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The Ministry of Energy of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) have signed a memorandum of understanding to start the exploration of geothermal resources in the country. This agreement comes after the work done by the SGS since 2020 to investigate Saudi Arabia’s geothermal energy reservoirs under funding from the National Industry Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP) at the Ministry of Industry and Mining.

Many studies have been done previously that support the presence of geothermal resources in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the Arabian Shield region and the volcanic areas of Al-Harrat. Despite all the academic work, there has been no advancement of this research into economically feasible projects. Ambitious plans have also been announced in the past but these have not manifested into actual projects.

Exploring for geothermal reservoirs is different from the typical geological studies conducted by SGS. With this in mind, the Minister of Energy recommended that they need not “reinvent the wheel” but rather must seek the assistance of the international community that already has the experience in the field of geothermal exploration, studies, and projects. The necessary skills must also be cultivated locally in the university students in Saudi Arabia.

The signing of the MOU is being considered as possibly one of the biggest news involving the Ministry of Energy in 2023. If the venture is successful, geothermal projects can significantly help the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia achieve its goals of carbon emission reduction and phasing out of fossil fuels as outlined in the country’s Vision 2030.

Source: Think GeoEnergy

IGA executive director, Dr. Marit Brommer, visited Jeddah to further discuss introduction of geothermal energy into Saudi Arabia. Dr. Brommer met with the chairman of Steps Energy and gave examples of countries who launched their geothermal energy programs round the world. The meeting ended with IGA and Steps Energy signing a Strategic Partner Protocol.

Dr. Brommer also visited the Ghumayqah hot spring in Al Lieth area.

Steps Energy visited the first geothermal energy project in the world at Larderello, Italy. the project generated 250 watts in 1904 to light five light bulbs and was expanded to generate 970 MW in 2022.

We thank Enel Green Power for their hospitality and for moving us around through the very impressive site.

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