Geothermal Resource Decision Workshop: Volcano-hosted Conceptual Models

Short Course Details

20-21, November 2017
Millenium Hotel, Rotorua,
Cost $850


Registration is available during Conference Registration for all attending delegates.

Student Applications

A limited number of places are available at no cost to students currently studying geothermal related topics. They are contestable and preference will be given to those who have submitted papers to the NZGW. To apply, submit a short resume and a < 500 word abstract outlining why you would like to attend the short course. Submissions are emailed to and must be received by Friday 8 September. Selection is undertaken by a panel and will be announced 22 September.


Best practice publications in the geothermal industry emphasize integrating geoscience data to build geothermal resource conceptual models as the basis for well targeting and resource capacity assessment at all stages of exploration and development. This workshop is directed at geoscientists, researchers, engineers and managers who wish to better appreciate how conventional (non-EGS) geothermal conceptual models are constructed and how they are used to support a resource decision risk assessment process.

During the workshop, short lectures introduce the components of volcano-hosted geothermal conceptual models and how they are constrained using geochemistry, geology, geophysics, and basic concepts of thermodynamics of water flow in rock. Interspersed with the lectures are exercises which provide participants an opportunity, within a small group, to:

• design a conceptually effective exploration survey
• interpret real geoscience data in an integrated geothermal context
• build an initial range of resource conceptual models
• complete well target and resource capacity risk assessments
• interpret drilling results, update conceptual models and reassess targets and capacity
• propose an appraisal drilling program
• based on results from six wells, recommend constructing a power plant at the minimum economic capacity or terminating the investment

This workshop will be supported by experts in assessing data and building conceptual models for geothermal exploration and development. Although participants will be encouraged to group themselves with others who have complementary backgrounds to support the exercises, sufficient expert coaches will be available to guarantee effective progress regardless of participants’ backgrounds. Simple Excel decision risk analysis tools will be provided to support the exercise, so participants should bring a laptop.

Research on how experts make predictions and decisions in conditions of uncertainty comparable to the geothermal subsurface indicates that the most important prerequisite for sustained success is realistic experience making decisions and analyzing their consequences. In a typical geothermal career, it may take decades to accumulate sufficient experience. This type of workshop is directed at accelerating this process by simulating realistic experience in making geothermal resource decisions and responding to consequences.

At the completion of this workshop, participants should expect to understand the basic components and construction of geothermal resource conceptual models, the rationale for their use in well targeting and capacity assessment, and simple strategies used to address decision uncertainty.

Workshop Agenda and Recommended Reading

Presenters and Coaches (to date):

Bill Cumming: Cumming Geoscience (leading the short course)
Irene Wallis: University of Auckland
Steve Sewell: University Victoria Wellington
Luis Urzua: Jacobs
Katie McLean: University of Auckland
Paul Bixley: Consultant
Kevin Brown: Geokem
Fabian Sepulveda: Contact Energy
And more to come…


Cumming photo-2015-white background William (Bill) Cumming is an independent consultant who provides technical and management services for geophysical surveys, geothermal resource risk assessment, geophysical research and training. His 35 years of geothermal experience include over 20 years with Unocal Corporation (now Chevron) in positions from Geophysicist to Chief Geoscientist. Since 2000, he has provided consulting services to geothermal industry, academic and government clients at over 40 geothermal fields and 100 prospects in the Americas, SE Asia, Europe and Africa.


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