About Castle Rock
Castle Rock was born out of a passion for collaboration. We believe that renewables, oil and gas, and mining can do better than co-exist; these industries can become more profitable through strategic integration and collaboration. The reason for this? Our various energy and resource industries face many of the same challenges, draw from the same talent pool, and require many of the same skill sets. We believe, through working together, all of our resource industries can all become more efficient and profitable. Castle Rock wants to facilitate this mutual benefit.
Currently, Castle Rock’s focus is the synergy between oil and gas and geothermal energy. We have amassed an extensive portfolio of ideas for how geothermal can be integrated into oil and gas operations and assets, or how heat can be accessed by end-users via oil and gas infrastructure. Whether you are an end user, an individual, a corporation or key stakeholder, we want to connect you with your thermal resources, and help you monetize them to their maximum value.
What is Geothermal?
Many people, when they hear the term “geothermal”, think either geothermal power or geothermal heat pumps for residential. But geothermal really is much more than that. After all, the word “geothermal” is a bit like word “hydrocarbon” – if you say it people won’t immediately know what you’re talking about. So geothermal in the oil patch requires some explaining.
Geothermal translates to “earth heat”. We bring earth’s heat to the surface by drilling wells meters or kilometers below the surface and producing fluids that transport earth’s heat to the surface. In volcanic settings, like we have in BC, those fluids often come to the surface as very hot steam. Steam can power a turbine directly and make electricity. This is also the geothermal setting for our Canadian hot springs, where hot water or steam flows to the surface under its own pressure. In contrast, the oil patch is what the geothermal industry refers to as “hot sedimentary aquifers” or HSA. In these settings, formation waters at 30-150oC are brought to the surface alongside oil and gas by pumping. Power can be generated using a binary process: hot reservoir fluids heat a secondary fluid with a lower boiling point, which flashes to steam and pushes a turbine to make electricity. Northeast BC and northwest Alberta are very prospective for this type of power generation.
Other areas of the oil patch aren’t hot enough to make power using current technology, something that may soon change. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of applications for the heat. As an example, geothermal heat is so inexpensive in Iceland that some manufacturers actually moved there to use it. They import bauxite to make and export aluminum. While Alberta’s resources are not those of Iceland, we can still take away the lesson – the heat itself has a value beyond making power. And that’s good, because we have a lot of it.
In 1989, the well that heats Temple Gardens Mineral Spa in Moosejaw was drilled. The spa uses 46oC geothermal waters to heat the popular mineral spa. Temple Gardens was bringing in $66 million in annual revenue (as of a decade ago), charging tourists and locals to bathe in formation water. There is an abundance of geothermal Direct Use applications for Canada — including geothermally heated greenhouses, aquaculture, and district heating systems. So let’s heat things up, Canada!
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Meet our Founder
Liz is a professional geologist and rigorous optimist, passionate about the natural fit between the geothermal and oil and gas industries. During her 12 years with a large E&P company in Calgary, Liz gained experience across a wide spectrum of plays and hydrocarbon extraction methods. This laid the foundation for Liz’s commitment not to choose between environment and economy. Through innovation, she believes we can grow both. Liz started Castle Rock Consulting Ltd. to bridge the gap between geothermal and oil and gas and connect all people — end users, corporations, developers and individuals — with their thermal resources.
Through her work as Ambassador Coordinator with the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, Liz inspires and mobilizes volunteers to showcase geothermal as an important resource for Canada’s energy mix. Through advocacy, CanGEA’s Ambassador Program is tackling policy and regulatory barriers in Canada to build a strong and vital geothermal energy industry in Canada.
Liz was honoured to become a Fellow with the Energy Futures Lab in 2017. The Energy Futures Lab is a group of diverse energy leaders who are envisioning and co-creating the energy system that the future requires of us.