOP LESSON LEARNED FROM GEOTHERMAL DRILLING?
You’ve always got to be prepared for how geology or site conditions can force you to change your game plan on the fly. It’s not just drilling and making hole. Everything in geothermal is a give and take to be able to get the system to do what you need it to do.

WITH TAX CREDITS BEING PASSED, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON GEOTHERMAL WORK IN 2023 AND BEYOND?
2023 is just now [as of April] seeing the new market of receivership for those tax credits, so a lot of projects are in the planning and in the design stages that we don’t even know about. 2024 and beyond is going to be more work than we can do.

MOST OVERLOOKED ASPECT OF GEOTHERMAL DRILLING?
It’s overcomplicated a lot because people will treat it with a water well or exploration approach. They don’t realize that your only objective is to get a small piece of pipe down a hole and the hole filled back up properly. It doesn’t require any complicated development or thought process.

NO. 1 TIP FOR CONTRACTORS DIVERSIFYING INTO GEOTHERMAL?
Find people who are in it and join with them. Go to one of the bigger commercial fields and go make footage. While you’re there you’ll learn the ins and outs and see how much more of that you would want your company to take on.

WHAT MINDSET IS NEEDED TO TAKE ON GEOTHERMAL PROJECTS?
It’s the same thing I tell my crew leaders and really everybody in the company: Your No.1 job is to figure out what could bite us and how to avoid it. Once you do that, then it’s time to start applying what we’re going to do to the site.

HOW CAN DRILLING FIRMS SCALE UP TO TAKE ON GEOTHERMAL?
We’re going to have to open our doors to outside investors to help with that capital investment and reach out to tech schools, union training facilities, and anywhere else to get people into this career field. We need to give them skin in the game and build owner-operators.

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