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Joint Consideration on Geothermal Power Generation that employs New Heat Recovery Technology

June 13, 2022

Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd.
TEPCO Renewable Power, Inc.

Today, Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd. (President/CEO: Hirotaka Hamamoto; hereinafter referred to as, “MOECO”) and TEPCO Renewable Power, Inc. (President/CEO: Masashi Nagasawa; hereinafter referred to as, “TEPCO RP”) agreed to jointly engage in consideration on geothermal power generation that employs new heat recovery technology (hereinafter referred to as, “the joint consideration”).

This new technology differs from conventional geothermal power generation whereby hot water and steam are directly harvested in that subterranean loops of wells are formed in the hot rock layer to circulate water, etc. from the surface thereby recovering only heat from underground to generate power.

This new technology is unique in that water permeability (fracture that act as pathways for water), which is an underground requirement for conventional geothermal power, is not necessary thereby reducing the difficulty of exploration and consequently shortening the lead time between exploration and development. Furthermore, since steam and hot water are not directly harvested from underground, this new technology is also advantageous in that it reduces the load on the environment.

In accordance with this agreement on joint consideration, MOECO will provide knowledge and technical prowess pertaining to the assessment and development of underground resources, which it has cultivated through its many years of developing oil and natural gas resources, and TEPCO RP will provide knowledge and technical prowess pertaining to the construction and operation of power stations as well as the ability to build trustworthy relationships with local communities and government officials. Going forward, several years will be devoted to selecting candidate areas for exploration with the aim of beginning such exploration in 2025 at the earliest after which sights will be set on commercialization.

This new technology may be a game changer in the geothermal power industry as it enables the development of regions that are difficult to utilize for conventional geothermal power generation. With the intent of effectively leveraging the geothermal resources of Japan, which are the third largest in the world, we aim to quickly commercialize this technology and contribute to the vitalization of the regional economy while obtaining the understanding of the residents in the regions that have been selected as candidates for exploration.

Comment from MOECO President/CEO Hirotaka Hamamoto:
“MOECO entered the geothermal power industry in 2012 and is currently involved in five projects in Japan. In particular, our independent surveys in Niseko, Hokkaido have shown extremely high potential for this new technology and we are moving forward with demonstration tests. This new technology lowers the hurdles of conventional geothermal power and will help to expand renewable energies that leverage the attributes of volcanically active Japan. This joint consideration will lead to quick commercialization and further development of this technology.”

Comment from TEPCO RP President/CEO Masashi Nagasawa:
“We are very pleased to partner with MOECO to promote geothermal power. There is high potential for geothermal power in Japan and great expectations for its use as a renewable energy. Since this joint consideration for utilizing the new technology can reduce the load on the environment compared with conventional geothermal power development, it matches TEPCO RP’s principle of harmony with nature. Through cooperation between both of our companies we shall solve issues pertaining to this new technology and quickly commercialize it thereby contributing to the creation of a carbon neutral society.”

<Agreement signing ceremony>
Agreement signing ceremony
<Concept diagram of the wells used with this new technology>
Concept diagram of the wells used with this new technology

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