16/12/2010 - 00:00

Woodside reunion fortifies Geodynamics

16/12/2010 - 00:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

AUSTRALIA’S leading geothermal energy developer, Brisbane-based Geodynamics, has taken on the hue of a mini-Woodside Petroleum following its recruitment of respected corporate adviser Geoff Ward as managing director.

AUSTRALIA’S leading geothermal energy developer, Brisbane-based Geodynamics, has taken on the hue of a mini-Woodside Petroleum following its recruitment of respected corporate adviser Geoff Ward as managing director.

Mr Ward, who spent the past two years as a director of local corporate advisory Azure Capital, previously spent nine years with Woodside as its manager planning and strategy.

A WA Business News 40under40 award winner, Mr Ward will take the helm of the high profile ‘hot rocks’ explorer in late January.

Mr Ward’s recruitment marks something of a Woodside reunion at Geodynamics.

He succeeds former North West Shelf boss Jack Hamilton, who will return to his prior role as a non-executive director. Mr Hamilton took the reins in 2008.

Mr Ward will also be working closely with another of Woodside’s favourite sons, former chief operating officer Keith Spence, who joined Geodynamic’s board in mid-2008 and is now chairman.

Geodynamics floated in 2002 after raising $11.5 million from new investors and $5 million in research grants from the federal government, becoming the nation’s first listed geothermal explorer.

It also enjoyed strong support from Woodside, which held a 31 per cent interest through its then renewable energy subsidiary Metasource.

Woodside finally sold out of the company for $17.3 million in May 2008, and was succeeded by Origin Energy and India’s Tata Group as cornerstone investors.

The company has since proven a significant geothermal resource in South Australia’s Cooper Basin estimated at over 400,000 petajoules, centred at its Habanero prospect near Innamincka.

Mr Ward said he believed geothermal energy was the most likely form of renewable energy to produce low-emissions base load power in the foreseeable future. Joining Geodynamics was therefore an opportunity to be involved in its transformation into a mainstream commercial energy source.

“How we shift energy over the coming years will be the megatrend of the next decade,” he said, adding that geothermal energy had the potential to supply 25 per cent of Australia’s power needs with virtually zero emissions.

“So that has to be something worth trying for,” he said.

At its simplest, hot rock technology involves pumping water into wells drilled to access superheated rocks deep below the surface, and returned to the surface as steam, which can be used to generate electricity.

The company’s immediate target will be to commission an already built 1-megawatt pilot plant at Habanero, and be in a position to sanction a 25MW large-scale demonstration plant by 2013. The company has already been allocated $90 million in federal funding to support development of the 25MW plant.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options